Covington Police Chief Retires -- Doesn't Rule Out Politics in the Future
In October, Covington Police Chief Spike Jones will experience two significant life events: he will turn 50 and he will marry Christie Feldman in a private ceremony at Covington Landing.
In anticipation of those two events, and for other reasons, the longtime servant of the Covington Police Department announced his retirement Wednesday.
"I always felt that I was going to stay until I had done what I felt needed to be done, no matter what title I was holding," Jones said during a news conference at City Hall. "I always wanted to be a part of a team that made our department better. Also, I decided that I was going to stay until someone was able to take over my duty station in a seamless manner. Well, I've done that. I'm here to tell you, you have a group of leaders at this police department like never before."
Jones was named chief in June 2012 where he was tasked with improving the department's morale after contentious union contract negotiations and disputes with his predecessor, Lee Russo, who was the target of a no-confidence vote among the rank and file.
The new chief was already a familiar and active face in the city. He grew up in Austinburg, attended Holmes High School where he was in the marching band, and he continued to work with youth in the city's Eastside. He instructed a young group of drummers there every Monday.
Jones began his service to the city on September 22, 1988.
"It seems like yesterday when I walked into this building and took my oath of office as a police officer, twenty-six years and nine months ago," Jones said, "so it is true what they say about time flyin when we're having fun."
"I can tell you this, I have had the time of my life here and that's how I will always reflect upon my experience as a Covington Police officer."
"It's gonna be hard for all of us to have Spike not be here," Mayor Sherry Carran said. "He has been our strength in many situations." Carran said she often relied on the chief's natural and instinctive people skills to help her through difficult political situations. "The way he cares about the people in Covington and outside of Covington, it shows. With all the turmoil across the country with community-police relationships, I am so proud and we are lucky that Spike and his team have been almost role models for the rest of the country."
Jones recently sat on a panel with Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell where the police leaders discussed race relations and community policing amid situations across the country involving the deaths of black men at the hands of police.
"Chief Jones has been instrumental in building a team of professionals and we are a better community today because of his work and that of his team," City Manager Larry Klein said. Jones suggested that Lt. Col. Bryan Carter be his replacement, a move that Klein and Carran support.
Carter fought back tears at the announcement. "It was a shock," he said about learning of Jones's plans to retire.
Jones said that he is unsure what he will do next professionally, though teaching and consulting remain possibilities. He plans to spend more time with his two sons at his South Covington home.
He could also return to City Hall in a new capacity.
"I've considered politics," he said when asked if maybe a run for mayor in 2016 would be a possibility, "but I don't think I'm ready for the role of mayor of a city. But, you never say never."
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher