Mountlake Terrace Police Commander Doug Hansen may have retired, but you won’t find him sitting in a quiet boat fishing anytime soon.
With the interior of his home in the middle of a remodel, the 38-year police veteran is keeping busy.
“My wife had a ‘honey-do-list’ ready,” he said. “So, I’m working.”
On April 5, Hansen retired from his position at the Mountlake Terrace Police Department, where he served the longest of any police officer in Mountlake Terrace history.
Hansen began his career with the department in 1981, working as a reserve police officer. In July of that year, shortly after finishing his entrance tests and ready to prove himself, Hansen applied for the recently-vacated position of animal control officer. By February of 1982, Hansen was a fully commissioned police officer of Mountlake Terrace, where he would continue to serve his entire career.
“It was an incredibly good time,” he said of his timing when joining the department.
Though Hansen admitted that as a child he wanted to become a police officer, he dismissed the idea as he got older.
“You dream about doing this stuff, but you never realize where it’s going to take you in life,” he said.
While pursuing his aspirations of “becoming a millionaire” selling insurance, Hansen began to reconsider his career options after spending a day with a friend who was already working for Mountlake Terrace PD. During a police ride-along, Hansen witnessed the wreckage of a fatal car crash as well as a bank robbery and decided to revisit his childhood dream.
However, he had one obstacle to overcome — a haircut. After walking into the police station with long hair and a beard, Hansen said his inquiry about employment was initially met with laughter from the police chief at the time.
“He said, ‘Here’s something you need to think about — come back with a haircut like you’re serious and we’ll talk,’” he recalled.
One high-and-tight haircut later, Hansen was ready to join the department.
During his department career, Hansen said one of the most memorable experiences was working as a D.A.R.E. officer at local schools in the late 80s. The drug-prevention program was a new concept at the time, and assuming the role of a classroom educator left Hansen with a newfound respect for teachers, he said.
“Working side by side with other people who have that teaching career was eye opening,” he said.
During his time as a D.A.R.E. officer, Hansen spent half a year instructing Everett police on the program before he was selected to teach at the Criminal Justice Training Center — a state police training academy in Burien. In 1990, while teaching at the police academy, Hansen was promoted to academy sergeant and then to commander, a position he filled for more than three years.
“It was a rare opportunity,” he said.
In 2014, Hansen had the chance to attend the FBI National Academy and run the academy’s famous “Yellow Brick Road” obstacle course, which fewer than 1 percent of the nation’s police officer’s get to do. The run is a 6.1-mile fitness challenge through a hilly, wooded area built by Marines.
Since 2000, Hansen has also served as a part-time police chief of the Town of Woodway, a job he will continue to do.
However, for the most part, the former commander said he is ready to spend more time enjoying hobbies like traveling and photography. Not that work ever got in the way of Hansen’s wanderlust, which has taken him to places like Australia, French Polynesia, Machu Picchu and Peru, to name a few.
Like his desire to become a police officer, Hansen said his passion for seeing the world began as a child, reading National Geographic magazines cover to cover at his grandparents’ house. After graduating high school, Hansen moved to New Zealand for two years to work as a missionary.
“You think your world is it,” he said. “Then you go to a foreign country and you suddenly realize the world is a big place. It kind of helps shape a more open-minded view.”
Hansen chronicles his travels on TripAdvisor, which shows he has traveled 886,000 miles and he isn’t close to being done. In six weeks, he and his wife Michelle will be traveling to Greece. He also plans to go to Russia and Norway, and to revisit Iceland.
–Story by Cody Sexton