Dancing Columbus officer invited back to Harvard for talk on community policing

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Do you remember the viral video of the dancing Columbus cop?

Back in 2015, Officer Anthony Johnson was caught on camera dancing with some local children. The person who sent it to NBC4 called it a great example of community policing and praised Ofc. Johnson for often reaching out and helping kids.

Tonight, we’re learning that officer is going to Harvard University, again. He’s still making a difference in the neighborhoods he serves and has been invited to do a Q&A with public policy students on community policing.

He’s gotten a lot of attention for being a role model for kids and is taking those experiences to Harvard with him to share with others.

“He gave us bikes. He plays basketball with us,” said 13-year-old Twahn Jarrett. “I look up to him. I want to be a cop when I get older.”

To Jarrett and his friends, Ofc. Johnson is their personal hero.

“We chill. We talk,” said 13-year-old Maceon Biggers. “When I’m in trouble he comes to pick me up in the car.”

“It makes me feel more protected and more secure knowing that I have an authority around to help protect and guide our community the right way,” said 13-year-old R’son Baker.

Ofc. Johnson said his message is very clear.

“Behind this badge is a human heart, just like yours,” he said. “We care for our communities, which is why we are police officers.”

That’s why he spends part of his job connecting with the people he’s pledged to protect, even if it’s just for a quick dance-off in the park.

“I take full responsibility to combat the negative media that we get sometimes, so if that means getting out of my car and embarrassing myself, so be it,” said Ofc. Johnson.

(Above video courtesy Anthony Johnson/@OhNoItsDaPoPo on Instagram)

“We have a very rough job and it’s very hard to do. Every move is critiqued and analyzed. We see very bad things,” he said. “My goal is to help bridge that gap. I want people to think of officers as heroes because that’s what we are.”

Ofc. Johnson said being with kids is just as important as anything else he does as an officer.

“It’s the best part of my day, to me this isn’t work. It’s putting on a uniform and helping these guys out,” he said. “These little guys right here, this is the future of America, so anything I can do to make that future better, I’m going to do.”

Ofc. Johnson will be at Harvard next Tuesday, April 25.

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