Lt. Fred Jones of the LCSO talks about health, wealth and co-occurring issues

Orlando, Florida – Although you may not know it, if you’ve ever sent an email to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, chances are it was none other than “DJ Chocolate Thunder” himself.

That’s one of the DJ names for LCSO Lt. Fred Jones, who said he’s otherwise known behind turntables as “DJ Fred.”

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This week on Black Men Sundays, host Corey Murray interviews Jones, a public information officer who spends his time in and out of the office investing in his community, figuratively and literally.

In Jones’ 25 years in law enforcement, he said mental health has emerged as a major factor in community-engaged policing, describing how de-escalation training may still not be adequate for real results.

“You get people out there who go through a five-month academy, you know, they get some de-escalation training, they get some emotional intelligence training, but you still have them wear the hat of a mental health professional, you know? You want us to handle it. Florida ranks 50th in mental health funding. 50,” Jones said. “… You think about it right here. Look at the housing, you know? Rents are going up, the price of getting into a house, be it Lake County, Orange County, all over the country. We are evicting people left and right. We’re evicting old people, you know, with nowhere to go. We are evicting mentally challenged people who have nowhere to go. So we don’t have all the resources. We’re always going to play catch-up, but we’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got at the moment.”

Jones said he’s been DJing since 1999, which was probably a good time to start, given the Y2K parties. These days, however, Jones said DJing weddings has become a profitable and fun side hustle.

“My dad was a truck driver, and I used to ride with him a lot… I was listening to Kenny Rogers and Johnny Paycheck and all those – they were in the back of my head all the time, and then I just started listening, you know? I started listening to music. I know people, I can read crowds, that’s a gift I have, and I learned the music, you know, and I’m surrounded by country music all the time. In my 20 years of DJing, and I recorded it somewhere, I’ve probably done over 270 weddings,” Jones said.

In addition to his performances, Jones produces a podcast — “It’s All Right with Fred Jones” — and also told Murray the importance of finding a means to explore the world.

“I think it’s so important, especially as black men, to travel. Because if not, we’d be fooling ourselves into thinking that’s all there is to it,” Jones said. “I’ve probably been to 12 countries that I’ve really enjoyed… I’ll give you one that people will think you should worry about. “Danger, Danger:” Colombia is one of my favorite countries, you know, and people think of the cartel when they think of Colombia. You know, I’ve been to Medellin, I’ve been to Bogotá, but I’m telling you, I’ve never… I feel safer in Colombia than in this country here. What the trip did for me as a black person is it showed me that “You know what? Go where they treat you better.

Now about two years away from retirement, Jones said getting his finances and assets in shape is top of mind.

“What I’m planning on doing right now is that my house will be very close to being paid off if it’s not paid off by the time I’m done, so I’ll probably use this as a rental, you know? I have some land that I bought a few years ago and I can do something with it. So I’m looking to the future when it comes to that, because my goal is to have different streams of income when I retire, not just rely on Social Security, my pension; I want to have those other revenue streams, so I’m building those as well,” Jones said.

Black Men Sundays talk about building wealth for generations. Check out each episode in the media player below:

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