Near-death experience causes corrections officer to join fight against contraband phones

Robert Johnson had spent most of his adult life as a corrections officer for the Florida Department of Corrections. After graduating from high school, Johnson answered an ad in the local paper looking for corrections officers to fill the state’s constant gap in correctional staffing. Johnson applied for the job and was quickly hired.


As a large and somewhat imposing man, he was assigned to one of Florida’s toughest correctional facilities, a maximum security prison that housed some of the state’s most dangerous inmates. Johnson quickly proved to be highly proficient at his job. He was promoted multiple times, eventually ending up on one of the state’s elite in-house emergency management teams. Known as SERT, the team Johnson was appointed to was responsible for handling the most dangerous situations that arise in the state’s prisons. These include combating riots, handling hostage situations and conducting high-risk arrests and searches.


As part of his routine duties, Johnson was tasked with conducting surprise searches on high-risk inmates, such as gang members or violent offenders. On one of these searches, Johnson and his team uncovered a package containing a large amount of a powder substance. Lab tests later confirmed this to be nearly-pure heroin, with a street value in excess of $50,000.


Johnson was applauded by his coworkers and superiors for having made one of the biggest drug busts in the history of the state of Florida. But the gang to which the heroin was intended to be delivered was not amused. Because Johnson had gained a reputation for being incorruptible, the gang leadership decided that there was no chance to negotiate with him or the other officers. Because they knew that their valuable drugs were lost, they decided to put out a green light, gang parlance for a hit, on Johnson.


One morning, as he prepared for work, Johnson was horrified to see his front door being kicked in. He tried to get to his weapon, but things happened too fast. A hit man stormed into the home, firing six shots into Johnson’s chest at point-blank range. Miraculously, Johnson was able to survive but just barely. He clung to life for a couple of weeks. It wouldn’t be until a year after the ordeal and over 30 surgeries that he could even walk on his own again.


Today, Johnson works with Securus Technologies to spread the word about the company’s Wireless Containment System. It turns out that the hit man was ordered to carry out the hit on Johnson through the use of a contraband cell phone. If the Wireless Containment System had been installed in the prison where Johnson worked, he likely never would have had such a close call with death.


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