Conversations at restaurant inspire student to become an officer

TROY, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — A new Troy University Police Department (TUPD) officer has joined the ranks after befriending another officer at a local restaurant.

Four years ago TUPD Officer John Daniel Johnson went to Cook Out hoping to grab a quick bite. Little did he know he would end up changing Tatytana Lee’s life.

“One night we were sitting at the table and she handed me this little note and all the guys were like, ‘it’s a love note’,” Johnson told TrojanVision. “We went back to the car and actually it says thanks for being an impact. I sat there in the car and about cried. I went back inside and had to give her a hug and its just awesome. She gave me a reward for doing my job.”

What Johnson didn’t know was that Lee had developed anxiety around police officers. But after several meals and conversations, Taytana started to sense a change.

“He changed my perspective on police officers and I know that now there aren’t just bad apples out there, there’s good ones, too.”

Officer Lee

Today, Lee no longer sees Johnson at Cook Out. Instead, she sees him every day when she reports for duty.

“I’ve graduated with my criminal justice degree and now I’m about to finish up with my masters in clinical mental health,” Lee told TrojanVision. “I’m just happy now that I found something that I really enjoy and really like doing and I’m happy and appreciative to have met him back then.”

Johnson says he feels extreme gratitude and is thankful for their friendship.

“I got to field train her a little bit before going through the academy. It was awesome just to be in the interview process of knowing she went from a Cook Out outfit to a police uniform.”

Lee graduated from the academy on Aug. 10.