A new top cop has taken charge in Harlem. Monday, was the first day as Public Safety Director for former Sardis Police Chief Gary Jones. So who is the new Chief and what are his plans for the department? WJBF News Channel 6's Barclay Bishop has the answers.
Jones brings with him more than three decades of experience, including his position as interim director of the Augusta Youth Development Campus. But now his focus is on the city of Harlem. We caught up with Chief Jones to find out what was on his agenda for the city. Folks there have been experiencing what seems to be a revolving door for its public safety directors. Jones says it's time to get down to business, bringing change for the better, to the city and those who live there.
"They can expect one with an open door policy, not just for the officers who work for me, but also for the public as well. They don't need an appointment to see me," said Gary Jones, Harlem Police Chief. "If I'm here, my door is always open. They can expect someone to be involved in the community, be involved in events and so forth and be accessible. They can also expect to have someone who intends to reduce crime in the city, as well as recruit and retain some of the best officers in the area."
Chief Jones says his main goal is that he wants the community to see his officers as friends. Obviously he says they'll enforce the law when needed. But part of helping to portray that friendly image, he says, is by rebuilding morale within the department. Getting them the equipment that they need since some of it is expired. Small things that Jones says will go a long way.
"I want to rebuild the image of the department," said Chief Jones. "I want officers to be more customer-friendly, so to speak, community oriented. We're going to use the term community policing, a lot here in Harlem and that's the route we'll be going."
Jones will be the fourth public safety director to take charge since 2009. The last one, David Sward, was on the job for 15 months before turning in his resignation.
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