John Hanlin: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

John Hanlin, Oregon shooting

Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin garnered some headlines of his own in the wake of Thursday afternoon’s tragic shooting in Oregon. (Getty)

John Hanlin has worked for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for over 25 years. The Roseburg, Oregon native grew up in the area. He’s lived there his entire life and, on Thursday morning, his entire life changed.

Hanlin led the emergency response to the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College where Chris Harper Mercer opened fire on Thursday. Mercer killed at least 10 people and wounded 20 more on his shooting spree.

But while Hanlin was focused on the after-effects on the tragedy on the small community, the headlines, instead, focused on his past. Hanlin, who would not say Mercer’s name during his press conferences, had previously fought against a White House push for stricter gun control in the wake of the Newtown school shooting in 2012.

Here’s what you need to know about Hanlin and his decades-long career on the force:

1. Hanlin Refused to Speak the Shooter’s Name During a Press Conference on Thursday

Hanlin held a press conference at 5 p.m. on Thursday evening, nearly eight hours after Chris Harper Mercer first began his on-campus rampage, telling reporters that he believed there were 10 dead, referring to the total as the “best, most accurate information we have at the time.”

However, while Hanlin’s updates of the on-campus situation were the intended focus of the press conference, it was what the sheriff didn’t say that quickly became the headline. Hanlin refused to call Mercer by name, saying:

Let me very clear, I will not name the shooter. I will not give him the credit he probably sought prior to this horrific and cowardly act.

The long-time area sheriff also encouraged reporters “not to glorify and create sensationalism for him. He in no way deserves it.”

2. He was Part of a Group of Sheriffs Who Criticized Gun Control Legislation Following the Shooting in Newtown

John Hanlin, Oregon shooting

Hanlin held a press conference with media members on Thursday evening following the tragic events at an area community college. (Getty)

Two years ago, following the 2012 shooting at the Newtown elementary school, Hanlin was one of hundreds of sheriffs around the country who publicly vowed to stand against new gun control legislation put forth by the Obama administration.

In fact, Hanlin felt so strongly about the legislation that, in January 2013, he wrote to Vice President Joe Biden, saying, “Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings.” Mother Jones was the first to report on the letter on Thursday, publishing the note in its entirety on its website:

Hanlin was also joined in his anger by Linn County, Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller, who said politicians were exploiting the deaths of the innocent to pass laws. The Douglas County Sheriff has taken to social media multiple times in the past few years to express his views on gun control as well, sharing photos and memes such as this one:

3. Hanlin Is Serving His Second Term as the 48th Sheriff of Douglas County

John Hanlin, Oregon shooting

Hanlin first joined the force in 1989 and is currently serving his second term as Douglas County sheriff. (YouTube Screenshot)

Hanlin was elected to his first four-year term as the 48th Sheriff of Douglas County in 2009. In 2012, he ran unopposed and was re-elected. He is currently serving his second term as sheriff.

Throughout the course of his career, Hanlin has attended a handful of specialized law enforcement and law enforcement administration courses. He has partnered with the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards & Training, and the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association.

According to his biography on the Douglas County Sheriff Department’s website, Hanlin is a regular hunter and fisher and frequently explores the local area on his Harley Davidson.

4. He Attended Umpqua Community College

John Hanlin, Oregon shooting, sheriff

Hanlin was once a student at Umpqua Community College himself in the early 1980’s. (Facbeook)

Hanlin’s connection to Umpqua Community College go far beyond that of just a general law enforcement officer and an area school. The Roseburg area native graduated from Glide High School in 1980 and attended the community college as well in the early 1980’s.

In 1983, Hanlin moved to Bend, Oregon to attend Central Oregon College. He graduated from the school in 1986 with an A.S Degree Computer Information Systems. After college, Hanlin worked with the Douglas Forest Protective Association as a Forest Officer and was eventually hired by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in 1989.

