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Forum News Service, Published March 18 2013

Duluth officer on leave after alleged hit-and-run in bar parking lot

DULUTH, Minn. - A police officer here has been placed on administrative leave after apparently backing his personal car, twice, into another vehicle in a parking lot outside a Lincoln Park bar.

Officer Brian Jones, 50, was not in his car when police responded about 9:16 p.m. Thursday to Mitch’s Bar on a report of a hit-and-run that had just occurred to an unoccupied parked vehicle. But his car was found still in the parking lot outside Mitch’s, 2113 W. Superior St.

An investigation revealed that Jones, who was off-duty at the time, had backed his car into a parked car twice in the parking lot, according to a news release from the Duluth Police Department.

Jones has been employed at the department since 1998. The investigation has been submitted to the city attorney’s office to determine what charges are warranted.

Jones was named Duluth’s Police Officer of the Year in 2006 when he was the Lincoln Park neighborhood officer. He worked as a Minneapolis police officer for two years before joining the Duluth department. In 2006 he was a training officer and a member of the department’s Tactical Response team, which responds to all incidents when officers’ lives may be in danger.

In 2006 Jones was a member of the entry team, which is the most dangerous position on the Special Weapons and Tactics team because its members make the initial entry into a building on drug search warrants, hostage rescue and in incidents involving barricaded, armed suspects.

”Brian works diligently each day and demonstrates his dedication to this department, his fellow officers and the city,” then-Chief Roger Waller said when Jones won the award. “Brian’s consistent bravery and professionalism earn him a police officer’s greatest compliment: A cop’s cop.”