J.J. Launderville followed in her father's law enforcement footsteps.
The daughter of Sandy and Gary Launderville, J.J. is a 1998 Alta High School graduate. She just celebrated her one-year anniversary as a police officer for the City of Carroll and recently completed 13 weeks of training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Dad Gary has been with the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department for 26 years; his name will be the lone name on the ballot for Buena Vista County Sheriff Nov. 4.
"When I was growing up, I was always interested in my dad's job," J.J. said. "I'd always ask questions, although he could never tell me much, but I thought it was neat the way he helped people. I always wanted to be like him."
She also has memories of herand her sister Ashley playing with the handcuffs when they were young (without permission) and not being able to get them off without telling dad.
When she graduated from high school, J.J. went off to Buena Vista University and earned a degree in criminal justice. She was thrilled to land a job as a police officer in Carroll. She is also sure she made the right career choice.
"I absolutely love it; it's perfect. Dad tried talking me out of it, because of all the stress, but to me, that (stress) had to be expected."
Her college work prepared her for the statistical side of the career.
She had the opportunity to learn the ropes of the job of a police officer and got to know the city by working with the police officers on the force. She learned a great deal more about the job when taking part in the law enforcement academy which allowed for more specialized training including training in fire arms and street work.
When she completed her 13 weeks at the academy, she and the others went through a "badge-pinning" ceremony.
"It's a pretty special moment and usually someone who has been influential in the life of the graduate is picked to pin the badge on. I chose dad," J.J. said.
Her parents couldn't be prouder of her and support her decisions.
Statistically, men dominate in the career numbers. In the past, women had a difficult time breaking into the world of law enforcement. When women finally were given the opportunity, as a result of federal law mandating equal opportunity regardless of gender or race, to perform general police work and serve on patrol, they demonstrated their fitness for police work. Almost all of the past research on women police has focused on the capabilities of women to perform police work; virtually all conclude that women, indeed, do have such ability. This capacity includes physical as well as mental and emotional fitness. Many women police officers are still not accepted by their male co-workers.
J.J. hasn't run into problems. She is dedicated to her job and the public's safety and she is prepared to do what is necessary.
J.J.'s position on the police force allows her to be involved in every facet of the police officer's job. "I help cover the whole city and go from minor traffic accidents to big things. We cover everything."
She admits there is a great deal of stress, as she was told by her dad and as she expected there would be.
"Every day when I'm getting dressed for work I wonder what the day will bring. I never know what to expect; every call is different but I like the change of pace."
Ironically, J.J.'s chief is Jeff Cayler, who grew up in Storm Lake. Also on the police force is Brad Burke, son of Tim and Mary Burke, Storm Lake.
It's a small world, she stated.
J.J. is quite happy with the way her career has begun.
"Right now, working in a city this size is perfect. It's a good place to start."
Eventually, when she has more experience under her (gun) belt, she may move on to a larger area.