Job Title: Sergeant, Edmonton Police Service
Why He’s Top 40: For his work with victims of crime and abuse, and his dedication to helping the community.
Guilty Pleasure: “I enjoy men’s fashion, especially in checking out some of the nice local spots that have high-end lines. I like to dress well, but sometimes I’m overdressed.”
Four years ago, a friend persuaded David Jones to take part in an inner-city bike shop program dubbed, The Spoke, designed to steer kids away from gang influence. At The Spoke, youths learn about rebuilding bikes, and have chances in the end to lead sessions with other children. A cycling enthusiast himself, Jones offered his services and mentorship, while helping the kids build bikes.
Then, a few weeks later, something unusual happened.
“I showed up one day in my police uniform,” says Jones. “One kid I really got to know just didn’t know what to say. I don’t know if he ever had a positive interaction with a police officer before. As long as I’m willing to be the same person and get greasy with my uniform on, then the kids are able to turn around and say, ‘OK I get it now, He’s just a guy, too.'”
That’s among the more auspicious moments that Jones can share as an EPS officer whose day job is spent working out of the Zebra Child Protection Centre, which supports children who have been victims of crime and abuse. Even before he became a cop, Jones always liked interacting with teens, having spent time as a youth worker at The Family Centre.
Such dedication has landed him recognition via the EPS Criminal Investigations Division Excellence in Investigations Award for his work on a complex child sexual abuse investigation. His involvement in The Spoke not only won a Jack Grainge Award from the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society, it also became a national story on the CBC and received high praise in the 2012 State of the City report.
But Jones finds that the feedback from the kids is what’s really rewarding. “I’ve seen some very positive stories,” says Jones. “What the long term is going to be like has yet to be determined, although I’ve met lots of very successful people who have that kind of story in their past. That gives me some hope.”