A force for good for 30 years
Sgt. John Jameson retiring from county sheriff’s department
By Lois Gormley
The Desert Sun
September 13th, 2004
INDIO -- He’s been shot at, bitten, rammed by a vehicle and attacked with a tennis racquet in the line of duty.
So far, these have been the best years of his life.
But on Tuesday, after 30 years of service within the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. John Jameson will hang up his bulletproof vest, leaving his post with scrapbooks filled with awards and certificates and three decades of memories.
And he’s the first in a string of others set to go.
"There are about five people going out this year with 30 years," Jameson said from his office at the Indio sheriff’s station Saturday. "We’re probably losing about 400 years of law-enforcement experience in the next year."
Jameson, who is the senior sergeant in the entire department, will be sorely missed by both the command staff and the deputies he supervises, said Capt. John Horton, commander of the Indio station.
"I’ve always felt very comfortable leaving the valley when he’s the watch ser-geant," he said. "He provides the decisive leadership our citizens expect."
Jameson, 53, said the decision to go is purely a financial one.
"If I continued to work, I’d be working for 3 cents on the dollar," he said, explaining he was maxed out on what he can make for retirement. "If I bought lunch, I’d be in the hole."
The longtime La Quinta resident’s entire career has been spent assigned to the Indio station.
Jameson and his wife of 29years, Rose Mary, raised their two children, Dawn and Christopher, in the desert, and he only contemplated returning to Orange County, where he grew up, once.
Housing costs dissuaded him, he said.
Jameson joined the department in November of 1974, and after three weeks of training he hit the streets.
He was later sent to the sheriff’s academy for about 10 weeks before being assigned to patrol Desert Hot Springs and Palm Desert.
In 1980, he was promoted to investigator and worked both property crimes and homicides. He was transferred to narcotics in 1986 and assigned to child abuse and sexual assault crimes in 1990.
"That was a rough 10 years with those two assignments," he said.
In 1996 he was promoted to sergeant and assigned as a patrol watch commander, a position he has held since.
Throughout his 30-year career, Jameson has never had to fire his weapon, despite being assigned to Desert Hot Springs during its "wild and woolly" days when bikers seemed to flock to the city in droves upon being released from prison.
He made so many arrests back then and was so unpopular with the bikers they put two contracts out on his life.
He has been shot at 12 times in his career -- once during the pursuit of a vehicle used in the robbery of a La Quinta AM/PM.
As the description of the vehicle came over the radio, Jameson realized the truck was passing him.
Even though he was in an unmarked car, they noticed him when he followed and began -- he thought -- throwing rocks and bottles at his car.
Later he learned they’d shot at him. There was a bullet hole on the side of his door, about a half-inch below the window.
It took the department a year to get around to fixing the damage, and that daily reminder of the incident upset his wife more than the shooting itself, he said.
He comes from a long line of career law enforcement retirees.
His father was in law enforcement for 39years -- first with Los Angeles Police Department and then with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Now 81, Jameson’s dad will be attending his retirement party later this month.
Horton said he’s known Jameson for about 25 years and that he’s served the valley with honor and integrity.
"The most important thing about John is he has been a very stable force within the Indio station for the younger officers coming aboard," he said.
He has been an example to the younger deputies over the years and has been a stable presence for them, offering his experience, guidance and mentorship, Horton said.
"It’s going to be different without him around," he said. "We all wish him the best during his retirement."
Hell of a person
I dont know the man, but the article makes it sound like he's had a hell of a good run, and been blessed with some good luck too.