Mississippi Highway Patrol officer Wade Jones tells stories at the Columbus Exchange Club's weekly meeting at Lion Hills Thursday. The Exchange Club named Jones the 2018 "Trooper of the Year." Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch Staff
March 9, 2018 10:26:48 AM
Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Wade Jones loves what he does.
"It's amazing how easy it is to go to work every day when you like what you do," Jones told the Columbus Exchange Club at its weekly meeting at Lion Hills Thursday.
The club presented Jones with its annual "Trooper of the Year" award. Jones, who has been an officer with Troop G since 2015, had the most felony arrests, methamphetamines seizures and DUI felony arrests in his troop in 2017. He is also a member of the department's Special Operations Group. Troop G covers 10 counties in north Mississippi, including all three counties in the Golden Triangle.
"To be able to accomplish all of that and his duties with the special teams is a great accomplishment," said Trooper Jason White, Jones' supervisor.
Jones, a former Starkville police officer and part-time volunteer firefighter, spent nearly an hour chatting and telling stories with Exchange Club members, who asked him about everything from chasing criminals to running marathons -- he is also an avid runner who finished the Boston Marathon with a time of 3:09:24.
Jones called himself a "very competitive person" and credited that nature, as well as his supervisor, with his success.
He also told plenty of stories to the delight of his audience.
"I had a guy that actually tried to outrun me one time," he said. "And I was surprised at how fast this guy was considering his size. So I slowly but surely caught up to him -- and he was still running -- and I got up beside him. I (tapped) him on the shoulder. I said, 'You can stop running now.' He stopped."
Jones also told a story of how he once pulled someone over for speeding and the person told him he was trying to get to the hospital -- right after passing the turn to the nearest hospital.
He answered more serious questions, too, telling club members that when he is on patrol, the nearest trooper to him is probably about a 30-minute drive away if he needs backup. He added he often relies on officers from local departments for assistance. Even then, he said, backup is never close enough.
"If you're in the next room, and I'm in a bad situation, that situation can go down just like that," he said snapping his fingers. "And it doesn't matter how close that backup is."
After the meeting, Jones said was glad to be recognized for the job he did.
"I'm not out there to punish people, to issue a citation," he said, "but to serve, not my county, not the people of Troop G, but the people of Mississippi and anybody that may enter this state.
"It's just a rewarding job because people are going to come up to you and thank you and tell you what a good job you've done and who doesn't like being told 'thank you,'" he added. "And to me, that's what I enjoy the most. It's being told thank you."
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