STB: Officer Jeremy Leithoff balances his love of policing and preaching

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- For Officer Jeremy Leithoff, law enforcement runs in his blood.

"I grew up in a police officers home," Leithoff said. "Surrounded by cops, hanging out with them and just fell in love with the work they do."

His father retired from the Junction City Police Department. Now, Leithoff patrols the halls of Topeka Public Schools.

"I try to make it to all the elementary schools throughout the week, because those are the guys who don't have officers," Leithoff said. "I check in with them and see how they're doing."

While Leithoff preaches order in class, in his off-time, he actually preaches. Leithoff is the Lead Pastor at Maranatha Baptist Fellowship, where he started as the youth pastor in 2009.

"One helps with the other," Leithoff said. "Being a police officer allows me to be a really good pastor and a really good husband and father, and then being a really good father allows me to be a really good pastor and police officer. I think they all kind of work together."

He said that law enforcement has changed over time, and now instead of just putting people in jail, you try to help them as well.

Leithoff's passion for pastoral work started as a student at Pittsburg State. He later earned a Master's Degree in Christian Education from a Kansas City seminary.

"It was just kind of a god thing every step of the way," Leithoff said. "He cleared the path and allowed things to happen."

"It allows him an opportunity to listen very well to young children and to try and work with them," Ron Brown, Director of School Safety, said. "He's a tremendous mentor for our young people and hes always very patient and very kind to everyone that he deals with."

Being able to balance two jobs with different descriptions is a challenge, but he said it is worth it.

"I'm kind of a big kid at heart," Leithoff said. "I enjoy connecting with kids and hanging out with them. They're our next generation, not only in the church, but they're our next generation in society. Anything that we can do to help set them up for success in the future is kind of what we want to do."