SUWANEE - The man whose department led a campaign to reduce traffic accidents and injuries in Suwanee is now trying to enhance how traffic laws are enforced throughout the state.
Suwanee Police Chief Mike Jones was sworn in Tuesday as president of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police. The 34-year law enforcement veteran said one of his priorities during his one-year term will be to aggressively pursue a plan of action to impact the state's traffic safety.
Jones said he would like to improve communications and relationships with legislators and discuss how laws are impacting the safety of Georgia's roads. He said he will also focus on education initiatives and improving technology.
"One of our goals is to improve the safety of citizens on the roadway," he said. "Our main purpose is to reduce accidents and injuries and prevent death."
A year and a half ago, the Suwanee Police Department put concentrated patrols along Lawrenceville-Suwanee and Suwanee Dam roads as part of the Suwanee CARES (Corridor 317 Accident Reduction and Enforcement Strategy) program. Officers were ticketing motorists who were speeding, tailgating or cutting in and out of traffic - and Jones said the program helped save lives.
Jones attributed some of the program's success to education, and he said similar measures could improve road safety throughout the state.
Some of the other priorities for his term will be to increase the retention of police officers.
"It's a police officers' market now," Jones said. "With all the competition and with new cities starting up, those cities need police officers. ... It's a vacuum."
Jones said he also wants to get the association more involved helping law enforcement agencies become state-certified and provide enhanced executive training classes for police chiefs throughout the state.
Jones said the association plays a critical role in the professionalism of law enforcement in the state.
"I'm very excited about being president this year," Jones said. "More than that, I'm humbled that my associates, my peers, have chosen me to this position."
Jones became Suwanee's police chief 10 years ago. He previously worked for 24 years with the Rome Police Department, where his father was also an officer.
He is an adjunct professor at Columbus State University, a Georgia POST (Peace Officer Standard Training) instructor, an emergency vehicle operations and firearms instructor, and a Georgia-certified assessor.
Jones has a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from Berry College and a master's of public administration from Columbus State University. He lives in Braselton with his wife, Debbie, and the younger of his two sons.