Saying goodbye to 201
Community comes together after losing former police chief
A strong community stands together in support of friends and family who recently lost a loved one.
Clinton Clark, former Wheaton police chief, died on Friday morning after serving local communities for more than 26 years.
Clint Danforth, current Wheaton police chief, said Clark retired in 2018, and from that moment on, his badge number 201 was no longer given out.
“He worked for Exeter school and city,” he said. “He gave years of protective services to the communities.”
The Clints first met in 2004, when Danforth began working for the Barry County Sheriff’s Department.
“I then worked as a patrolman under him when I started in Wheaton in 2016,” Danforth said. “He was a genuinely loving man who cared about his family and community.
“We will never find another man like him.”
Clark also worked the Rowan Ford case in November 2007.
“He actually got one of the suspects to come to him and confess his involvement,” Danforth said. “That speaks volumes to the kind of man he was.”
Danforth continued to say it is because of Clinton Clark that he is the man he is today.
“He was a role model, not only for me, but for every other officer that was touched by him,” he said. “Words cannot express how much he will be missed. He touched so many lives in so many ways.”
Working with a mentor allows a number of learning opportunities, but being raised by one gives one an even better view.
Terri Johnson, Cliton Clark’s daughter, said one thing her father taught her and her siblings was if they wanted something, they had to go out and work for it.
“He instilled those values in me and my sister,” she said. “He also said, ‘Mean what you say.’ If we said we were going to do something, we were going to do it.”
Johnson remembers her father’s work on cases like Ford’s, as well as the Christopher Castetter case.
“He sent two men to death row,” she said. “He was an amazing officer.”
As much as the law was important to him, Johnson said she remembers his family values.
“It wasn’t just us that were his family — the town of Wheaton was a part of his family too,” she said. “He raised a lot of those kids and left the same values in them as he did my siblings and me.”
One of those values was accountability.
“A lot of those children grew up and said they wouldn’t be who they are today if it wasn’t for him,” Johnson said. “He has been a great influence. He was always ready to lend a hand.”
Johnson said if Clark were here right now, he would be telling everyone to not make a big fuss about this.
“His go-to line was, ‘Don’t panic until I panic,’” she said. “A lot of officers have heard that over the years, but growing up, so did we.”
Johnson, her sister and her brother are all proud of their father’s accomplishments.
“He loved life,” she said. “We are proud of the accomplishments he made in just the 26 years of law enforcement.”