Persistence pays for pink-thinking police officer
THIBODAUX (AP) — After seeing two of her close friends live through the scare of breast cancer, Nadra Jones wanted to do something special to show support and spread awareness.
Jones, a corporal with the Thibodaux Police Department, approached Police Chief Scott Silverii about three years ago with the idea of a pink patrol car.
Silverii said at first he thought Jones was joking. Her persistence showed him otherwise.
Jones got the pink ribbon symbol of breast cancer support pinned to Thibodaux police uniforms in 2011.
She continued to search for other police departments across the country that had pink police cars.
“I would print out the pictures and leave them under his door,” Jones said, laughing.
Earlier this year, the Boise Idaho Police Department announced it would have a police car a black paint job but pink letters and a pink ribbon on the hood painted in support of breast cancer. Jones asked Silverii about it.
“He said, ‘That looks pretty cool; let’s do this,’” Jones said.
Silverii approached Mayor Tommy Eschete and Thibodaux Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Stock with the idea. In October, the city, hospital and Police Department gathered with breast cancer survivors to unveil the new patrol car.
Jones had already seen it, but was still anxious during the event.
“I was really excited, I wanted to see the faces of the people in the crowd,” she said.
Silverii said because the car was Jones’ idea, she would ride in the car full time.
The car will remain with the force for as long as it is in working condition, Silverii said, but that’s not why it’s important.
“It’s not about the car; it’s not about the partnerships,” he said.
Jones, a 14-year police veteran, didn’t have a lifelong dream of joining law enforcement. Instead, she was looking for a job when her grandfather introduced her to a family friend, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter, in 1999.
Since her start, Jones, of Houma, has fallen in love with police work. In 2007, she decided to take time off to care for her daughter, Quinci Griffin, but she longed to return to the force. She joined the Nicholls State University Police Department, but didn’t stay long.
“I thought it would be good because it was a slower atmosphere, but after a while, I thought, ‘This is too slow.’
That’s when she joined the Thibodaux Police Department.
Jones calls herself a “community officer” because she spends most of her shifts visiting business owners and making rounds through neighborhoods, checking in often with residents, mostly elderly.
Through her networking, Jones has developed sources and forged relationships.
“They’ll open the door, and it’s not Officer Jones, but they’ll call me Nadra,” she said. “I would feel comfortable coming to these people’s houses for lunch.”
When the car was presented to the public, Silverii said, “I can’t wait to see the reaction of the first person pulled over by the pink police car.”
Reactions have been entertaining, Jones said.
“One girl wanted to get out and take a picture of the car. I was like, ‘OK, I’m still going to write you a ticket.’ She thought it was so cool,” Jones said.