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New officer joins Langley force

Langley has a new police officer. If you are looking for her, you can’t miss her.

At 6 feet, 2 inches, Officer Laura Price is the newest – and tallest — member of the Langley Police Department. A recent graduate of the state’s police academy, Price fills a hole in the department left nearly a year ago when Officer Chris White resigned.

Her face is not unfamiliar on the streets of Langley. A reserve officer with the Island County Sheriff’s Office since 1999, Price was hired full time by the city of Langley last spring. She worked with department officers for several weeks as a trainee before starting five months of academy training in Burien.

On the job for the first time as a professional officer, the 37-year-old Price said she is fulfilling a lifelong dream. Though she made her career at one time in real estate property management and at another in retail management, she said she has always had the nagging urge to be a police officer. In 1999 — five years after she moved to Whidbey Island as a single mother — she quit her job as a store manager in Oak Harbor to become a jailer at the Oak Harbor jail. She also signed on with the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy.

That was the first step.

“I thought back and realized law enforcement was something I wanted to do,” she said.

When an advertisement for a police officer’s position in Langley appeared late last year, Price knew she had found her dream job and dream lifestyle. Though she has lived in Oak Harbor since moving to the island from California, she has steadily gravitated toward South Whidbey. Now, she and her husband, Marc, are planning to move from their home in Coupeville to the Langley area.

“The longer I’ve been here, the more I’ve wanted to move south,” she said.

Training to become an officer fulfilled another part of her ambition. She said the five months she spent at the police academy were tough. In a class of 32 that set a number of academic and skills records, she said she felt pushed to learn her job well. That was fine with her.

“I’m the type of person who likes challenges,” she said.

Still new to the Langley department, Price has about two weeks of field training left before she works her shifts without supervision. She is also getting to know the people of Langley. The key to doing her job well, she said, will be the relationships she builds, especially those with the city’s children.

“I’m building a relationship with them so we can get along,” she said.

The police department has put a good deal of time, money and energy into its contact with local youth, including regular visits to Langley Middle School and after-school patrols in downtown Langley. Price said she looks forward to that duty.

“I think the kids are going to be the most fun part,” she said.

Langley Police Chief Bob Herzberg said Price was his top choice during the city’s officer hiring process. After a year of running his officers on overtime due to the hole in department’s roster, he said he is pleased to have Price on duty.

The extra cost of training Price and running the department shorthanded since last year totaled about $18,000.

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