The Columbus Police Department is mourning the loss of Lynn Joiner, less than a month after he retired as a lieutenant with more than 37 years of service.
Joiner died Friday at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. He was 58.
“He was just a very honorable man,” said police Lt. John McMichael, who joined the department about the same time as Joiner and recently worked with him in the Investigative Bureau. “He knew what the right thing was and he did the right thing.”
Joiner is the fourth officer to die since the July 8 death of police Capt. Jackey Long, about two months after being diagnosed with cancer, and the July 28 death of Cpl. Keith Slay in a pickup truck crash on Veterans Parkway. Police Capt. Vince Pasko was found dead of a self-inflicted wound at his Midland home on Aug. 27.
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“It’s just unbelievable,” McMichael said. “You just wonder when it’s going to stop.”
In January 1976, Joiner joined the department as a cadet and was promoted to police officer five months later.
Joiner was working in the Property and Evidence Department when McMichael recalled the day that he and another applicant were hired not as cadets but higher ranking police officers. Dressed in a uniform, Joiner had some fun ordering the two officers around on their first day.
“We were wearing civilian clothes,” McMichael said. “He thought he was somebody. He bossed us around. We’d tell him yes sir and no sir. We out ranked him the first day in the door, but he got a big kick out of that later on. He laughed about it later.”
Former Columbus Mayor and Police Chief Jim Wetherington noted how Joiner was recognized for kicking in the back door of a burning home with a padlock and rescuing a man on 41st Street in January 1982. The home was in flames and full of smoke.
“I had the opportunity to recognize and honor him on the occasion when he was with our agency,” Wetherington said. “Lynn was a good guy. He was just a great leader and police officer.”
Joiner and officer Paul Tucker were presented medals of valor for going beyond the call of duty in performing their jobs. “It was just a part of our job,” Joiner said of the honor.
Joiner was known for his ability to work on complex issues. He earned a bachelor of science degree and a master’s degree in public administration from Columbus College, now Columbus State University.
“He was a very intelligent man,” McMichael said. “He knew how to research and study a problem to find a solution to it.”
Police Capt. J.D. Hawk said he worked with Joiner in the Property Crimes Division and described him as a good police officer, good friend and good man.
“You could always depend on him,” Hawk said.
Funeral arrangements are incomplete, according to McMullen Funeral Home at 3874 Gentian Blvd., Columbus.