Alcornite women are dominating in their respective fields, which for the most part, is male-dominated. Penny Jones ’16, ’19, former deputy chief for the Vicksburg Police Department (VPD), is the latest example of an Alcorn alumna to achieve excellence in her field while breaking barriers.
The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen named Jones the first woman chief of police in the department’s history Tuesday, July 6, during a Swearing-In Ceremony at the Vicksburg Auditorium.
In her 22-year career with VPD, Jones has held multiple positions: deputy chief, patrol commander, domestic violence officer, senior patrol officer, narcotics officer, and criminal and crime scene investigator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in liberal arts.
For Jones, her momentous appointment opens the doors for female officers to become leaders in law enforcement. She believes that the future shines bright for her woman colleagues.
“It is an amazing feeling to be a part of history,” said Jones. “There are plenty of female officers that strive to climb the ranks in their agencies. I believe that my appointment proves that they can achieve their dreams. Women are breaking glass ceilings. Anything is possible.”
In June, Vicksburg Mayor Georg Flaggs Jr. applauded Jones for her outstanding work and recommended her trailblazing appointment. The news made Jones reflect on her journey and how hard she’s worked to reach this position in her career.
“I was truly honored. I have worked hard throughout my years at our agency. I’ve been reliable and kept a positive attitude towards my job. My work spoke for itself, and others recognized it.”
Some of Jones’s goals include changing the public’s perception of police officers, encouraging community/police collaboration to mitigate crime, and creating lanes for young people to thrive and stay out of trouble.
“I hope to change the narrative on how people view the police. I also want to encourage the communities to work together as a team to combat crime. Police can’t be everywhere at the same time, but people are everywhere. We need our citizens to be our eyes and ears to help slow down crime so that we can take back our neighborhoods. I strive to propose better plans to ensure that our youth have bright futures. We expect the younger generation to look after us later in life, so we must look out for them now.”
Coming to Alcorn added to Jones’s already impressive skill set. She credits her professors for giving her more knowledge and enhancing her confidence.
“I went to Alcorn because I wanted to learn more so that I could do my job better. The professors were so helpful and pushed us to be successful. They dedicated their time to make us feel important. I feel more confident in my work because of my experience at Alcorn.”
Honoring her badge is what got Jones to the pinnacle of her career. She encourages other officers to do the same by being fair and eliminating anything that dishonors their shield.
“If you are tired of the injustices, then be the one who makes a difference. Be a person that changes the narrative about police. Expose any negativity so that changes have to be made.”