When Walter “Pete” Landon moved to Queenstown in 1978 to attend Chesapeake College, he traveled a bit further than his classmates arriving from Crumpton, Claiborne, or Cambridge. The 16-year old freshman ventured to Maryland from Montreal Canada where he had attended high school to enroll in Chesapeake’s criminal justice program.
Awarded an A.A. in Law Enforcement, Landon transferred to Towson and earned his B.S. in Criminal Justice. After two years as a Greensboro police officer, and 30 years with the Maryland State Police, Pete's career has taken a turn.
Today, “Pete” (as he’s widely known) serves as Maryland’s Homeland Safety Chief. Citing a “lifetime of experience in field operations, support services, emergency management, drug interdiction and criminal investigation,” Landon was appointed to the state’s top security post by Governor Larry Hogan in 2015.
A #PeakeProud alumni, Pete lives in Chestertown with his wife Tracye of over 25 years. He has three adult children: daughter Ami who lives in DC and sons JT, Salisbury graduate and resident, and Baker a junior playing lacrosse at Lebanon Valley College.
5 Questions for Pete Landon
Q: Do you have a “standout” moment or memory from your time at Chesapeake?
A: I was a sixteen year-old moving from a different country to a place that I assumed to be closed to outsiders. I could not have been more wrong and was accepted by professors, staff and students. I also played varsity soccer and lacrosse that left me with many fond memories and stories keep getting better the older I get!
Q: Who was your favorite instructor at Chesapeake?
A: While I had many favorites, I would have to give an edge to Bill Seth. Dean Seth practiced the “Golden Rule.” He always treated us the way that he would like to be treated. This taught me a life lesson that I have used my entire life and in my career as a Maryland State Trooper.
Q: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
A: Easton attorney (and Chesapeake instructor) Frank Mason once explained that in law enforcement - regardless of the alleged suspect’s crime, gender or ethnicity – everyone has the right to fair, impartial and just treatment at all times. He furthered that you are usually dealing with someone at the worst time of their lives, and you do not need to make matters worse. In my career I have always strived to ensure that I lived by this credo and it has served me very well.
Q: What one technology do you regularly use or rely on that you wish was available when you were at Chesapeake? How would it have enhanced your experience?
A: I would have enjoyed using a tablet during my time at Chesapeake. Used both in the classroom and as a replacement for textbooks has liberated today’s students from the heavy, back-breaking backpacks that used to be a trademark of college kids everywhere!
Q: Because of my time at Chesapeake …
A: I became the successful, career-oriented person who I am today. It is the place that not only taught me time management, interpersonal and communication skills, it rewarded me for the same with a college degree. Chesapeake formed the basis and knowledge of a job in law enforcement that became my career.