Robert Johnson had spent his first half decade after graduating from high school working a string of menial jobs. Never finding satisfaction, Johnson longed for something that he could passionately pursue and that would give his daily grind meaning. He considered going to college, but he was wary of the large amounts of debt that students need to incur just to get a degree that may or may not help them get a real job.
Then Johnson saw an advertisement for a local job fair. It was being put on by the Florida Department of Corrections. As a lifelong Florida resident, Johnson thought that being a prison guard would be fun and that it would also be a way to perform a valuable service for the community. He went to the fair and was quickly hired.
Johnson proved to be a natural at interacting with prisoners in a positive and respectful way. But he was also highly adept at stepping in to keep order when necessary. As someone with the right combination of personality traits, Johnson was able to rise through the ranks quickly. After a decade on the job, he had risen to one of the most prominent jobs in the FDOC.
As the leader of a special operations team called SERT, which handles the most dangerous situations in the prison system, Johnson was in charge of carrying out things like high-risk cell raids and the transport of high-profile prisoners. On one occasion, Johnson and his team were conducting a raid on a cell where a suspected drug trafficker was housed. Johnson personally uncovered a package that contained a large amount of powder.
Lab tests later revealed that the substance was almost pure heroine, with a prison value of up to $150,000. The drugs were intended for a powerful prison gang, to later be distributed throughout the prison system for profit. The gang’s leadership knew that Johnson was not the type of guard that could be either bribed or intimidated. Still, they wanted to send a message.
A few weeks later, as Johnson was preparing for work, a gunman stormed into his home, shooting him 6 times at almost point-blank range. Somehow, Johnson was able to survive. But he was left with severe disabilities and eventually was forced to quit his job.
It was later revealed that a gang leader, who was upset about the loss of the heroine, ordered the hit on Johnson over a contraband cellphone. Johnson was deeply upset by this because he knew that technology existed to contain illegal phones.
He would get a chance to do something about it when Securus Technologies contacted him to help promote their Wireless Containment System, a device that can block 100 percent of calls made from contraband cellphones. Now, Johnson travels the country on behalf of Securus, spreading the word about the WCS and preventing a similar fate from befalling his fellow officers.