By Steve Plunkett

Richard Jones is leaving his job as Ocean Ridge’s police chief to take the same post in nearby Gulf Stream.

Gulf Stream town commissioners approved the new hire on Feb. 10. His month-old contract with Ocean Ridge requires him to give up to 90 days’ notice, Jones said.

“I have already started to look for a replacement to fill the position that I am vacating so I can move that process along as quickly as possible,” he said. “I could potentially start sooner depending on what type of replacement I have and what kind of transition we think is necessary.”

10961804671?profile=RESIZE_180x180Jones, who wore a business suit to the Gulf Stream meeting rather than a uniform, said he would solve the problem of recurrent vacancies in Gulf Stream’s 14-officer police force by building morale and making it “the go-to law enforcement agency in the county.”

“We should be the agency that everyone else is looking to, not only to see what we’re doing operationally and with our vision, but also what we’re doing with our technology and how we treat our staff,” he said.

He would boost morale, he said, “through a method that I believe in — being a worker, not just a police chief.”

“I believe in putting my feet on the ground and doing what I ask my officers to do, to demonstrate to them that I’m with them every step of the way. … It makes them realize that there’s value in their leader and I’m not asking them anything that I’m not willing to do.”

Jones, whose duties in Ocean Ridge include being police chief for Briny Breezes, also said he would be proactive in recruiting and expand Gulf Stream’s searches for potential hires to military veterans and law enforcement agencies beyond the local area.

Commissioners unanimously approved Jones’ hiring.

“We’re delighted to have you and congratulations on your appointment,” Commissioner Thom Smith said.

Mayor Scott Morgan said he spoke with Ocean Ridge Mayor Susan Hurlburt “and while they are sorry to lose him, she could not have been more enthusiastic in her praise of his skill, his vision, his energy, his administrative skills and his ability to take Gulf Stream, as she said, and move our police department legitimately into the 21st century.”

Ocean Ridge gave Jones a three-year contract on Jan. 9 after he had been its chief more than 16 months. His pay there was $115,763 a year. His salary in Gulf Stream will be negotiated.

Ed Allen, his predecessor in Gulf Stream, announced in early December that he would leave the department on Jan. 31. Allen, who worked in Gulf Stream almost 35 years, was paid $143,771.

Jones started the week by persuading the Ocean Ridge Town Commission on Feb. 6 to approve one-time pay raises and benefits increases for his 15 officers for the rest of the year to attract more officers and retain current ones. Jones made the request after compiling a survey that showed Ocean Ridge’s officers made drastically less in salary, benefits and health insurance than other coastal police forces in Palm Beach County. 

Each officer will get a $7,500 salary bump the rest of the year, a $5,000 lump-sum vehicle reimbursement payment and a 50% health insurance match. Money for the changes will come from $213,186 that was freed up by freezing two vacancies.

Joe Capozzi contributed to this report.

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of The Coastal Star to add comments!

Join The Coastal Star

Comments

  • Ocean Ridge does not quite understand yet what we lost!
    Gulf Stream will find out soon what a value they just hired!

    Chief Jones has done an amazing job in not just revamping our police force but to give our ORPD officers a proper purpose, the feel that their chief is on their side, does not play political games and understands what a modern police department actually needs.
    Under his leadership officers came to work happy. They did their work with purpose knowing that not just did the other beat-officer have their back but the boss did as well. After years of having a do-nothing approach to policing, leaving officers feel not valued and irrelevant and causing increase in crime in Ocean Ridge Chief Jones's new leadership has brought immediate results:

    * person with a 12-year old Federal Warrant was arrested during routine traffic stop.
    * person was arrested while in possession of a gun that was used in a homicide in West Palm Beach earlier in the year.
    * illegal drugs and weapons were seized and taken off the streets, the owners handed to the prosecutors office.
    * vehicle burglaries are down from pre-Chief Jones era
    * Ocean Ridge's new reputation "Don't speed there" has slowed traffic throughout town.
    * License Plate readers were added and used in solving various crimes

    Our officers have done an amazing job and they were able to because the leadership allowed them to do their job properly for the 21st Century. That is what Ocean Ridge is losing, that is what our neighbors in Gulf Stream are getting.

    To my fellow Commissioners in Gulf Stream, I hope you do value what you have and none of you will allow his position to become a political punching bag to install a candidate you support, burning down the house along with it. 

    With a sad heart the only good thing I see out of this for my town, Ocean Ridge, is Chief Richard Jones is the one looking for a replacement, one who shares his values and will hopefully give our officers the same leadership they came to enjoy for the past 16 months.

This reply was deleted.

Activity Feed

Mary Kate Leming posted photos
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BOCA RATON
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a blog post
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BOCA RATON
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in GULF STREAM
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in OCEAN RIDGE
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in DELRAY BEACH
Wednesday
Mary Kate Leming posted a discussion in BRINY BREEZES
Wednesday
The Coastal Star posted a blog post
Wednesday
More…