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New Langley cop committed to ‘small-town’ ethos

Luke Adkins swears in at Langley City Hall as the newest officer in the Langley Police Department on May 5.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Luke Adkins swears in at Langley City Hall as the newest officer in the Langley Police Department on May 5.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Langley’s newest police officer is a fresh face, albeit a bit familiar.

Mayor Fred McCarthy officially commissioned Lucas Adkins — who insists on being called Luke— as the city’s fourth full-time officer at Monday’s city council meeting. Having served the seaside town for the past three months — after McCarthy recommended the city go to three officers and a chief based on a three-month review of the department — Adkins said he is familiar with how things run and the expectations of community policing.

“I just enjoy the small-town atmosphere in law enforcement, a place where people can approach you by first name,” said Adkins, 25, in a phone interview before the commissioning.

“I’m already starting to get those connections where people are comfortable coming up talking to me, calling me by my first name,” he added, referring to his experience as a reserve officer in Langley.

Adkins previously worked as a reserve and then a provisional officer for the Island County Sheriff’s Office mainly on Camano Island. It was his first job out of the academy. Since then, Adkins has already made his presence felt. He recently made a traffic stop on Sandy Point Road and wrote a search warrant of a vehicle which yielded “a decent quantity of methamphetamine and heroin” and drug paraphernalia.

“He’s 25 years old and he’s already writing his own search warrants,” said Dave Marks, the city’s acting police chief, who selected Adkins from three finalists approved by a city-appointed board. “That’s incredible.”

Four applicants for the job passed the agility and written tests. Three finished with high marks from an oral exam administered by the city-appointed board of residents and city staff. The final decision was made by Marks, who said a large part of the choice was based on Adkins’ likability.

“We had some really good candidates,” Marks said. “Honestly, I could have put their names on a wall, closed my eyes and thrown a dart. They were all really good.”

“He’s somebody you’d want to hang out with and want to be around,” Marks added. “That’s a factor because it’s a small department. I think he’s somebody we’ll all enjoy working with.”

Adkins will patrol the city for the next five months. But starting in October, he will spend six months attending the Washington State Patrol academy in Burien, south of Seattle. He previously attended a reserve officer academy.

Part of his duties for the past three months was acting as a law enforcement presence in the South Whidbey School District. When the police department last had four officers under former chief Randy Heston, his vision was to implement a resource officer program in the schools as a way for young people to become familiar with the cops, and likewise for the officers to know the children. Being in the schools is a joy for Adkins, he said.

“It’s funny because when I first started going in there, you could tell everybody was on edge, wondering why a cop was in the school,” he said. “Now, kids are approaching me, saying hi.”

 

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