ICON of the Month: Raymond Jackson

Center Grove police chief helps open new emergency operations center

Compiled by Nancy Hammerstrom

Center Grove Police Chief Raymond Jackson knew from a young age that he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement.

“My best friend’s dad was a sergeant in the city I grew up in,” Chief Jason said. “He would share stories with us on the good and bad. I wanted to change the narrative. Growing up in California during the 80s and 90s, the police were always in the news and social justice was the leading topic. There are good and bad in every profession, and I wanted to bridge the gap and be one of the good guys.”

Jackson also nurtured his passion for sports while attending high school in Santa Ana, Calif. After his school won state championships in basketball, football and track, Jackson attended Washington State University on a football scholarship, played in two bowl games (including the ’98 Rose Bowl) and played for three NFL teams in four years, two seasons in the NFL Europe and one season in Arena Football League. Among his favorite memories? His first game of rookie season. “Just walking out on the field and seeing my family, knowing that I finally made it and living out a long-time dream,” Jackson said.

In 2002, Jackson graduated at the top of his class from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Academy and served with the LA County Sheriff’s Department before relocating to Indiana, his wife’s home state. Jackson worked for the Fishers Police Department as a patrol officer and school resource officer at Hamilton Southeastern High School. He was a member of the S.W.A.T. sniper team and taught D.A.R.E. to elementary students. In addition, he was a special investigator and has worked corporate fraud cases over the years.

The Center Grove Police Department, along with the White River Township Fire Department, Bargersville Fire Department and Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, recently celebrated a ribbon cutting for the new Center Grove Emergency Operations Center at 2309 S. Morgantown Road in Greenwood. The center will house all four departments.

“The EOC provides our officers a new headquarters, something we haven’t had. It allows us to be centrally located, can monitor our cameras, a place to train and to work side by side with other agencies,” Jackson said. “My goal is to continue to grow our department and provide more platforms to keep our students and staff safe.”

Jackson, a father to three CGHS grads, credits his faith as a Christian to help him want to become a better officer. “It teaches me to treat others with respect and allows me to see that everyone has struggles,” he said.

What do you consider your greatest virtue? 

I would say kindness.

What do you most dislike in others? 

Hatred and stupidity

What do you like most about living in Center Grove? 

It’s a safe community, very peaceful.

If you had to live elsewhere than in Johnson County, where would it be? 

California or Hawaii. I love the weather, beaches and diversity.

If you could begin life over, what would you change? 

Nothing, I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I am who I am because of the good and bad things that have happened during my life.

If money were no issue, how would you spend it? 

I would give it away to people that were less fortunate than me.

What makes you happiest? 

The beach and being in the ocean.

What is your favorite vacation spot? 

Oahu, Hawaii

What do you do with idle time? 

It used to be coaching up my kids, helping them in whatever sport they were playing at the time. Now that I am an empty nester, going to the gym and playing golf.

What is it that makes you angry? 

Being hit in the head, being called a racial slur and losing.

What do you do to escape from reality? 

I enjoy doing yardwork and cleaning (Indiana). Going to the beach (California).

What or who is the love of your life? 

My kids

Which living person in JC do you most admire? 

My friend Craig Gentry. He is a great father, friend, husband and lives his life with integrity.

What is your greatest extravagance? 

Not really an extravagance person. If anything, maybe traveling or shoes.

What are your fears, phobias? 

The fear of failing and having my freedom taken away.

What has been the happiest time of your life? 

Being a dad to my three kids.

What talent would you most likely to possess? 

I feel grateful for everything God has given me and blessed to have all the talents I need to do what he has called me to do.

What do you most value in your friends? 

Honesty and accountability

Which historical figure do you most identify with? 

Dr. Martin Luther King. Leadership, passion, fight for what is right. I try my best to live by that creed.

What is your greatest regret? 

Not taking my education more seriously and finishing my master’s.

What tenet do you live by? 

Treat others like you would like to be treated.