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Jones named state DNR Officer of the Year

An Islandton native has been named the 2018 Officer of the Year by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources.
John Paul “JP” Jones has been with the state DNR agency for more than 12 years. He began his law enforcement career with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office in 2004, and then transferred to the state’s DNR agency. Jones, 35, has been named the DNR’s Unit Officer of the year three times prior. On Friday, however, he was given the statewide Officer of the Year Award. He was also given the Shikar-Safari Club International Wildlife Officer of the Year Award for his time with DNR in 2018.
According to a letter Jones received from the international association, the Shikar-Safari Club award is peer-based. “Being selected for this prestigious award places you in a very distinguished group of officers nationwide who have achieved recognition because of their outstanding performance and dedication to duty,” said Jim Brewer, chairman of the Wildlife Officer of the Year Program for the Shikar-Safari Club International.
Prior to his award on Friday, Jones was also named the Region 4 Officer of the Year for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. Region 4 encompasses nine coastal counties in the state, including Colleton County. The DNR agency divides the Palmetto State into four regions.
His being named the Region 4 Officer of the Year allowed him to qualify for the statewide Officer of the Year award.
“I was very shocked that I won this,” he said, speaking from his home on Sunday. “There are amazing officers who I think a lot of, who were more deserving. I am never going to say that I deserve this, but I am certainly grateful for it and it means the world to me that I was chosen.”
Jones is the father of two and is married to wife, Crystal Jones. He is also the son of Ronnie Jones and Belinda Jones. He still resides in Islandton.
“I’m here for Colleton County,” he said. “My goal is to have the respect of the people who I serve through this agency, and the respect of people who I work with.”
When asked about why he loves his job, Jones says he values being able to protect our state’s natural resources. He also wants to help people, he said. “I’ve been able to see some of our youth kill their first deer, and grow up learning how to be respectful of our laws and our environment,” he said. “If there is anyone I can have a positive influence on, and to help kids grow up in our community enjoying our natural resources, that’s rewarding to me.”
When asked how she felt about her husband receiving so many state awards recently for his service, Crystal Jones said she is “so proud” of her Jones. “He loves his job, and I’m so happy that his dedication has been noticed,” she said. Crystal attended an award banquet with Jones, where he was given his awards. “He is a very humble person, which explains his heart so well,” she said.

Heather Walters (1403 Posts)