Jones Takes Steps to Finish What He Started
As a kid growing up in the city of St. Louis, Reggie Jones loved playing games with friends. His favorite game was cops and robbers. While his friends always wanted to be the robbers, he was drawn to play the role of a cop.
“Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be a cop,” he said. “I like order and I like what the badge stands for.”
Jones’ desire to be a police officer was encouraged by his mother. As a single mom of two boys, she fostered his ideals of following the rules and being lawful.
Jones entered the profession at the age of 23 when he was hired by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. For the next 21 years, he patrolled the streets he grew up on in North St. Louis. He also worked for the department as a detective, a hostage negotiator and a civil disobedience officer.
“Being a cop is a service job. To be a good one, you have to want to help others,” he said. “If it’s just a job for you, you won’t last. It has to be in your heart.”
Members of law enforcement have to navigate a lot difficult situations on the job. For Jones, one unique challenge he faced was the careful line he had to walk being a Black officer working in predominantly Black neighborhoods.
“Following the death of Michael Brown in 2014, things got tense. At times, I’d be asked to choose if I was Black or Blue,” he said. “From working on the streets of St. Louis, I learned to take these comments with a grain of salt because I knew I had a job to do -- protect and serve.”
In November 2017, Jones retired from the department. At the time, he didn’t think he’d ever put a police uniform on again. However, after spending five months relaxing at home, he was ready to get back to work.
In April 2018, he joined St. Louis Community College as a campus police officer. Over the years, Jones has worked across the College district. His current assignment is as an officer at STLCC-Florissant Valley.
“One of the reasons I came to the College is because I have a service mindset and I want to help students feel safe and welcome,” he said. “If I can build positive connections with young adults who are just getting out into the world through my role as a campus police officer, then perhaps it will prevent them from having a negative experience with a cop in the future.”
Lieutenant Terri Buford described Jones as an experienced officer and an asset to the department.
“I have a great deal of respect for Officer Jones and the work he does,” Buford said. “He cares about the job, he’s a skillful communicator and a man of integrity. We are fortunate to have him serve the College as a member of the Campus Police Department.”
Jones recently celebrated a significant accomplishment alongside students at STLCC. He earned both an associate degree and certificate of proficiency in criminal justice. While these credentials weren’t necessary for his career, they were achievements he’d been steadily working toward for years.
“My wife is a lifelong learner, and she really pushed me to return to school,” he said. “It feels great to hold these credentials and check this achievement off my bucket list.”
Jones said he learned a lot from the discussions he had with students in his courses.
“While the book material came easy to me since I’ve spent years in law enforcement, it was interesting to listen to students, most of whom were much younger than me, share their feelings about police,” he said. “I believe the perspective I gained from them has helped me grow as an officer.”
Outside of work, Jones enjoys spending time with his wife and five kids. He likes to play golf, watch movies and sing in his church choir. He is also preparing to return to the classroom once again -- this time, to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Webster University.
“I only need to take a handful of courses to complete this degree,” he said. “I promised myself that I’d get back at it after I retired, and now I’m ready to finish what I started.”