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I am Officer Rickey Jones with the University Of Texas At Tyler Police Department. I am 50 years old and grateful to GOD for every year I’ve been given. I am married to my amazing wife Jana Jones and we have 5 children. I was born in the small town of Jacksonville, TX, which is approximately 30 miles north of where I live now in Palestine, TX. I have resided in East Texas for my entire life and I love it here.
As a kid growing up in Jacksonville, I attended Alberta Kindergarten, Westside Elementary, Jacksonville Middle School and finally Jacksonville High School, home of the fighting Indians. I was raised by my grandmother, Febbie Lee Kennedy, who believed very much in me graduating high school. She ran a strict household that consisted of chores and studying. I didn’t have a lot of free time to be with my friends or play sports. I thought she was being mean and overbearing but now I realize there was value in her structured upbringing.
I graduated high school in June of 1990 and had no idea of what I would do at that point. I couldn’t afford college and didn’t have any guidance on financial aid or grants. Truth be told, I didn’t know to ask. I had a job at Brookshire Bros. in Jacksonville where I had been working since my 12th grade year so I continued to work there after graduation. During my time at Brookshire Bros. I contemplated going into the service, the Marines in particular. I was discussing this with my father one day and he suggested that I apply with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice where he was a Captain. I applied, was hired and began a career as a Correctional Officer. I enjoyed being a Correctional Officer and was quite satisfied with making it a lifelong career. I studied policy and procedure and soon began promoting up the ranks. I worked at TDCJ for 15 years before realizing that I had an undying desire to be a police officer.
I particularly was interested in being a Texas State Trooper. I began researching the requirements and what I needed to apply and within a couple months, I had my application packet turned in. After a 6 month hiring process and a 6 and a half month academy, I was a State Trooper. I served in that position for 15 years. I had many experiences in this position and learned a lot about people. The most valuable thing, I believe I learned, was that I have a love for people and a desire to serve. Policing to me is not just arresting the bad guys and protecting the innocent. It’s really putting yourself in a position to serve your community and that can come in many different forms. It can range from stopping and fixing a flat in the blazing heat for a stranded motorist, to praying with a suspect you just arrested.
Saying all that I have said, leads to this! The steps of a good man are ordered of the LORD: and he delighteth in his way (Psalms 37:23). I truly believe that because I have witnessed it in a lot of people’s lives as well as my own. GOD knew that I was going to be an officer long before I realized it. HE used people and influences to guide me into this profession and has enabled me to serve for the past 30 years. I am now a proud member of the University of Texas System Police and I will serve in this capacity to the best of my ability.