Black sergeant draws on his childhood experiences, training, to ensure fair and impartial policing

First run-in with police as a teen: ‘It was probably the most scary moment of my life’

Sgt. Fred Jones is the supervisor over the Internal Affairs division at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office so he sees all of the complaints that come in from citizens about his deputies.

He’s proud to say they’re down - at the county jail with corrections officers and on the road with patrol deputies.

“Sometimes it’s just those extra 5 seconds to say ‘I’m sorry,’ or those first 5 seconds to explain why you there,” Jones said. “It’s those little things that can change people’s perception of us as law enforcement.”

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Jones said it’s during traffic stops that deputies have the most interaction with citizens.

And Jones, who is black, said he learned early on how traffic stops can shape opinions of police.

He was 17 when he was first stopped by police. A member of the high school track team, Jones was out for a run when an unmarked patrol car pulled up next to him and an officer approached him.

“He went to the car and the person opens the glove box and there was a gun, and so I ran, I ran around the building and they were patrol cars everywhere,” Jones said. “They said someone’s house about two blocks away had been broken into and I fit the description. And I tried to tell them, ‘look I’m running, that’s all I was doing.’ But I complied with them and they took me back to the house, and they brought the elderly lady out, and it was probably the most scary moment of my life because I thought she was going to identify me as the person, and I actually saw myself going to prison.”

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