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Alaska Scanner Joe is now Alaska Scanner John

The popular community watchdog page has a new name.
The popular community watchdog page has a new name.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 5:45 AM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 10:33 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - One of the state’s most popular crime and emergency watchdog Facebook groups has gone through several name changes over the years, according to its head administrator, who is known as Tisha Victory on the page. It started as Anchorage Scanner Joe, then it was Alaska Scanner Joe. Today, it’s Alaska Scanner John, and Victory said the plan is for it to stay that way for years to come.

She said there was drama surrounding the page’s previous namesake that ended up impacting the page’s reputation negatively. Victory said the plan has been to change the name again for some time, but organizers wanted to make sure they picked the right person to hold that honor.

So, who is John?

John T. Johnson, known as "JJ" by many, is a longtime Houston firefighter and the new namesake...
John T. Johnson, known as "JJ" by many, is a longtime Houston firefighter and the new namesake of the Alaska Scanner John Facebook page.(Tisha Victory)

“John T. Johnson,” Victory said. “We call him JJ. John is a firefighter from out in the Valley, and he’s been in this field — I hate to say it — but as long as I’ve been on the Earth.”

According to a post on the Alaska Scanner John page, John T. Johnson died at the age of 68 on April 13.

The post reads in part: “John will always have a solid legacy. Our page is now dedicated to him. We hope to continue to strive to always help others. Keep our communities informed. And hopefully live up to all of Johns standards and honoring his life’s work.”

Altogether, Victory said Johnson committed 43 years of service as a first responder. For the last several years, he’s been one of the page’s most critical admins. Today, Victory said there are only five, and Johnston has had a huge impact on all their lives in the time they’ve known him.

She said the page almost wouldn’t be able to function without him.

“You ask anybody about JJ out in the Valley, everybody knows him,” she said. “So he’s just been a really big mentor and you know a good leader for all of us. He’s, you know, one of those one-in-a-million guys.”

Victory pointed out that he even keeps her on her toes from time to time, making sure she doesn’t double post.

She said that, on top of being well known where he fought fires, he’s been recognized on several occasions for his service. His most recent accolades are the Veteran’s Quilt of Valor and the State of Alaska Special award for over 40 years of service and dedication.

Victory said he’s also worked in Bristol Bay, the North Slope, Adak, Willow and has fought fires in the Middle East.

“He’s been all over the place,” she said.

Unfortunately, Victory said all those years of putting out fires caught up to Johnson. For the last year, she said he’s been battling a form of cancer that is commonly associated with firefighting.

There’s not much about Victory that Johnston doesn’t know, she said. Over the years, she said he’s become “like family” for all the people who run the Facebook page.

Since his diagnosis, Victory said Johnson hasn’t stopped giving his all in the ways he can. She said most of the posts that people see on Alaska Scanner John have been filtered through him before going public.

Now with the new name, Victory said she hopes that his legacy carries on by helping Alaska be a safer, better informed and more positive community.

“It’s become the page that everybody opens up on their Facebook and reads like the newspaper in the morning,” she said. “So we just want to continue that and continue what we’re doing and just keep moving forward. And being there for our communities.”

Editor’s note: Alaska’s News Source did reach out to John Johnson, who couldn’t participate in an interview. This story was also updated with news of Johnson’s death.

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