Blaine police officer Jon Landis joined the Blaine Police Department (BPD) in 1995, just before it moved into where it is now, at the old post office. He was looking for a job in a smaller town after spending four years in Guam, where he attended the police academy and then worked night shift for the Guam Police Department, which at the time had 660 commissioned officers. He said he wrote DUIs and broke up fights.
In his last month with BPD, Landis is back working the night shift, only now he patrols the neighborhoods around Drayton Harbor and gazes up at the stars from Semiahmoo Spit.
“I wanted it that way,” Landis said, about working night shift for his last three months on duty. “So it’s not too crazy, not too busy. And I’m glad I did.”
Having served the department nearly 28 years, Landis has earned his on-duty respite. Over the years, he has filled department roles of school resource officer, traffic safety officer, field training officer and child abuse officer. BPD lieutenant Michael Munden said he was also instrumental in getting the skate park built behind the police department and Blaine Library in September 2016.
“He had a huge impact on the community and the department,” Munden said. “He’s been a very reliable and good officer, and we are definitely going to feel a loss there.”
Landis was hired on a grant from Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), a component of the U.S. Department of Justice established in 1994. He began working in BPD’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, also known as D.A.R.E., which works with K-12 students in substance abuse prevention education.
The son of salespeople, Landis lived in 18 different places by the time he was 18. He graduated from Lakeridge High School in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He then went to Walla Walla Community College to play football, hoping to become a history teacher and coach football. Then he took a criminal justice class and went on a ridealong with his older brother, Steve, who was a police officer. Steve was part of his department’s D.A.R.E. program at the time, and they chased kids around parks and gave out tickets while on the ridealong.
“This is just the perfect world; every day is going to be different,” he said of his first impression of the job. “I still get to help and serve people. It just really attracted me.”
He took more criminal justice classes after that and then didn’t return for his freshman year of college, booking a one-way ticket to Guam instead. He had heard from his track coach, who lived there, that 18-year-olds could be police officers.
In Guam, he met his first wife and had two kids before returning to the U.S. and taking a job with BPD. He wanted to live in a nice town to raise his kids, and he said he saw the potential beautiful Blaine had.
Landis said some of his toughest times while on the force came when he was a child abuse investigator. Four years into his time, in 2005, he said he was burned out.
“I wanted to save every kid that came through that door,” he said. “You take it personally.”
And that was when he became a self-proclaimed “Jesus freak.” He said God helped him continue to take on abuse cases for another 12 years.
One of his proudest accomplishments was as a car seat technician, he helped a woman install a car seat for her child who survived an accident on I-5 two months later. The woman called the department office to thank him. Another moment was when a child abuser in one of his cases was sentenced to life in prison.
Landis retires Friday, March 31. He already received a certification of appreciation from the city of Blaine at its March 13 city council meeting.
Landis plans to work part time at Birch Bay Bible Community Church while going to school at Columbia Bible College in Abbotsford, with the hope of joining full time after receiving his diploma. He also wants to continue substituting at Blaine schools and spend time with his four children, who are 30, 28, six and four years old.
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