Those of us involved with Law Enforcement, in particular policing, understand the impact that having a relative “on the job” may have on one’s own future when it comes to deciding a career path. For many, no second thought is given to entering the force if raised in a police family. I believe that although family tradition does play a role in selecting such a career, following the model of serving others is, by far and away, the main reason we chose a career in policing.
Harold and David Lane are a father and son who reflect such decisions.
Harold was born in the City of Pittsburgh, where his family resided until he was 12 years old, when they moved to the Borough of Castle Shannon about seven miles away. Harold describes his father as “an auto body man” who, through all of his working years, put in an eight hour day and worked on cars in the evening to help pay the bills. His mother was a home maker who kept busy managing the home and raising three children.
He remembers his childhood with fondness reflecting on growing up in that area was fun, due to the neighborhood being comprised of baby boomers with large families and local schools that were all within walking distance. Having so many children in the community, it wasn’t difficult to find things to do.
Though Harold did not have any family members in law enforcement, he says that he enjoyed watching the local officers on daily patrol and over time learned what they did. He viewed the work as a challenging career, and decided that he wanted to give a try. Harold started his law enforcement career in 1971 at the age of 22 when he joined the Castle Shannon Police Borough Department as a Patrol Officer. During his tenure in Castle Shannon he worked as a patrol officer, shift supervisor and in 1992 was promoted to Chief of Police, a rank that he held until his retirement in 2009. In 1988 while working his way up through the ranks of the Department, he entered the Community College of Allegheny County where he received an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a minor in Personnel Administration. From there he continued his studies at Point Park University earning his four year degree in Criminal Justice.
After retiring from the Police Department in 2009, he moved on to work for the Allegheny District Attorney’s Office as an Inspector in the Investigations Unit. Still employed, Harold has been in charge of the Crime Scene Unit, Intelligence Branch and Vehicular Homicide Units. In addition, he reports to the District Attorney addressing issues in high crime areas.
Harold attended National Academy Session 186 from July 3 through September 13, 1996. Of the classes he attended he believes that the Personnel Management and Interrogation classes were two that were most beneficial. Of the fitness portion of the Academy, Harold says “staying in top shape and taking advantage of every part of the Physical Fitness program helped to maintain my motivation and provided a challenge.” In fact, Harold spent much of his free time out and about on the base working on his personal fitness.
Harold did not find being away from home overly challenging because his family understood his passion for the profession and wholly supported him not only during his time at Quantico, but throughout his career. After returning from the Academy Harold became and remains active in the Western PA Chapter.
Harold’s future plans include “. . . resting and enjoying my family.” He feels he has missed a lot of family time due to his career. He and his wife Dawn plan to relax and enjoy their children and grand-children’s successes.
He believes that “It’s a new world for younger people in our profession and I can say that I have been blessed with a great career, many experiences and accomplishments. It will be fairly soon, but you need to get out while you’re on top. To stretch is to gamble.”
David Lane was born and raised in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania; the Borough is a bedroom community of Pittsburgh. It’s a community where older kids and younger kids know each other from participating in local sporting events and school events.
Dave commented that his dad was well liked and respected in the community as a police officer. He loved hearing stories about work from his dad and the other officers in the Department. He knew as he entered High School that he wanted to carry on the tradition and become a police officer, too.
In 1988, Dave enrolled in Allegheny County Community College following his father’s path to earn a degree in Criminal Justice. After graduating, his first police job was as a part-time officer in Port Vue Borough where he worked as a patrol officer. In 1993, with his father as a mentor, Dave was hired by the Castle Shannon Borough Police Department as a patrol officer. In 2001 he was promoted to Sergeant, a rank he held until 2012 when he was promoted to his current rank of Lieutenant.
Throughout his time with Castle Shannon, he has held many positions and performed many different functions. For 18 years he served in the capacity of D.A.R.E. Officer. He has been a bike patrol officer, field training officer, shift supervisor, duty officer, instructor at the police academy, and crisis negotiator for the CIRT team. Currently, he remains as the Department’s Crime Prevention Officer working with children and the business community on community functions throughout the Borough.
Dave and wife Tracie have been together since they were both19 years old and have been married for 22 years. Dave and Tracie have been blessed with two great children, a daughter Elizabeth and son David. They were 14 and 13 at the time Dave attended National Academy Session 245in April through June 2011. Of Tracie Dave says, “She has always encouraged me and supported my decisions in my career. I could not have succeeded in my career without her support and encouragement to become the best I can. It was difficult being away and not involved in the day to day activities of my family, but my wife is an amazing mother.” Dave said that the family was able to get down to Quantico to visit over Easter and were able to tour the Campus, Hogan’s Alley and the Behavioral Science Museum.
Dave attended the first Officer Involved Shooting Training Class that was offered at the National Academy and found the course to be very interesting, due in a large part to the quality of instruction and the officers in the class that shared their own experiences. He also elected to take the Stress Management course finding that it was extremely beneficial, providing him with information and lessons he was able to bring back and pass on to other officers not only within his Department, but other agencies as well. As did his father before him, he felt that the PT classes were exceptional and credits the course for his becoming more knowledgeable about nutrition and the value of that and exercise as they relate keeping a healthy body and mind.
Knowing that he was able to achieve his goal of graduating and watching the other session members walk across the stage was a testament to the hard work and achievement that he, his session mates, and their families sacrificed for 10 weeks. As anyone who graduates from the National Academy will agree, Dave values the network and friendships that were developed during the time at Quantico. The many contacts made through the National Academy Associates Network continually benefit his agency and officers with throughout the region. The connections open doors and lines of communication with officers and agencies all over the world. Dave encourages other officers to attend the National Academy. Understanding that this is the highest level of training and achievement that anyone can get in law enforcement, he’s quick to tell others about the experience.
Once Dave returned home from Quantico he immediately became active in the Western PA Chapter, serving as Chapter Vice President from 2015 through 2016, and Chapter President from 2017 through 2018. He will remain on the Western PA Chapter Board from 2019-2020 and plans to remain active in the chapter once no longer on the board.
With seven years to go until retirement, he has not started a search for a possible job or career after law enforcement. He thinks he would prefer to work in the private sector away from law enforcement once able to retire. Wherever he goes he is “. . . looking forward to living a happy and healthy life with my wife and family.”