Retired Cpl. Richard Jones dies
Longtime HPD school officer was 53
HAMMONTON—Cpl. Richard W. Jones #971 (Ret.), of Hammonton, who was a member of the Hammonton Police Department (HPD) for 21 years, died suddenly on March 31. Jones was 53.
Jones, who retired from the HPD in January of 2022, was publicly honored for his service by the Hammonton Town Council at the council’s January meeting.
Jones was born and raised in Hammonton, where he graduated from St. Joseph High School in 1986. He served his community as a Hammonton Police Officer for 21 years, achieving the rank of Corporal in 2016. He retired in January as the Hammonton High School Resource Officer (SRO), a position he held from 2005-2009 and 2011-2021.
Hammonton Police Chief Kevin Friel remembered Jones’ public service in an interview with The Gazette on April 4.
“Rich was always a gentleman, and had a heart for all in the community of Hammonton. Knowing him from when I was a sergeant, and him being a patrolman on the road, up to being a lieutenant supervising him and other SROs in their performance at the school, I saw that his work at the schools as an SRO was immeasurable. He gave more than 100 percent of himself to the people of the community, particularly the students. He was there as a protector, a mentor and a friend,” Friel said.
Friel said Jones went out of his way for others, particularly the students at the Hammonton School District.
“He was known to turn around troubled teens who were on the wrong road, and because he took the time with them, they made successful lives for themselves. He would often give of his own time to go to sporting events or other events to applaud and praise students in those activities. He fostered a great relationship between the students and our community, beyond compare,” Friel said.
The sudden passing of Jones has impacted the ranks of the HPD and the community, as well as Friel personally.
“As a chief, the first loss I felt for Richie was moving on to the next chapter of his life and leaving the department. Now I am feeling a greater loss of him not being here at all. It is truly as if I lost a brother,” Friel said.
Jones had a special impact on many of the students during his time at the school, his obituary said.
His passion for riding motorcycles led him to join the Centurions of South Jersey Motorcycle Club. In his spare time, he loved to hunt and fish but watching his son Brandon’s sporting events brought him the most joy, his obituary said.
He is predeceased by his parents Walter C. Jr. and Jean “Giovanna” (Maimone) Jones and his father-in-law George Jones.
Jones is survived by his loving wife, Barbara; his son, Brandon; sister, Jean Mazzeo (John); brothers and sisters-in-law, Robert and Jennifer Jones, Pete and Alice Jones and mother-in-law Pat Jones, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St. Mary of Mt. Carmel Parish-St. Joseph Church Third and French Streets in Hammonton on April 5. Burial was private.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Richard W. Jones to Our Lady of Assumption Society, c/o Sal Mazza, 1191 Moss Mill Rd., Hammonton, NJ 08037 or St. Augustine Preparatory School, Attn: Business Office, 611 Cedar Ave., Richland, NJ 08350.
Arrangements were by the Marinella Funeral Home. To share a condolence, please visit marinellafuneralhome.com.
Former Hammonton Police Chief Robert Jones spoke with The Gazette about Cpl. Jones on April 3. The connection between Chief Jones and Cpl. Jones went beyond the Hammonton Police Department. Cpl. Richard Jones was married to Chief Jones’ sister, Barbara.
“He and my sister started dating when he was in ninth grade and she was in eighth grade. He pretty much grew up over here. He went on to work for the corrections office for a while and then joined the department in April of 2000. He was a good guy, a good officer. We tried to keep the family stuff separate from work,” Chief Jones said.
During his tenure as the SRO, Cpl. Jones connected with many students, Chief Jones said.
“He liked being in the schools, he liked working with kids. He almost seemed to gravitate to some of the kids who might have disciplinary issues. Also, kids who had similar interests as him with hunting and fishing. When he was at the carnival, it would be non-stop, with the kids coming up to him every day,” Jones said.
Chief Jones was asked by The Gazette if Cpl. Jones’ work made the Hammonton School District a safer place for students, faculty and staff.
“Absolutely. He earned the trust of the students. If rumors were going around, people could come to him and tell them what they knew. If something was going on with a student, he would come to us and say ‘I know the kid.’ He had a good network and would know who did what. I think he would want to be remembered for the work he did in the school. He was also a good husband and a good father,” Chief Jones said.
Former Hammonton Police Chief Frank Ingemi was the police chief when Cpl. Jones was hired and recalled his hiring when contacted by The Gazette on April 3.
“He was hired during my tenure as chief. His qualifications were excellent. I believed he would be a good officer. I put him in the schools as the school resource officer and he did a fine job in there. He was very close with the students. I think he had the ability to communicate with the students on their level. He just had that knack. Even the faculty members there commented that he was very good with the students and the faculty at the school,” Ingemi said.
Ingemi said Cpl. Jones’ work at the school district was critical to public safety.
“It’s very good when you have someone in the school who can communicate with the students. They don’t just take to every officer who comes in the door, but they took to Richie. That’s extremely important,” Ingemi said.
Ingemi said the sudden death of Cpl. Jones was being felt by the entire community, the police department and by himself personally.
“I will miss him, not only as a police officer, but as a friend,” Ingemi said.