Mourning Joseph Johnson

Oregon AFSCME mourns the senseless murder of former Correctional Officer, Joseph Johnson who was serving as a reservist with the City of Nyssa Police Department when he was killed this past weekend. Johnson is survived by his wife and two children, ages 12 and 14.

Johnson’s commitment to his community was unshakable.

After over a decade working as a Correctional Officer and a former member of Local 3940 at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI), Johnson saw firsthand the mental health struggles facing Department of Corrections employees and adults-in-custody. JJ, as he was known, acquired his Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) certification.

JJ wanted to help his fellow Department of Corrections colleagues and adults-in-custody as a Behavioral Health Counselor, and that’s exactly what he did, moving to Security Plus and Local 2376. JJ used his QMHP to not only counsel adults-in-custody but volunteered with the Peer Support Program to provide behavioral health support for his DOC colleagues.

Oregon AFSCME Council First Vice President Meridith Hickman worked closely with JJ in that role at SRCI until he left the team in 2022.

“JJ lived a life that reflected his stated beliefs and it showed in his career and his volunteerism. The depth of grief that I and everyone who knew him feel over his being stolen from all of us so soon show how valued and important JJ was to our community” said Hickman.

Since JJ’s senseless murder this past weekend, Oregon’s labor community has rallied around SRCI union members with an outpouring of support and offers of condolences. The individual suspected of murdering Officer Johnson was captured on the morning of Monday, April 17th.

Oregon AFSCME stands with the community in Nyssa, Malheur County, and beyond who have been impacted by the loss of this respected and admired man. Oregon AFSCME is working with the other Department of Corrections Locals to ensure those members working inside the Snake River Correctional Institution and anyone who needs it, receives the support they need during this difficult time.