DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden shared the news Monday of Captain Jay Jones’ death over the weekend. Aden said Capt. Jones died at his home unexpectedly Sunday morning from natural causes. He was 51 years old.

“We all have different personalities and Jay, I would call in one-word compliance. Jay was a compliant individual. He knew our policies inside and out. If you had a question about a policy, he was to go to the resident expert on the do’s and don’ts, what we do on a day-to-day basis procedurally. Jay had the love of his troops he did a lot. He went over and beyond for his troops he treated them like family,” said Aden. “He always recognized them on birthdays and holidays and periodic times that he offered to cook for them, matter of fact, the last e-mail he sent out to us was offering to cook for next weekend’s event up in Crestview that we have.”

Capt. Jones’ Career:

Before his time with OCSO, Jones served in the U.S. Air Force. Jones then joined the OCSO volunteer-based Posse, later becoming a sworn-in deputy and rising to the rank of Captain.

“He volunteered and worked his way up as a part-time deputy, then a deputy and did 27 1/2 years,” said Aden. “He rose to the rank of Captain and has been captain for the last eight or nine years with the Sheriff’s Office. He was a journeyman, a patrolman. The backbone of the Sheriff’s Office is patrol, and that’s what he spent the lion’s share of his career doing. He was a traffic expert. He was recognized by MAD for a lot of his drunk driving enforcement efforts early on in his career. He was the Sergeant over our traffic division. He also was a Lieutenant in judicial services and then he became a captain in that same Bureau, where he oversaw a civil process as well as court security. He garnered relationships with judges and attorneys. It’s been a huge impact when you see what he’s touched and different aspects of our community.”

Sheriff Aden and members of OCSO stopped by the Jones’ house to pay respects. Aden said his call to service went well beyond the OCSO.

“He was also things that people don’t know about him. He was into mental health, he was on the mental health board for the Mental Health Association. He worked diligently with them, raising money and awareness for mental health and our community. He was a huge advocate for the Fraternal Order of Police and was on their board. I believe he was even the President of the Fraternal Order of Police at some point. But he’s always been active with that. He was a loyal, dedicated employee, and husband of 33 years, we got to have him for 27 1/2 of those years. He was a very loyal and dedicated family member here at the Sheriff’s Office and it’s going to be a huge loss and a huge void for us.”

Capt. Jones’ Legacy:

Jones leaves behind a wife of 33 years and two children. Sheriff Aden said Jones’ daughter lives in California and his son lives locally.

One of the last things he completed with OCSO before he passed was the End of Watch memorial outside the Shalimar Headquarters.

The bricked courtyard space is lined with the remembrance blue line for fallen officers. Jones’ worked with OCSO to build stone pictures of the deputies that have died in the line of duty.

OCSO Formal Announcement:

We are stunned and overwhelmed at the sudden loss of our friend and brother. We ask that you please remember Jay’s family in your prayers and take this opportunity to strengthen those important relationships in your life.

“We lost a brother and OCSO family member who has been a part of this agency for decades,” said Sheriff Aden. “He started with us nearly 28 years ago and served all those years with steadfast honor and distinction. This is a difficult, very tough loss. We are so grateful to our county officials, other agencies, and community members who have already shown an outpouring of support to help us try to comprehend and cope with his unexpected passing.”

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post

Information on services will be released at a later date.