There are three words Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis says guide his life: God, discipline and respect.
“God, because you’ve got to figure out if something’s bigger than you,” Landis said. “Discipline is doing the right thing when no one is watching. And respect, respect yourself and respect others.
“If you respect yourself, there’s just some places you can’t go. There are just some things you can’t do,” he said. “If you respect others, you’ve got to think about things from their perspective, which might cause you to pause from being so harsh in the way you judge people.”
Landis took over the lead role at the Carlisle Police Department at the beginning of March.
He replaces long-time chief Stephen Margeson, who retired from the department a year earlier.
Landis previously spent roughly 30 years with the Tredyffrin Township Police Department in Chester County. He most recently served as a senior lieutenant with the department.
“What I wanted to do was find a place where I could make my mark in law enforcement,” Landis said on coming to Carlisle. “Things have changed in our profession, so I wanted to make my mark.”
Landis, who has held several positions including patrolman, SWAT officer, field training officer, detective, sergeant and senior lieutenant, said over his career the role of policing has changed from the warrior to that of a guardian.
“When I started in policing, we were the warriors and we were out there to fight crime,” he said. “… Now, we’re like the guardian. We fight for the people can’t fight for themselves.
“As a guardian, we guard the rights of everyone,” he said. “For example, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will work hard to protect your right to say it.”
Landis highlighted the need for building relationships between police and the community they serve.
He said he hoped to get more officers on bike patrol, so they can be out interacting with people around Carlisle.
Landis said the department is planning to join the Bigs in Blue program through Big Brothers Big Sisters. The program pairs police officers with youths in the community.
Mechanicsburg Police joined the program in February.
“My goal would be to build trust in the community that you can talk to the police,” Landis said. “I’m looking for input on how to do that. … We can’t be everywhere. We can’t see everything without community involvement. It’s a ‘we’ thing. It’s our community.”