LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - For D'Shawn Johnson, west Louisville is more than a mission. It’s home.
“I grew up in this community, it’s part of my heritage,” Johnson said.
Johnson is a retired Louisville police officer who always tried to offer guidance to the kids with whom he came into contact.
“A lot of times with being a police officer I’d have to arrest youth,” Johnson said. “And I always wondered if someone was there to maybe give them a little advice or maybe give them a little mentorship would they be in the back seat of my police car?”
After he retired, Johnson knew what his new mission in life was: to serve as a mentor to the youth in his community.
Johnson is executive director of The First Tee of Louisville, a program for young people that promotes character development and positive life skills through the game of golf.
“It’s a tool for youth development while teaching kids about respect, honor, and courtesy,” Johnson said.
Johnson wants to bring the community together and provide mentors for the youth. He is becoming a voice for the people. One way he will do that is by participating in WAVE 3 News' Taking Back Your Streets initiative as a safety and security expert. Johnson says everyone has to get involved.
“It can’t just be one person here. It’s got to be... one block and you initiate that next block and it grows and grows.”
Johnson encourages people in the community to step up and volunteer. He considers not volunteering or trying to change the community a waste.
In 1999 Johnson was shot in the line of duty. The gunman shot him in his right arm, causing it to lose all function. He was able to return fire with his other hand, taking down the gunman and saving himself.
Johnson is remembered for his bravery and courage during that incident by police officers still on the force.