By Jean Cole
Those who remembered Jim Landers on Wednesday recalled a man who enjoyed his years of service with the Limestone County Sheriff's Department.
Landers, 66, died at home in Rogersville Tuesday. Authorities said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Foul play is not suspected.
"He was extremely loyal and dedicated," said Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, for whom Landers had served for more than 20 years as chief deputy.
"I was shocked and saddened when I learned of his death," Blakely said. "I was really pleased for all the hard work he did at the sheriffs office and his dedication when he worked there."
Funeral arrangements for Landers are pending at Spry Funeral Home in Athens.
Former Decatur Daily reporter Holly Hollman, who is now a grant writer and communications specialist for the city of Athens, remembered this about Landers:
"I was a reporter when Chief Landers still worked with the Sheriff's Department," she said. "I remember the way he would greet me with, "Hey, Holly," in a quiet, country voice whenever I walked by his office or saw him at a crime scene.
"Sheriff Blakely was always good about calling me when there was a murder, even in the middle of the night," she said. "Oftentimes, I would be the only reporter on the scene if it was in the dead of the night. I would quiz an investigator or Coroner Mike West when they would walk by me. If Chief Landers walked by, he would always respond, "I'm going to leave the questions to the boss, meaning Sheriff Blakely." Sometimes he took pity on me and would come back and give me some information.
"The most he ever talked to me was when I interviewed him about his retirement," Hollman said. "He was initially reluctant to open up about his memories, but eventually had fun recalling his years in law enforcement."
Among the memories Chief Landers shared from his service with the Sheriff's Department were:
• How he and Sheriff Blakely would sometimes argue so loud that employees would scatter;
• Answering calls in the middle of the night;
• Drinking coffee in the break room and discussing with his staff about the previous night's events;
• Riding his tractor to forget about the wrecks or crime scenes where children were killed
Before entering law-enforcement, Landers attended East Limestone High School, Athens State University and Faulkner University. A former Rogersville police chief, he had served full-time in the Alabama National Guard before coming to work for the Sheriff's Department. He retired from the Guard in 1991 and from the Sheriff's Department in 2006. More recently, Landers served as a Rogersville Town Councilman and was currently in his second term.