Frederick Police Chief Candidate Lando needs to steer by instance law enforcement officials and crime
A man caught for shoplifting reveals baby food hidden under his coat.
The city police ask him what’s going on. He says he has a hungry child who needs to eat and the baby’s mother is unemployed.
The police are taking him back to the store. The manager decides not to bring charges. Instead, the officers buy the man’s formula and take him along.
That’s the kind of policing Jason Lando is proud of.
“This guy wouldn’t have benefited from going to jail at all. This guy needs a job and he needs support, ”Lando said.
When this incident occurred, Lando was commanding the fifth zone of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police around 2017. Shortly before, Lando had worked to improve the police’s relationship with the community and to encourage officials to better understand the situation of citizens.
Lando is currently the Commander of the Narcotics and Deputy Police Unit in Pittsburgh. He is also a finalist in the search for the next Frederick City Police Chief.
Lando is in his 21st year with the Pittsburgh Police Department and while he loves the city he was born and raised in, there will likely soon be no more senior positions available and he wants to lead.
During a virtual meeting earlier this month to introduce the candidates to the public, Lando said Frederick is particularly attractive to him because of the city’s proximity to his family.
He believes one of the biggest challenges law enforcement faces is making sure the police are working with the community. Too often, he has found, police are monitoring a neighborhood as they deem necessary without receiving local input. According to Lando, it’s important to realize that criminalizing issues like addiction, mental health problems, and homelessness won’t make them go away.
“It’s not something we can stay out of,” he said. “We need to have community support for any guidelines we introduce.”
He said the police could benefit from working with trained civilian partners.
In 2019, Lando and a few colleagues founded DBA Training Solutions, a company separated from their police duties, to provide diversity training to companies. Lando said the idea came about when the Pittsburgh Police Department finished their anti-bias training and private companies started asking the police to train them. That wasn’t something they could ethically do at the city’s time and money, Lando said, so some interested officials formed a separate LLC.
The city’s ethics committee investigated the company and gave them the green light to continue as long as they followed certain guidelines, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. Lando said his business associates were aware that if he got the job at Frederick, he would be leaving his DBA responsibilities behind and maybe teaching a rare class in his spare time.
Lando is passionate about working with young people. In Pittsburgh, he helped develop a youth liaison program to bridge the police-youth gap. Lando said he would like to see something similar in Frederick. He volunteers in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bigs in Blue program in Pittsburgh and serves as the “big brother” of a 12-year-old named Jayden.
Growing up, Lando had no shortage of brothers. He has one brother and five stepbrothers. His mother fondly reminds him of the days when he chased his younger brother around with a pair of toy handcuffs. He said growing up near a police station brought him into the civil service.
Before he became a police officer, Lando volunteered as a paramedic with a local ambulance service. He also served as a flight medic before turning to police work.
“I knew I wanted to be a cop since I was a little kid,” Lando said, but he didn’t always want to be the boss.
Over the years, Lando said he’s had great and less great bosses. Based on this experience, he decided that he wanted the chance to lead and hopefully make a difference.
Background checks are ongoing for the Chief of Police’s candidates. The mayor is expected to announce his election in early February, which will then be voted on by the Board of Aldermen.
Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller