In a presentation at the Troy Public Library, former Secret Service agent Radford W. Jones, front left, will share his experiences working as an agent for more than 20 years and guarding six different U.S. presidents, including Gerald Ford, pictured.

In a presentation at the Troy Public Library, former Secret Service agent Radford W. Jones, front left, will share his experiences working as an agent for more than 20 years and guarding six different U.S. presidents, including Gerald Ford, pictured.

Photo provided by Radford W. Jones


Troy library to host presentation by former Secret Service agent

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published October 9, 2021

 Radford W. Jones, pictured in the foreground, will be sharing his memories of being with the U.S. Secret Service at the Troy Public Library Nov. 4, such as guarding Queen Elizabeth in 1976.

Radford W. Jones, pictured in the foreground, will be sharing his memories of being with the U.S. Secret Service at the Troy Public Library Nov. 4, such as guarding Queen Elizabeth in 1976.

Photo provided by Radford W. Jones

Advertisement

TROY — The Troy Public Library will be offering its patrons a special look inside the U.S. Secret Service with a presentation by Radford W. Jones, who served in the agency for more than 20 years.

Jones will share a brief history of the Secret Service and his personal experiences protecting six U.S. presidents and many foreign heads of state.

“I served six presidents, Kennedy through Reagan. I also served in several field offices during that time, so I spent time in Louisville office as the assistant agent in charge and in Washington, D.C., as assistant agent in charge during the bicentennial,” said Jones. “I am going to give a brief overview of the history of the Secret Service and share some of my experience protecting the presidents and foreign dignitaries. I will be focusing a lot on my time protecting President Kennedy.”

The presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Troy Public Library and will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois Road. Those wishing to attend must register by Thursday, Oct. 28. They can do so by going to https://troypl.librarycalendar.com/events/protecting-six-presidents-life-secret-service. More information is available by calling the library at (248) 524-3538.

“We saw that he had been at another library and we thought it was a very fascinating topic,” remarked Anna Barlow, Troy’s adult services librarian. “How often do you get to be in a room with a Secret Service agent and (hear) about their experience and have a dialogue with someone who has been around so many leaders and politicians?”

Jones said he first became interested in joining the Secret Service while he was studying criminal justice in college.  He said he had been interested in law enforcement, but the concept of investigating fraud and investigating threats intrigued him.

“I was very interested in history and I liked being right where history was happening,” Jones explained. “I graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in criminal science. I worked for a police department in East Lansing, and I was then assigned first to the (Secret Service’s) Buffalo office and then was assigned to the White House in the summer of 1963. I was then moved to the presidential detail. I was also assigned to the Protective Intelligence Division, which is responsible to receive any threats to the president’s life and properly investigate it and vet it. About that time, the Warren Commission made a lot of recommendations, so we were implementing a lot of those changes.”

Jones said he has given presentations like this one several times before, including several at his alma mater of Michigan State University.

“It’s an opportunity to learn about what the Secret Service does and its mission and maybe get an inside look at some pretty significant events, such as when President Kennedy was assassinated and when foreign leaders came to the country,” he said. “I try to give an overview of what an agent’s life is like when working a protection detail and the various things you can encounter. I hope to give a historical perspective of those points in time.”

Jones said he has a number of wild stories that come from being with the Secret Service for so long.

“There’s so many experiences in both protection and investigation, I can’t pick one,” he remarked. “When the queen visited in 1976, I was on her detail because we had a lot of foreign heads of state visiting to present gifts in honor of the country’s bicentennial. … I once apprehended someone who tried to burn themselves in front of the White House. This was right after a Buddhist monk burned himself alive to protest the Vietnam War, so we didn’t want copycats to come in and do the same thing a week later.”

He said his time with the Secret Service came to an end in 1983, during the Reagan administration.

“I left in 1983,” said Jones. “I left because I was the agent in charge of the Michigan Division and they wanted to move me back down to Washington D.C. and I had an offer from the Ford Motor Co., so I decided it was time to change careers. My dad was in the military, so we moved up to Michigan after the war and went to school in Hillsdale County. … So it was a bit of a homecoming for me when I left.”

Barlow said they are very excited to have Jones coming to the Troy library. They are especially happy since they have not been able to host in-person programs in such a long time.

“It’s one of our first in-person programs after being virtual for so long,” she said. “I think being able to be there in person and sit down and have a dialogue with Mr. Jones is a great way to welcome people back.”

She added that having an interesting figure like Jones, who can provide unique insight into a topic many people know about but few people are knowledgeable about, is exactly what libraries such as Troy’s like to provide.

“It’s a really special thing to be able to meet in person and have that interaction and see some memorabilia from his time in the Secret Service,” Barlow said. “I think this isn’t something you can capture virtually by just putting questions into a chat box. Being in the same room is a totally different experience, and we’re glad we can be together again even if we are still needing to follow some safety precautions while we do it.”

Advertisement