History / About Us


The county was operating without a designated department to maintain a management system that effectively and efficiently provided mitigation of the recovery from the effects of natural and man caused disasters. Thus sometime after 1953 the office of Civil Defense was born in Johnson County. The department was instituted by Judge Garner L. Taylor (1953-1960). Judge Cecil Clinton (1961-1964) and Judge Whitney Johnson (1965-1970) continued the program under their tenure.

Judge C. O. Blackard was elected County Judge in November 1970 and in January 1971 Don Cater was named coordinator of the Office of Emergency Services and held the office until February 1972. Taulman (Tink) Cline took the office in May 1972. In 1973 the department name was changed to The Office of Emergency Services. Mr. Cline left the office in January 1975 and the then Judge, Judge C. O. Blackard (1971-1978), filled the position with Stewart Willey, in February 1975, who served as the coordinator until December 1988.

In March 1979, the Federal Government issued a grant of $685.00 to the county for the partial renovation of an office for the Emergency Services in the Johnson County Court House. The grant was matched by the Johnson County General Funds giving the department a total of $1,370.00 to finish the renovation of the office in the basement of the Court House which was completed in 1982. The offices of the Department of Emergency Management are still housed in the basement of the Johnson County Court House.

In November 1978 Judge Bobby Joe Wilkins was elected Johnson County Judge and served as County Judge until 1988. In November 1989 Duane Steel was elected to the Johnson County Judge position and named Thorpe Hamilton Coordinator, in January 1989, who served in the position until August 1997. In September 1997 Fred Taylor was named coordinator and continued to serve in the position under Judge Mike Jacobs (1991 – present) until his retirement in March 2005. In 1999 the department was again renamed and became The Office of Emergency Management. This was done to follow, then FEMA Director James Lee Witt’s, recommendation to use the Emergency Management name across the board from Local, to State, to Federal Levels. Upon Mr. Taylor’s retirement Judge Mike Jacobs filled the position of Coordinator with Josh Johnston (April 2005) who still holds the position. In 2009 the agency received Department status and the name was changed to The Department of Emergency Management.




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