A man who has come to be known as everyone's "favorite St. James cop" is getting promoted.
Lt. Ron Jones, best known for his extensive work with local students in the DARE program, recently named the new chief of police for the St. James Police Department.
The St. James City Council Wednesday night approved the appointment during a special meeting at the St. James Municipal Center.
"I'm just excited to keep things moving in the right direction and put our best foot forward for the citizens of St. James," said Jones, who has been with the department for five years. "I have enjoyed serving as lieutenant, and I definitely look forward to serving as the city's police chief."
Jones, 34, replaces former Chief Jim Anderson, who recently resigned for personal reasons.
Mayor Dennis Wilson told the council after the vote was taken that Jones was "a good selection" who would "serve the city well."
Council members said there were a total of three applicants, including Jones. One applicant declined the interview.
"I was hoping I was going to get it," said Jones, who submitted his application around the time the job opening was announced. "With my knowledge of the inner workings of the police department, I want to keep moving the department in the right direction."
Jones says he hopes to strengthen the relationship between the department and the citizens, with the ultimate goal of advancing the community as a whole.
Jones, a native of Chicago, began his law enforcement career with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office in uniform patrol. He was also a narcotics investigator in Pulaski County, before taking a job as a narcotics officer with the drug task force.
Since he began his career in St. James five years ago as a patrolman, he has been a sergeant, a detective, a lieutenant and now the chief.
And good news for students and teachers, Jones still plans to continue his duties with the DARE program until a suitable replacement can be found.
"I'm going to do it this year," he said. "It's something I'm really interested in, so I will do it until we can get someone else trained."
The police department consists of nine full-time employees, including an administrative assistant, sergeant, lieutenant and chief. The department also employes several active reserves.
City Administrator Jeff Davis said the city plans to hire another police officer as soon as possible to fill the vacancy left by Jones.