St. Petersburg PD's first black Sgt. left legacy of service

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As we honor African American heritage during Black History Month, we look at the life of a law enforcement trailblazer who has left a legacy of service to the St. Petersburg, Florida. community.

Former law enforcement officer Samuel Jones' family has fond memories of his life.  

"He was one of the nicest people I knew and was a giver and kind-hearted," said stepdaughter Sharon Turner Blossom.

Office Jones was born in Bradenton, Florida in 1927. His family moved to St Pete and he graduated from Gibbs High School in 1947. After high school, he became one of the first African American police officers in St Pete 1949. 

 "When I look at him, I see bravery, you know, he was a very brave man being a pioneer during those times," explained son-in-law Danny Troupe.

Officer Jones went on to become the first black Sgt. for the police department in 1960.

"He didn't brag about himself, he didn't brag about what he had accomplished, what he had done," Sharon said.

People would often stop him on the streets.

"They would say, 'you saved my life,'" said his wife Jeanette Turner Jones. "I would have been in jail if it wasn't for you."

He retired from the St. Pete Police Department in 1970 and became the first African American bailiff for St Pete police. The secret to Officer Jones' success: "Anytime that there was unfairness he wouldn't take a part of it. He wouldn't take sides." said daughter Rhonda Troupe. "He always wanted to stay fair and see things from a positive point of view."

Samuel Jones died late last year at the age of 92, a trailblazer who made his community a better place to live for all.