That was no clogging class going on at the Pierre City Commission meeting this week.
That was only Commissioner Jim Mehlhaff giving Police Chief Jason Jones a “socially responsible” sole-to-sole recognition for 20 years on the police force.
“It certainly is nice to have a little diversion from the normal COVID (talk) during this time and nice to have our police department led by a man of great character who has served our department for 20 years,” said Mehlhaff, who has the public safety portfolio as part of his job on the five-member city commission.
Promising to not just stand on ceremony and to act in a “socially responsible” way, Mehlhaff, with a grin, kept his distance while presenting Jones with his stars for service.
When Mehlhaff lifted his leg and offered his shoe, Jones smiled and kicked it and everyone laughed.
In a socially distant way, of course, according to the Oahe-TV version of the Tuesday, May 19 meeting.
A veteran of the force since 2000, Jones is 43 and has been chief of the 44-employee department since March 16, 2018. He succeeded former Chief Dave Panzer, who retired after four years as chief and 28 years in the department.
Jones grew up in Huron and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at the University of South Dakota. He started with the Pierre Police Department in 2000 and served as a field training officer, a motor officer trainer and a member and leader of the Central South Dakota SWAT team.
He was a sergeant in the patrol division, then a captain before being named chief.
The department includes the regional 911 communications center that dispatches for several agencies, including the state Highway Patrol.
Mayor Steve Harding thanked Jones for a “stellar career on the police force.”
Harding had to ask Jones, who does not seem to seek the limelight, to come back up front and give the commission and local cable access Oahe-TV audience a quick word on his work and the department.
“Well, this is 20 years in law enforcement and I only look at it as a good start,” Jones said. “I’m not going anywhere. “
Jones said he was proud to join others who have served 20 years on the force and, “looks forward to continuing to provide opportunities for the fine men and women working in our department to keep serving the public every day. I will be here for awhile.”