Lt. Ken Landwehr saw Wichita at its very worst as the Wichita Police Department’s homicide unit commander for two decades. How lucky for Wichita that Landwehr gave his hometown his very best, leading investigations that brought justice for hundreds of victims’ families.
Landwehr, who died Monday at age 59 of kidney cancer, had been a taciturn local hero before he retired in 2012 after 35 years on the force. History rightly will link him to the BTK serial killer, because of how Landwehr worked the BTK cases in the 1980s and ran the task force that identified and caught Dennis Rader in 2005.
But his greatest legacy for Wichita surely is the example he set for dozens of detectives and other police officers and investigators – about following leads, preserving evidence and scrutinizing details but also about advocating for victims.
“I get a lot of credit for everybody else’s work,” Landwehr once said. But he deserves a lot as well, for having devoted his life to making Wichita safer.