Police Chief Leon Jones began his law enforcement career at Oklahoma State University in 1994 and has spent his 26 years at the department.
When he was promoted to Chief, being the first Black Chief of OSUPD didn’t immediately set in.
“To be honest, being the first Black Chief of Police didn’t really sink in until my swearing in as the new chief of police. In my mind, I just had a job to do and a department to lead,” he said.
Jones said he was very humbled, but also scared.
“I thought to myself, ‘Wow! You did it! You got the job! I hope you know what you are doing.’ As my dad and I walked away from the ceremony, which was several weeks after receiving the promotion, my dad looked at me and said ‘son, this is a big deal!’ At that point, what I had accomplished started to sink in,” he said.
Chief Jones touched on why he thought it took so long for OSUPD to have the first Black chief.
“I would have to say that it took so long to have the first African American police chief at least in part because we don’t have a lot of African Americans who apply to be officers,” he said. “We (the OSU PD) need to do a better job of recruiting people of different races, and we have been working hard in that area. I believe we can shine light on our agency and be transparent in our efforts of why we are here and what we do.”
Jones said there have been previous Black OSU officers who could have been Chief in the past, but it wasn’t part of their goals or dreams.
Chief Jones said if he could offer any advice to those interested in a career in law enforcement it would be to set “reachable goals and dreams.”
Jones began his career in in law enforcement while working at Walmart as a loss prevention officer.
“As a loss prevention officer, I caught shoplifters and handled internal theft,” Jones said.
Jones said while he was working loss prevention, he built relationships with various agencies, including the Stillwater Police Department.
“I got to know just about all the officers of the Stillwater Police Department, who encouraged me to apply to become an officer. When I became old enough, I applied at Stillwater PD and OSU PD. OSU PD offered me the position and I’ve been here ever since,” Jones said.
Jones said he always sets goals for himself, with one of those goals being to become Chief of Police, which he considers one of his biggest accomplishments.
“My biggest accomplishments personally are the ones that made me a qualified candidate for the position of Chief of Police. After becoming an officer, I went back to school and graduated with my Master’s in Criminal Justice in 2008. To become a Chief at OSU, you must have a college degree from an accredited university or college,” Jones said.
Jones gave credit to his upbringing by his parents, who instilled good work ethics in all of their children, which later helped him make history at OSU.
“I wanted to work my way to the top whether it was making the grade at school, sports, or career, no matter what career I was in. I believe that as you work through a career and gain experience, you should use that experience not only for self-expansion, but to share that experience with others so that they too can progress and be better at their career,” Jones said.
Jones wanted to thank the community for their support, along with thanking the OSU community, his family and friends and of course, his coworkers.
“The OSU Police department has a great group of police officers, and staff that does what it takes to provide the very best police services to our community. These women and men deserve the credit for my leadership because they are the ones who make me who I am,” he said
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