The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police has recognized Oklahoma State University Police Chief Leon Jones for his outstanding performance and “contributions beyond the scope and commitment of normal services and duties.”
Jones is a 24-year veteran of the OSU police force and the first African American to serve as chief in the department’s 50-year history. He holds associates, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice. He is a graduate of the 222nd Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy. He was promoted to OSUPD chief in 2017.
Jones became an officer because he wanted to show the community the good that police officers do.
“I took a career that many African-Americans would not take,” he said. “I am very grateful that I was given this opportunity by those who hired me, and very grateful that Director (Mike) Robinson, Vice President (Joe) Weaver and President (Burns) Hargis have confidence in me and gave me the opportunity to be the chief of this incredible department. I hope that my presence and my success as a law enforcement officer give others the courage to join and work hard to be successful.”
Jones has been the driving force in connecting the department with the community. He instituted a “Core Campus” community policing model in the heart of campus, mandated department wide diversity training and developed and hosted OSU’s first Citizens Police Academy. Under his command, the department has implemented a new records management system and a new integrated 911 call system in partnership with a number of local agencies. He is also responsible for the revitalization of the emergency operations center and the renovation and relocation of the emergency communications center.
Jones’ staff recommended him for the award. Assistant Chief Joe Milek called Jones a “change agent.”
“His leadership serves as a model of transformation and a testament to what is possible by building strong relationships through transparency and teamwork,” Milek wrote in his recommendation. “He played a role in the department becoming the first law enforcement agency in the state to be accredited by the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police and each subsequent re-accreditation since. Never has his contribution been more evident than during the most recent re-accreditation when the department was deemed “error free” and a team of six assessors specifically commented on the morale, teamwork, interactions and relations they observed before and during the assessment in formulating their unanimous recommendation to recommend the approval of re-accreditation.”
Jones said he is humbled his staff felt him worthy of the award and considered him a quality leader. He believes the recognition belongs to the entire department.
“What we do is not about us. It is about the university and everyone in our community,” he said. “I have a great team who are unselfish and so accommodating. They nominated me, when they know it was us that made all accomplishments possible. I am deeply moved and so grateful for the nomination.”