Good cop: Edmonton police officer tweets his way to hilarity
'I just wanted to humanize the badge a little bit,' says Sgt. David Jones
Oh the places you'll go!
Today is your day
You're off to a dark cave
Under a walk-way
You have flashlight in hand
You have safety gloves on
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose
Away from the needles and the bottles of booze
Checking on folks who need
Better places to snooze
— Sgt. David Jones, on Twitter
When Sgt. David Jones isn't patrolling the streets of downtown Edmonton, he likes to wax poetic.
But unlike Dr. Seuss, Jones's nursery rhymes are about crime and community policing.
The Edmonton police sergeant likes to keep his sense of humour intact on the job, and his sarcastic wit can be seen in his daily posts on his Twitter profile.
In 140 characters or fewer, Jones provides a behind-the-scenes look at community policing — complete with doughnut jokes.
Jones has been tweeting on behalf of Edmonton police for a few years, and his is one of more than 20 official Edmonton Police Service accounts.
He wants to create a friendlier portrayal of police through social media.
"I just wanted to humanize the badge a little bit," Jones said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Monday.
From solving the mystery behind a solitary phone booth perched atop a downtown balcony, to relaying the perils of homemade weapons made of pool balls and old socks, it's clear that no day is the same on the downtown beat.
Some thoughts from my week with apologies to Dr. Seuss. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OhThePlacesYoullGo?src=hash">#OhThePlacesYoullGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Policing?src=hash">#Policing</a> <a href="https://t.co/mX4DPkzjqz">pic.twitter.com/mX4DPkzjqz</a>—@Sergeant_Jones
'Sort of like an improv act'
There is something inherently theatrical about the job, said Jones, who works out of the EPS downtown division. Officers need to be prepared to react to unpredictable, often surreal experiences.
"You jump into situations, all kind of mayhem and shenanigans, and everybody turns to you as an expert," said Jones. "[You're] supposed to be able to immediately calm everybody down and figure out what makes people tick and how to diffuse the situation.
Jones was nominated for a public service Yeggie in 2015, an award that recognizes the best social media personalities and blogs in the city. He's since expanded his online profile to Instagram.
This was seized from an individual along with a can of bear spray. Does anyone know what dangerous weapon this is? <a href="https://t.co/uoBhnLK5Vi">pic.twitter.com/uoBhnLK5Vi</a>—@MHPSSSgtGraham
'Make this place a better city'
Jones joined Edmonton police 14 years ago when he was 25, after working as a youth worker at the Family Centre.
As an officer, he's continued to interact with young people, often working at the Zebra Child Protection Centre which supports children who have been victims of crime and abuse.
"The work in the community is really important to me. I volunteer and I'm involved in different organizations and not all of those pay money, but this does," Jones said.
A mystery <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yeg?src=hash">#yeg</a>: what's with the phone booth up there? Anyone know? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LookUpWayUp?src=hash">#LookUpWayUp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ViewsFromTheBeat?src=hash">#ViewsFromTheBeat</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/yegdt?src=hash">#yegdt</a> <a href="https://t.co/EtGBQk2hnl">pic.twitter.com/EtGBQk2hnl</a>—@Sergeant_Jones