By Steve Large

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An ambitious Grant High School student is attracting attention from the Sacramento Police and the district attorney’s office for his good deeds.

Inside the hallways of Grant High School, he’s the kid who everyone seems to know. Mention the name Johnny Coleman and the reaction is instant.

Even Principal Darris Hinson can’t help but smile.

“Johnny is one of those kids his personality is very engaging,” he said.

He’s not your typical teen.

“I completed the Sacramento County District Attorney program youth academy, and I’m currently enrolled in the Sacramento Sheriff Explorer program,” he said.

The high school senior who is weeks away from graduating is already on a law enforcement career path.

“Right out of high school, 18, and a high school diploma and you go to the academy after they do background checks and everything,” he said.

He received a medal of honor this month for calling 911 and helping save a man’s life, leading officers to a man threatening suicide on the light rail tracks. Coleman and the Sacramento Police dispatcher were honored at the state capitol.

His dad couldn’t be prouder.

Coleman doesn’t have ordinary after-school habits. For fun, he goes to the courthouse and city hall. He hopes one day to patrol the Del Paso Heights neighborhood around his school, bridging a gap between the community and police. It’s a vision his dad admires.

“Everything that’s got to be changed comes from within,” David Coleman said. “If we want to change our relationship with the police department, we have to be in the police department.”

Coleman’s determination to become a cop became all the more certain this school year when his classmate, J.J. Clavo was murdered.

“You go back to the violence and everything in the community and it makes you want to try harder,” he said.

The Grant High football player was shot and killed inside a car full of teammates on the day of a playoff game. His portrait now hangs in some classrooms, along with newspaper clippings about the investigation.

That investigation tested the trust between police and the Del Paso Heights community.

“They know who did it, they know what happened, but they’re not going to tell you because they don’t trust you,” he said. “So somebody who grew up here, like myself, I grew up in this neighborhood, there’s trust. Everybody knows everybody.”

Coleman is now charting his future in police work to keep him close to campus.

This is where I am; this is what I want to make better; it’s the community,” he said.


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