It’s being around the members of the department staff that he interacts with on a daily basis that Yuba City Police Chief Robert Landon will miss the most when he steps away from the department in September.
Landon announced last week that he will be retiring later this year after 27 years of law enforcement service for Yuba City. He joined YCPD in 1994 and held positions as patrol officer, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and SWAT commander. He became chief in 2008.
“I am very lucky to have spent 27 years, my entire career at the same department,” Landon said. “Which in my opinion has the best law enforcement individuals and team in the state.”
Landon is a U.S. Navy veteran who served more than 11 years onboard nuclear powered submarines during Operation Desert Storm and the Cold War.
He shied away from listing his accomplishments during his time as chief and said he views them as the department’s accomplishments that have happened during his stint in command. Landon said the department made community-based policing a priority by offering opportunities for officers to engage with different sectors of the community. These interactions happened at events such as neighborhood watches, Coffee with a Cop, citizen academies, open houses and through social media.
“We were also able, with the city council’s support, to create new positions for a community-based policing coordinator and homeless liaison officer,” Landon said.
He said the department kept officers educated, trained and equipped during his time and instituted the use of body-worn and vehicle cameras.
“During periods of unprecedented high attrition rates nationwide throughout the country we have been able to achieve full staffing in our sworn officer staffing ranks,” Landon said. “We are taking steps necessary to recruit and train our most critically understaffed positions now, our dispatchers.”
The crime rate in Yuba City dropped for a third consecutive year, according to Landon.
Landon learned during his time at YCPD that the community trusts and supports law enforcement.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that trust is never misplaced,” Landon said. “We need to have the uncomfortable meetings when needed and be willing to accept and continuously seek feedback and constructive criticism from our community.”
He said he also learned how to make time for family, the importance of taking care of staff members, how law enforcement agencies working together maximizes their efforts, and to never get complacent about fighting crime.
Over his 27 years at YCPD, several things have changed in the community and changed the way the department operates. He said a social media presence is now essential for a department to keep in contact with the community.
Changes in laws have made it harder to book people in jail causing the department to deal with repeat offenders on a more regular basis.
Landon said Yuba City’s population has more than doubled since he started at the department and the homeless population has also increased.
“I am very happy to see that people are realizing that this is not a law enforcement problem alone, and groups and finances are being dedicated to solve the root issues,” Landon said. “Our community is getting very engaged in creating solutions.”
Landon said he could not have picked a better community to call home and raise a family in.
“I have been blessed with a supportive wife and family that allowed me the time to chase after my dream of being a law enforcement officer,” Landon said. “...I will not focus on thanking or saying goodbye to people at this time as I still have six months of time as the YCPD chief of police and we have a lot of work to do in the city and as a department prior to my departure.”
Landon’s last day with the department will be Sept. 30.
Yuba City Manager Dave Vaughn said the city has engaged with Municipal Resource Group, that worked with the city on the recruitment for the city manager, to assist with a nationwide recruitment for the next police chief.
The process will be open to all qualified internal and external candidates. The final qualified candidates will participate in interview panels with a peer group, a community group and the city’s executive team, according to Vaughn.
The mayor and Vaughn will also interview the most qualified candidates before a final selection is made.
“Lastly, to ensure a smooth transition, the chief has committed to stay on board and assist the new chief in their role to the extent needed,” Vaughn said.