fb pixel
News To Use / People On Bikes

Florida Bicycle Association 2020 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

The Florida Bicycle Association (FBA) recognized Orange County Sheriff’s Master Deputy Jason C. Johnson for going above and beyond his job duties for keeping children safe by awarding him the 2020 FBA Law Officer of the Year Award.  Master Deputy Johnson is a truancy officer who works between various schools in Orange County.  He also serves on the Orange County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team.

“His dedication and enthusiasm helped many families see law enforcement officers as partners in keeping their families healthy and safe” and “no matter what school he is at he is on it”, said Lyndy Moore, a.k.a. the Purple Bike Lady and former Orlando Police Officer who nominated him.

According to Johnson, the wheels started spinning when he saw a news story about Lyndy Moore’s S.W.A.P. bikes program. He was inspired by her dedication and passion for collecting unwanted bikes to refurbish and recycle, giving them a new life with a new owner. Soon after seeing the story, he was assigned to fill in for the school resource officer (SRO) at an Orange County Elementary School. He found himself in conversation with a father of a student who mentioned he had fallen on hard times recently. The father shared that his middle-school-aged son walked more than a mile and half to and from school every day and that he would like to get him a bike. Lyndy and Bike S.W.A.P. immediately came to Johnson’s mind, and he sent her a message. After a heartfelt conversation between two fathers coupled with Lyndy’s generosity and resourcefulness, they were able to get the boy and his younger sister their own bikes, locks, and helmets. 

“He makes people feel comfortable and really cares”, said Moore about Master Deputy Johnson.

Master Deputy Jason Johnson and Lyndy Moore

While filling in at this school, Johnson began to notice that some students did not wear helmets when riding their bikes to school. He positioned himself at the gate each morning to get to know the kids.  Working with the school’s parent liaison he was able to get the names of students without helmets and reached out to the families inquiring if they had a helmet or if they needed one and ensuring that one would be provided free of cost. 

Johnson shared that talking with the families was encouraging. Having those conversations solidified that we’re in it together, to protect the kids. He shared with them the importance of always wearing a helmet and that it is Florida state law for kids under 16 years to wear a helmet while riding a bike.  He even got parents fitted and wearing helmets when they biked, so they could lead by example.

Since then Johnson has become a certified helmet fitter along with 15 other SROs and members of the Crime Prevention Unit. They all have access to free helmets provided through a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation’s and University of Florida’s Pedestrian and Bicycling Safety Resource Center. 

“Finding and connecting with the right resources you can have a much greater impact,” Johnson stated. He has spread the word throughout the agency and encouraged SROs to get involved providing and fitting helmets within their schools. 

Johnson enjoys mountain biking and hits the trails with his son whenever he can.  Shingle Creek and Mt. Dora are some of their faves. On or off duty Master Deputy Jason C. Johnson continues his quest to keep children safe and protect their most precious resource, their brains. 

Recently he overheard his 8-year-old son tell his younger brother, “Nope, you’re not doing anything ‘til you put your helmet on.”  “That was definitely a proud moment and reinforced that kids are always watching and listening,” Johnson said.    

Facts about helmets:

Every year, 26,000 children are seen in emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) related to bicycle-riding. More often than not, these injuries were sustained because the child was not wearing a helmet. A properly fitted helmet can reduce the risk of a brain injury by a staggering 88%. In addition, a helmet that fits a child can prevent roughly 75% of child bicycle accident fatalities each year. When children don’t wear a helmet they are 14 times more likely to suffer an injury.

Florida Bicycle Association Annual Awards:

Florida Bicycle Association awards are presented to worthy recipients for their contributions to bicycling. The purpose of the awards is to bring attention to the efforts and achievements of groups, organizations and individuals that help shape our vision for all Florida bicyclists to be safe, respected and encouraged to bicycle for transportation and recreation. Awards are given annually, so check out Florida Bicycle Association’s website around Oct. and get your nomination in.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,