After two decades behind the badge, Yazoo City native Thaddeus Jones takes pride in mentoring to younger police officers within the force. He believes in dignity, community pride and dedicated service. It is a formula that he knows works, and it works well.
“With this being my hometown and for other officers from here, I want them to roll out the red carpet of service,” Jones, 43, said. “I want others to have as much passion and interest in doing a good job for Yazooans as I have in the past and currently.”
Graduating from Yazoo City High School, Jones attended Mississippi State University and Jackson State University before completing his training at the state academy.
Jones worked with the Jackson Police Department for 18 years, rising in the ranks ultimately landing the role as a precinct commander in south Jackson. He returned to his hometown and worked alongside his fellow officers within the Yazoo City Police Department for the past two years.
“It started as an interest when I was a child,” Jones said. “That interest became a passion once I became an officer.”
The one aspect of the profession that Jones said continues to draw him into the police force is the people of his community.
“It’s the people; helping people and seeing a positive side of people,” Jones said. “I like to see people come out of a terrible situation, pulling themselves out of it.”
Jones said working with the JPD prepared him for his return to his hometown. He admits he may have become lost had he went to work right away in Yazoo City.
“If I had started policing here in my small town, it could have colored the way I see certain situations more than it should have,” he said. “I might would have become lost in what I was supposed to be doing. In Jackson, I was able to see a situation for what it was, developing a personal touch that is required to become a well-rounded police officer.”
Jones accepted many posts within JPD, rising in ranks. In Yazoo City, he is a patrol officer. And he loves it.
“That is where the rubber meets the road,” Jones said. “Being a patrol officer allows me to make the biggest impact as far as talking to people.”
But each job comes with a challenge.
“The biggest challenge of police work is having to come with terms that there are some situations that your efforts may not make a difference in people,” he said. “But never give up because you may not see an immediate impact this time. You may see one in the future.”
Along with both the challenges and the rewards, Jones said he hopes the community will see beyond the badge when it comes to police officers.
“We are humans too,” Jones said. “And with humans you have those who give it their all, and then you do have those who may not give as much. But there should be no line drawn between the police department and the community. We are the community, and we are for the community.”
Even for officers who may not have been raised in Yazoo City, Jones said he hopes they still possess the desire to have a safe community.
“We have to get away from the ‘us versus them’ mentality,” he said. “We all want the same things. It makes no difference between affluence and poverty. It is either against the law or it isn’t. We must enforce the law with the peace and dignity of the city in mind.”
With recent national media events surrounding police forces, Jones said he encourages the public to hold the local department accountable as well.
“I urge anyone who sees what they deem as police misconduct to report it to the police chief without hesitation,” Jones said. “The Yazoo City Police Department does not tolerate corruption or the taking away of the dignity of any citizen of Yazoo City. I am just a patrol officer. But I don’t want any officer wearing this uniform and badge in a manner that brings misconduct.”
Jones sees his profession as being a public servant, with authority that only goes as far as the people are willing to give him.
“It’s simple,” he said. “Don’t’ abuse trust.”
Jones is a member of the Hanging Moss Church of Christ, and he has a wife and three children. When he is not spending time with his family, he looks forward to training new officers.