One of the most prominent individuals in the local law enforcement community is retiring, as Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Under Sheriff Jim Lansing’s last day on the job is this Friday.
“I’m kind of happy, but I’m sad,” Lansing said of his retirement. “I’m going to miss my people. I’m going to miss all my employees who work for me.’
Lansing knew since 1979 that he wanted to be a police officer, as he was pursuing an administration of justice degree at Belleville Area College.
A year later, however, Lansing met his wife Jeanine. Her father worked at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company and offered Lansing a job, which he took and worked for 17.5 years.
“But I always wanted to be a police officer,” Lansing said.
That dream came true in 1995 when former Columbia Police Chief Gene Henckler hired Lansing as a part-time patrolman.
In 1996, Lansing also started working part-time with the MCSD and Valmeyer Police Department.
Finally, in 1998, former Monroe County Sheriff Dan Kelley hired Lansing full-time.
“With the support of my wife and two daughters, Jenna and Julie, I was able to leave Southwestern Bell and take on the full-time job here,” Lansing said.
He started as a deputy, but eight years later Lansing became a K-9 officer, working with his four-legged partner, Sari.
“The most rewarding was the 10 years between 2005 and 2015 when I was a K-9 officer,” Lansing said.
He said that was the case because of how he was able help find lost people, get drugs off the street and meet people in the community.
It was also rewarding because of the time he spent with Sari, who he referred to as his third daughter.
During his time with Sari, Lansing was also promoted twice, to sergeant in 2007 and lieutenant in 2014.
In 2018, Lansing earned another promotion to captain. Between 2014 and 2018, he started serving as patrol commander, and after the lieutenant promotion he took over as jail administrator.
Last year, he was promoted to major and under sheriff.
Through all that, Lansing has relied on his faith and family.
“God gave me guidance,” he said, pausing to collect his emotions. “I can’t stress enough that my wife has been so supportive the last 22 years. She had to put up with me working nights, weekends and having mood swings with some of the calls I’ve been on. I wouldn’t have been as good a police officer without my wife and kids.”
Even with that support, Lansing said his career has been challenging in a few ways, like keeping up with changing laws.
“One thing I’m not going to miss is the way cannabis laws are changing,” he noted.
He also said he will not miss the way the attitude toward police officers has changed in recent years, though Lansing said this community is largely an exception to that shift.
“We’re very fortunate to live in Monroe County because most of the people still respect the police here,” he said. “I can’t thank the community enough for always supporting the police.”
Lansing said that support actually makes it harder for him to retire, as do his co-workers.
“I think I would have an easier time if we didn’t have a good department, but we have such a good department,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to everyone he works with, including all area first responders, dispatchers and the MCSD administrative team, saying they helped him have a “long and successful career.”
“All the officers are very well-trained, and I always knew they had my back,” Lansing explained. “The dispatchers are our lifeline. They are always checking in on us and making sure we’re safe. (The administrative team) are the nuts and bolts of our department. They’ve been keeping our office running smooth.”
Lansing also thanked Henckler for giving him a chance in law enforcement, Kelley for promoting him to full-time and Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing for trusting him in leadership positions with decision-making power.
“I couldn’t have asked for better bosses,” Lansing said.
While he may not see those people as much after he retires on his 60th birthday, he will still be around because he plans to work part-time doing court security at the Monroe County Courthouse and help with prisoner transports.
“I’m still staying connected,” Lansing said.
He said he also plans to travel some when his wife retires later this year and play plenty of golf.
After a few months, he may decide to increase his involvement.
“As a lot of people know, I have a lot of energy and I just can’t sit,” Lansing said.