Veterans commonly seek out jobs similar to those held during their military contracts. The four branches offer a wide selection of careers, many of which have civilian parallels, often allowing for a seamless transition to civilian life. Military medics may take up employment in emergency care facilities, aircraft mechanics can pursue jobs in the automotive or aerospace industries, military police and infantrymen can seek out a career in law enforcement. For one former Air Force security forces officer, however, things haven't run quite so smoothly.
Michael James Landen, 38, is in jail for impersonating a police officer. Landen owns and operates a 'security company' called P.O.I.I.C.E., Professional Officers Involved in Community Enhancement. On the company's Facebook page, Landen and his business partner can be seen wearing uniforms identical to those of police officers, standing beside two Ford Crown Victorias (widely used as police interceptor vehicles). According to the company's mission statement, the two "provide a truly unmatched fire/crime prevention service not seen in the current industry.”
The badge Landen wore is an imitation of the style, font, and imagery on real police badges. Like designer handbag imitations that misspell a single letter of the brand name, the badge reads P.O.I.I.C.E. and upon first glance is easily misread as “POLICE.” A 2015 Facebook post by the company reads, "We hire the best our nation and community has to offer. Law Enforcement, First Responders, and Military Veterans. Our CEO is and has been all of the above.” It appears that Landen's career history gave him the impression that he could act with the authority of a state-employed police officer.
Landen was arrested on February 20 when he initiated a traffic stop, complete with flashing lights, on busy Interstate-5. Sheriff John Urquhart witnessed the incident, following Landen and the other driver to the Seneca Street exit. According to Urquhart, Landen fraudulently informed the driver that he was a cop and proceeded to pull a gun on them.
Urquhart further characterized Landen as a danger to the community, with records showing he was “involuntarily committed” while serving in an Air Force security forces squadron. His commanding officer reported that Landen was "no longer... to be armed while serving in his capacity in the USAF.” After Landen was arrested, investigators found a loaded handgun, a taser, and body armor among other items while searching Landen's vehicle. He is currently in police custody and has been charged with criminal impersonation in the first degree and assault in the second degree. The Air Force previously expressed “ongoing concerns of Landen impersonating police officers." It appears he pulled the stunt on many other Washingtonians before being arrested.
While Landen's fraudulent behavior is not a reflection of Washington police forces, it is important to consistently remind citizens that policemen are not infallible, traffic stops are not always justified, and everyone has the right to a skilled lawyer who can scrutinize the validity of their charges. If you face criminal charges in Seattle, contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi as soon as possible for a free consultation of your case.