Kilgore Police Department is asking for prayers this week for one of their own who is battling COVID-19 in a local hospital.

Det. Joey Johnston was hospitalized at Christus Good Shepherd in Longview earlier this month after being diagnosed with the widespread virus. KPD asked locals for prayers for Johnston and his family on social media Saturday, writing Johnston “needs them desperately today.”

“Detective Joey Johnston and the Department have received tremendous outpouring of support from the community during his illness,” said KPD Assistant Chief Johnathan Gage by email.

“We have remained in contact with Detective Johnston’s wife and family, who remain optimistic and determined to see him through this terrible illness and into a full recovery. Though he is still seriously ill, he has shown improvement in recent days and we are hopeful he will be able to return home soon. We would like to thank everyone for all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers for Joey and his family.”

KPD also noted Johnston’s mother Susan has been holding a daily vigil in the hospital parking lot, holding up a sign her son can see from his hospital window.

Johnston was sworn in as a KPD officer in November 2015. In August 2019, KPD named him Officer of the Month for June and, also in 2019, he was named Officer of the Year at the 28th Annual Giants of Law Enforcement Banquet at Maude Cobb Activity Center in Longview. According to KPD, Johnston has been responsible for multiple high-profile arrests, getting dangerous suspects off the streets and quickly catching several suspects who tried to flee on foot.

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