Thanks to a three year federal grant, Bob Jones of Wallowa is working in Wallowa County schools as a school resource officer. In essence, he is a policeman in the schools who teaches government, constitution and policing classes. His role also includes building a positive rapport with high school and elementary students.
Jones, 56, came to Wallowa County after retiring following 25 years of police duty in Las Vegas, Nev. Born in Bremerton, Wash., he lived in Las Vegas 47 years before coming to Wallowa County to retire. In Las Vegas he worked as a lead high speed driving instructor, on patrol, vice, communications and at the Las Vegas Airport.
In uniform in the schools as a deputy of the Wallowa County Sheriff's office, Jones works a 40 hour week and visits one school each day, working at least one day a week in the three major schools and at least one day a month in the outlying grade schools at Troy and Imnaha. He has been known to make four or five presentation to different elementary classrooms in a given day. At the lower grade levels he often teaches safety and drug programs.
Brother-in-law Jim Hawkinson of Wallowa was the link who brought Jones from Nevada to Wallowa County. Hawkinson, from Reno, came to Wallowa County to retire himself and was the recipient of four or five visits from Bob and June Jones before the couple decided to retire here themselves.
Jones is quick to point out that it is not his place to enforce school policy. He says that his working relationship with county school superintendents is good and that teachers frequently seek out his services to address students in a classroom.
A common sight in street clothes at sporting events throughout the county, Jones regularly calls kids by name.