Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson recognized as part of internet newspaper's 5th anniversary

Award-winning 24/7 internet newspaper's 5th anniversary celebration / Headline Surfer®
Headline Surfer videos produced by Multimedia Editor Serafina Frederick / Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson appears in the 24/7 internet newspaper's video interview, 'The Sunday Conversation' on Sept. 23, 2012.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH -- Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson has always been a straight shooter with this media outlet.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's being recognized by Headline Surfer® as part of its fifth anniversary celebration as top cop; not just because his agency is the county's largest, but because of his leadership and professionalism.

The 63-year-old sheriff tells it like it is and is always a phone call away without reservation. And by no means is Johnson a pushover or a glad-hander.

He's as tough as they come as a lawman and as an elected official. Even after suffering a mild heart attack in April, Johnson was back at work eight days later.

Johnson, now midway through his fourth four-year term,  employs the best public information office personnel Volusia County has to offer in Gary Davidson and Brandon Haught, civilian employees who are top notch in providing news information: good, bad or otherwise.

If there's one thing to be said above all else of Johnson, if there is a bad apple in his department, his PIOs don't stonewall in getting the information out to the media.

That's something he doesn't waver on.

Johnson has the distinction of being the longest serving employee in the Sheriff's Office with 41 years under his belt; the latter 14 as sheriff.

Without hesitation, Headline Surfer® endorsed Ben Johnson for sheriff in 2012, and if he decides to run again in two years, he'll likely get the nod yet again. And why not?

Without hesitation, Headline Surfer® endorsed Ben Johnson for sheriff in 2012, and if he decides to run again in two years, he'll likely get the nod yet again. And why not?

Johnson comes off as a good ol' boy with his native Florida accent and mild-mannered demeanor, but he's all business and has earned the respect of his administrators and deputies.

Johnson subscribes to the age-old adage that sticks and stones may break his bones, but names will never hurt him -- especially after he was called a "moron" by Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood in a public meeting back in 2010.

Johnson wasn't even at the meeting and why he even came up in the first place beyond Chitwood's own insecurities has never really been explained.

However, it caused quite a stir with then-County Chair Frank Bruno demanding an apology. Of course, no such apology ever come from Chitwood nor did Johnson expect one, saying from the onset through a spokesman that Chitwood's name calling was not worthy of a response.

And while Chitwood, who has built a sullied reputation for calling people names like "knuckleheads" and "scumbags," a trait he's copied from his father back in Pennsylvania, he's envied Johnson's stature as Volusia County's top cop in the county's largest police force ever since his arrival half a dozen years ago.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood loves TV cameras / Headline Surfer®Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood, known for name calling and running his mouth before thinking in front of the TV cameras, once referred to Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson at a public meeting as a 'moron.' To his credit, Johnson, a man of class, said through a spokesman Chitwood's nastiness wasn't worthy of a response.

And while Chitwood, who has built a sullied reputation for calling people names like "knuckleheads" and "scumbags," a trait he's copied from his father back in Pennsylvania, he's envied Johnson's stature as Volusia County's top cop in the county's largest police force ever since his arrival half a dozen years ago.

Johnson oversees a department with 463 sworn positions, 460 civilian employees, 213 volunteers and an annual operating budget of $72 million.

Chitwood's bullying mentality has included playing favorites in the media and even ostracizing this media outlet for reporting how he promoted a patrol supervisor to second in command, even with a lengthy track record of alleged sexual harassment of women cops under his command.

Johnson has never lowered himself to ostracizing or showing favoritism to one media outlet over another.

All he's ever done is quietly, but effectively, gone about his business in leading his troops by example. Even after he was forced to use deadly force in killing an armed man early in his career, Johnson has not put a notch on his gun belt like some trigger-happy bragging cowboy. 

He's got too much class.

The same can't be said of Johnson's counterpart in Daytona.

By contrast, Chitwood, dubbed by one union official as "microphone Mike," couldn't wait to tell TV reporters how he allegedly tackled a couple of bad guys a couple of years ago, belying his neatly pressed white dress shirt that showed no signs of tussling in the mud on this particular rainy day.

That's certainly not Johnson's modus operandi.

Chitwood's all-too-obvious chip on the shoulder as it pertains to Johnson reminds this writer of a saying by retired professional wrestler Ric Flair who coined the phrase, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man."

Well, that's not happening nor will it, ever. Not in Chitwood's wildest dreams.

Retired pro wrestler Ric Flair famous for 'To be the man, you've got to beat the man' / Headline Surfer®Retited professional wrestler and Hall of Famer Ric Flair, one of the best in the sqyuared-circle and on the microphone, coined the phrase that befits Daytona Police Chief Michael Chitwood's jealousy of Volusia County's true top cop, Sheriff Ben Johnson.

Chitwood's all-too-obvious chip on the shoulder as it pertains to Johnson reminds this writer of a saying by retired professional wrestler Ric Flair who coined the phrase, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man."

Well, that's not happening nor will it, ever for Chitwood. Not in Chitwood's wildest dreams.

As part of its fifth anniversary celebration, Headline Surfer® salutes Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson for his selfless leadership and proven experience in the mission of serving and protecting the county's residents.

It's doubtful anyone could ask for or expect anything more, but if such a demand were made, Sheriff Johnson would do his best to listen and try to make it happen.

Part 2 of the Sunday Conversation with Sheriff Ben Johnson

5th anniversary honorees:

Sheriff Ben Johnson / Headline Surfer®Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson recognized as part of internet newspaper's 5th anniversary
Posted Sun, 2014-05-25 04:09
Lead: DAYTONA BEACH -- Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson has always been a straight shooter with this media outlet. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that he's being recognized by Headline Surfer® as part of its fifth anniversary celebration as top cop; not just because his agency is the county's largest, but because of his leadership and professionalism.
 
Volusia Tax Reform / Headline Surfer®Margie Patchett of Volusia Tax Reform / Headline Surefer®Maureen France of Volusia Tax Reform / Headline Surfer®Ed Connor / Headline Surfer®Volusia Tax Reform recognized in internet newspaper's 5th anniversary
Posted Wed, 2014-04-23 12:34
Lead: DAYTONA BEACH -- Volusia Tax Reform, a grassroots organization established to challenge municipal and county government spending, is recognized by Headline Surfer® as part of its 5th anniversary celebration for VTR's political activism and government watchdog standing.
 
Michael Politis, attorney and motorcycle safety advocate / Headline Surfer®Biker rights attorney Michael Politis among internet newspaper's top award recipients
Posted Thu, 2014-03-06 17:47
Lead: DAYTONA BEACH -- Bike Week starts Friday and what better way to introduce the nation's largest motorcycle rally than recognizing Michael Politis, selected as one of the Headline Surfer® recipients of a lifetime achievement award for service to greater Daytona Beach for his motorcycle safety advocacy and biker rights.
 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.