LAKE COUNTY, Fla. – A Lieutenant with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office is on a mission to humanize law enforcement officers. Lt. Fred Jones says he wants the community to see more than just a uniform.
It’s part of his effort to introduce the men and women behind the badges.
Jones has nearly 25 years in law enforcement. He says every day is a new day in terms of earning the public’s trust.
“We’re not far removed from the Civil Rights Movement, you know, where our job was to beat people who were peacefully marching,” Jones said. “What have we done in this profession to say, ‘this is not who we are anymore?’”
Building trust in the community is one of his missions.
“People don’t just give you their trust,” Jones said. “No, we have to earn this every single day.”
When News 6 interviewed him, he was not sporting his badge, but instead a laptop and a microphone for his new way of sharing his mission. Jones now produces a podcast called “It’s Alright With Fred Jones.”
“I want to talk about the human behind the badge, that’s a lot of what’s missing when we see law enforcement behavior on TV,” Jones said.
“The Human Behind the Badge” is the latest series on his podcast.
News 6 was with him when he recorded the first episode with Lake County Master Deputy Evan Rosenstein.
“We’re going to get into not so much his job but his personal life and who he is when he is not wearing the badge,” Jones said.
“What are some of your hobbies that you’re into?” Jones asked.
“I love glamping,” Rosenstein answered. “Camping but I’m going to have air conditioning. So, I get to do that with the family.”
The idea is to let the public know officers have lives, families and pets to go home to.
“So, tell me about your dog,” Jones asked.
“His name is Thanos, because I’m also a huge Marvel fan,” Rosenstein said. “He is a 100-pound baby that is terrified of cardboard even though he is a big bad 100-pound pit.”
Jones also stresses to officers the importance of dealing with the trauma they face on the job. He is passionate about getting that word out.
“Imagine 12 hours of dealing with nothing but crises,” Jones said. “Since 2016, I do a lot of reading on mindfulness and stuff like that,” he said. “Every time I left a call, I would get in my truck and do my breathing exercises, release all that negativity and then move on to the next call,” Jones said.
Jones’s podcast can be found on Spotify.
News 6 examined police reform in a recent episode of Solutionaries. You can watch the digital newscast in its entirety below: