What's in a name?

So I guess I will start off with an article on what is up with the whole "RDMF Jones" thing.

It is one of my nicknames.

Like all good nicknames, it has a story behind it.

And like all good nicknames, the person who has it played no real part in how it came about....

Jones is pretty common last name, it isn't like my last name is Kasperckei or Spinneilliro or some shit. And when you start in a profession that requires you to go by last name, you usually wind up putting your first initial in front of it.

But there was another "R. Jones" that I worked with. So I decided to use my middle initial also. So I started to sign everything "RD Jones." I kind of liked it, it reminded me of historical gunfighters, older ways that men used to identify themselves.

So I was "RD Jones."

So, in the days when I was a younger go-getting officer with more hair, less wisdom and plenty of motivation, I was recruited into the gang unit.

It was not something that I was even that interested in, to be honest.

I wanted to be a firearms instructor and I wanted to work in the Armory. That was about the coolest two things I thought an officer could ever do and I admired those guys and wanted to be them before I knew anything about them. I was younger and this was gonna be my career, remember?

So anyway, I got recruited by the security chief to join the gang unit.

He came to me, I really had no interactions of any significance with him before then.

Well....... maybe two.

The first of which, I was covered in somebody else's blood and was trying to get the cell extraction armor off me and not catch inmate cooties in the process. It literally looked like I had murdered the guy, there was blood SOAKED in to my arm guards from the tip of my left finger to the shoulder of my arm.

He saw me struggling, trying to get it off and minimize my exposure to god knows what bloodborne pathogens where lurking in it. He walked in the room and tried to help me get it off. I felt bad because I was worried blood was going to get on his pressed white shirt. He went and got some other supervisors to check on me. I was fine. I just kept telling him "I am good sir, just trying to be careful." It wasn't MY blood after all...

The other time we were having a "ride in" from a mini riot at a lower security place. The new inmates earned themselves a 400 mile van ride for the disturbance and they were not gonna hit our gate until two in the morning. They asked for volunteers to stay to help. Corrections folks learn pretty early to not volunteer for shit. But I was still pretty young and motivated remember?

So I got the cell list, got the mattresses, got all of the logistical stuff around for when these guys showed up and then, put it all where it needed to be upon their arrival. I wasn't asked to, I just did it. Then I came down to the office where the supervisors lurk and the there is the security chief. I hand him a paper with all of the details. He took it, looked me over again and said, "OK, thanks. The special response team is here to receive these guys when they get here, can you man the gate and process the transporting officers when they get in?" Sure. No problem.

I guess those interactions gave me a shot at the gang unit.

And as luck would have it, I got pretty good at it.

I got up in the business of the gang members. I worked on their secrets, learned their codes, studied their customs, learned to see a whole other world that most of the rest of the world never see.

It worked out for me because the powers that be didn't want to deal with that crap. They wanted to do other things and were not interested in trying to figure out why fights happened, why certain inmates refused to go to certain blocks, why the tension was high in another spot, why there was a gunfight on the street and it led to a stabbing on the cell block. They started to leave that to the gang unit.. and as time went on, me.

So I had a lot of "juice" to get shit done in there at one point. I had managers who would not move an inmate from one place to another unless they had it from me, personally, IN WRITING, that it was OK. I still have a copy of the paperwork that went on the bulletin boards for that one.

So one night I was participating in raids on a cell block while they slept. We had gotten intelligence that a cell phone, drugs and weapons were being held by three gang leaders in their cells, but only at night. They had others who were non affiliated hold it during the day when everyone was out of the cells moving around. Very common.

The only way to get the stuff was to do the raids in the middle of the night. Dynamically.

No guns, just guts. We had big ass cans of pepper spray, maybe some side handle batons and handcuffs. Run up in there, all at once and pop the doors of the gang leaders all at once, and if it was done right, have them in cuffs and start searching before the dudes even knew what the hell was going on.

So me, a couple of other gang unit guys and some special response team members would operate the raid. We would develop a plan and make shit happen. If the intel was good, we would get the stuff out of the institution and if we were really lucky, help the cops on the street by giving them access to gang leaders cell phone activity to further their investigations.

So after one of these raids, one of the gang leaders sees me in my gang unit polo as we are dragging him out of the cell in handcuffs and says, "Jones! Ride me out of this fucking prison bro! I need out of this fuckin place, y'all doing to much in this motherfucker!"

"You know I aint got the juice to just ride you out, now what you got up in that house of yours?" I said back as I put on my latex gloves and began to enter his cell.

"Bullshit you don't have that juice! You are R. D. Motherfuckin Jones!"

After it is all said and done, a friend on the unit looks at me, "Really bro? RD Motherfuckin Jones?" he starts chuckling.

That is all it took, every unit guy started calling me "RD Motherfuckin Jones." Then, slowly, most of the officers and even some of the command staff. Then on a schedule one shift, my name had been printed out "RDMF Jones" on the roster.

As a gift, one of my partners on the gang unit had a "chit" (a metal disk issued to us that we use to show who has what keys if they are not in their proper place) stamped, "RDMF Jones". I still have it on my keys.

It stuck.

So there you go.