One of Uber's many employees is a former Foreign Service Officer, Mark Jones, who lives and works in Seattle, Washington. Jones joined Uber in 2015 and gave lectures to police departments in many states including Hawaii and Wyoming. Jones uses his knowledge to help investigations nationally, and now spearheads two Uber Law Enforcement Liaison teams that specialize in helping investigators from around the US with their cases.
(Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)
Jones has a prolific past that started in 2000 when he worked as a special agent in NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigation Service), his first posting was in crimes against persons and then went on to work in the counterintelligence unit. After that, in 2002, Jones went to work for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), which is a part of the State Department's law-enforcement and security arm. His posting there was the United States Embassy in Sarajevo as an assistant regional security officer. During his time in Sarajevo, he learned all about portfolio investigations, managing a team of guards and protecting the Ambassador.
Jones described his job as strategic and deals with the macro issues that arise around the US and Canada. His primary function is to build good relations with all law enforcement agencies on every level including Federal, State and local. He heads a team of 21 professionals that are split into two units, the liaison unit, which takes up about 85% of the workload, offers information to law enforcement and educates them how Uber can help with its information, and the second unit educates law enforcement agents on a micro level, per case.
While Jones is involved in the broader outreach of the unit, traveling around the country creating new liaison relations, his law enforcement response team back in Seattle manages the daily load of providing accurate information to regulators and law enforcement agencies that require specific information as per each case. His team is the one that provides all information leading or requested for subpoena's, court orders and search warrants.
Jones stated that Uber does not give out information to anyone, it regulates the information given to drivers that include only the passenger's name. His team will not give out information to individuals requesting help in personal issues, only to recognized law enforcement individuals and agencies requesting data with proof of identity.
Jones help comes when victims or perpetrators are suspected of using rideshare services at any point of the crime. For instance, in one case an Uber driver drove a victim in a rape case without knowledge of the crime to come, or the case of women mortally wounded by her husband while in an Uber ride in Queen Anne and some cases of drivers sexually harassing passengers.
Mark Jones and the Seattle Police Department gave some tips for rideshare passengers:
- Always cross-reference the driver's profile you receive with the car that comes to pick you up.
- Prefer to ride in the back seat for all rides.
- If something seems uncomfortable or you are feeling suspicious during the ride, stop and get off immediately.
- Call 911 without delay in any instance you feel threatened. It is better to say sorry to a policeman in case of a false alarm than to never say sorry again.
In many cases, Uber records helped the police investigate and arrest criminals, including a rapist of a Kirkland victim. Patrick Michaud, a Seattle Police Department Detective, stated that both Uber and Lyft have helped in many cases in Seattle and they operate around 14,000 drivers, some of which drive for both Uber and Lyft.