Officer Eric Jones, a sweet and thoughtful man, seems to really enjoy his career with the Chicago Police Force.
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I’m more aware of [local crime in my home life] now as a police officer, but back around the turn of the century, I lived in Humboldt. For two or three years I lived on Division and California when it was still pretty hot down there. And that’s when I feel like my awareness really got a jumpstart. ‘Cause every day there’d be shootings and police in my front yard. And I just kinda—Holy Cow! But now as a police, it’s pretty cool because I’m active in what I used to just observe.
By Genial23 via Flickr
At that time I was in school. I was at UIC, and I worked part time as a bricklayer. I attended UIC to get my degree in high school education. I was a substitute teacher in the Chicago Public Schools for about one school year and I couldn’t find a full-time job, so I decided to cut my losses. After that I took a job as a studio manager at a local recording studio. I did that for three years while I did all the testing to get on the police. They’d skipped a year with the test, and I had just missed a test. From the time you take the written test to the time you get on, it’s like a year and a half, two years. It was a year and a half for me.
And every step of the way, they can send you a letter saying, You’re done. I mean, they go through everything. I had to write down every single address I’d lived at, from the time I was born, and the times I lived there. You have to do a urine test and a hair test for drugs. It’s extensive.
They actually assign a detective to your case, and they sort through your background to make sure you haven’t been locked up for felonies, or you don’t have a drinking problem in your past, or in your present for that matter. You’re not a wife beater. All that kind of stuff.
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Chicago police get a lot of flack.
I feel like I have fewer problems with the job than most people, because I’ve had a whole slew of really shitty jobs. I just know what hard work is. When you spend nine hours a day making mortar for people, and you don’t have insurance, you know what it means to have insurance and to be given the freedom of driving around in a car and helping the community. I know what it’s like to be totally broke, you know? I went into thousands of dollars of debt like every college kid. And I grew up in the country, in the middle of Michigan.
But yeah, I know what that’s about. I mean, no one ever calls the police when you’re havin’ a good time.