“There’s no better crime reduction strategy than to engage with our youth, for them not to be scared of us, to let them know there are people out there who care,” Mr. Jones said.
In a profile of Mr. Jones on the website of the University of Louisville, where he had attended college after growing up in Kentucky, Mr. Jones said he’d had a modest upbringing. His mother, Toya J. Brazley, worked multiple jobs to help raise her three sons. His father, the elder William D. Jones, worked in insurance.
In 2006, Mr. Jones dropped out of college and moved to Los Angeles, a city eight times the size of his hometown. Initially, according to the profile, he had hoped to break into the entertainment industry. But he discovered a new calling in 2009, when he joined the Los Angeles Police Department. He liked it, as his lawyer said, because of his strong desire to help others.
Mr. Jones eventually married, had a son and, in 2015, purchased a home in Santa Clarita, a town in the foothills north of Los Angeles where middle-class families often go to find a slice of suburbia.
In 2020, Mr. Jones finished the credits he needed for his communications degree from Louisville. That same year, he and his wife started their nonprofit, Officers for Change, which distributed donations of backpacks and school supplies from fellow officers, according to the police union.
Mr. Jones also started an at-home business called Use of Force Fitness, public records show.
He found time to serve as an assistant football coach for the Valencia High School Vikings, joining the program within the past couple of years as a wide receiver coach. The team celebrated winning a major regional title in November.