5. Hanlin Also Worked on the Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response Team

Although he has worked in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for 25 years, Hanlin’s tenure on the force has been nothing short of expansive. In the past two and a half decades, Hanlin has served as a patrol deputy in the South County and Roseburg Patrol Offices, as a Street Crimes Unit investigator, and as a narcotics detective.

Hanlin was also an active member of the  Sheriff’s Office Tactical Response Team for more than 12 years. The TRT was founded as way to safely enter buildings in hostile situations.

In April 2001 Hanlin was named the Commander of the Douglas Interagency Narcotics Team, a post he held for four years, before being promoted to Lieutenant in 2005 and assigned to command the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Division.




Gun free zone school, I can only wonder aloud that if faculty and students of age were allowed to open carry or conceal carry this may have given this killer second thoughts about coming in and shooting up the place. But when a criminal is going to do criminal things he looks for the weakest victims possible. An unarmed school is a great target for someone of this ilk to latch onto and fantasize about. I find it sick that the shooter here walked around asking the kids their religious beliefs before shooting them as well. That is a sure sign of a demonic possession right there. Oh he was spiritual alright but possessed by an earth dweller spirit. People carry your guns with you where you can, when your told you can’t carry do not go there. What is the point in placing yourself in a situation or place that you have no ability to defend yourself from someone like this. There is no point to it. Get your permits or licenses or required legal documentation to keep your weapons on your hot. This country is coming apart and you need to be prepared to defend yourself from this sort of sickness running rampant around our world.


Oregon public colleges aren’t gun-free zones. They are barred by law from banning them.


Amerika needs more like John. Tall John. He’s as Amerikan as the haters are unAmerikan. John knows guns make Amerikans safe. John knows it’s unconstitutional for a full-blooded Amerikan not to be able to go to klass without being able to defend themselves from evildoers. As every God-fearing Christian knows, Satan is waiting everywhere for wholesome all-Amerikans to drop their guard, exposing themselves to the wickedness & evil of Beelzebub. Thank God the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, has upstanding citizens like Sheriff John to advocate on our behalf. Sheriff John, the people’s friend, protector, & saviour. Good bless you, Tall John. For defending our constitutional right to bear arms, without the bureaucracy of a mental health check, you will be serenaded by the archangels when you enter Heaven. The founding pappas didn’t speak of mental health checks so what right has anyone today to even breathe those words? Taking a gun to work or skool is the Amerikan way; to deny our constitutional & God-given right is to be unAmerikan – & we know what that means: the end of the land of the Free, the Home of the Brave. God bless Amerika.

“Linn County, Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller, who said politicians were exploiting the deaths of the innocent to pass laws” – like the Patriot Act. Spot on, Sheriff Timmy M. Give that man a Purple Heart.


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please show common sense fellow Americans and get this sheriff fired. If Japan could change its constituion to protect American lives then why can’t Americans change their own to protect the public? If people take action such as this then the politicians and people in power will have no choice but to respond to our demands. REMOVE JOHN HANLIN AS SHERRIF NOW,


Thanks for proclaiming your place as an ignorant, illiterate, paranoid, superstitious, knuckle-dragging imbecile, Worried. As a vocal supporter of this hypocritical waste of space (I’ll bet you Sheriff Hanlin isn’t so eager to fight gun legislation now that his own town — and the college he himself attended — has been soaked with the blood of wholly innocent human beings slaughtered by your oh-so-necessary need to facilitate gun ownership), you represent exactly the kind of tiny-dicked thinking that’s dragging our country backward at a rapid pace…and it’s up to the educated, advanced, EVOLVED and compassionate among us to speak out as loudly as possible against your ignorant attempts to create even more annual gun deaths than our shameful track record of leading the WORLD in the same category demonstrates. It won’t be long before your pimping of the Constitution in order to facilitate more killing of innocent men, women, children and babies will be rejected in favor of science, logic, facts and humanity. Now please go drool in front of “Faux” News while crying out about the horrors of our Darkie president (see — I know what makes you happy).

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