CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) -The term “Blue Bloods” often refers to people who come from a family in law enforcement and continue in the “family trade.” In Pemiscot County, there’s a very good chance one family will see a third generation ready to protect and serve.
"So, I was 4,5,6 years old."
Jon Pruiett remembers meeting his grandmother's neighbors, two police officers, and wanting to be just like them.
“They would let me get in the police car,” Pruiett recalled. “Turn on the lights and siren.”
A present on his 6th birthday from another neighbor, a dispatcher for the local sheriff, sealed the deal.
"And it was just a worn-out tie tack that said 'Sheriff' on it. I still have that tie tack 44 years later."
And now, Lieutenant Jon Pruiett of the Missouri State Highway Patrol has a 21-year-old son with a keepsake of his own.
“My badge number is the same as my dad’s when he was a deputy at Pemiscot County back years ago,” said Deputy Landon Pruiett.
Jon admitted he had a little something to do with his son carrying badge number 3702. He also had a whole lot to do with his son following in his footsteps.
“As far back as I remember, I wanted to be a police officer,” Landon said.
So much so, Pruiett had one of his uniform shirts tailored to fit his son, as seen in this 2006 photo from a local Christmas parade.
“I remember taking that picture specifically, actually,” Landon said.
How did he feel?
"It was great. We were in an older patrol car. And I really enjoyed it."
Landon graduated from the academy this past summer. When he turned 21, he celebrated by taking the post exam and becoming a road deputy.
“It was less than a week later,” he said.
The elder Pruiett worked for the drug task force as a sheriff’s deputy, and as an accident reconstructionist for the highway patrol. Two dangerous assignments. With that in mind, he said he tried to convince his son to choose a different career, knowing full well it wouldn’t work.
“For years that’s what he’s talked about,” Jon Pruiett said. “And what he wanted to do. And so I just think he can rely on his training and his knowledge and ability. And, as I did, just do the best thing you can to make people safe. Make yourself safe.”
Landon said he can also rely on his father’s experience.
“There’s definitely a few times that things have happened and I’ve just not had the answer,” Landon admitted. “And I feel more comfortable asking him things. Questions that I know he knows because he’s been through it all already a thousand times, so.”
And while it’s clear this veteran trooper trusts this rookie deputy, the father can’t help but worry just a bit about his son. Jon recalled the first time he saw his son doing his job, conducting a traffic stop in their home county.
"As a trooper, I would have thought he has this under control. But it was that dad saying, well maybe he needs some more advice. But, it all worked out."
And it certainly looks like the Pruiett family tradition of public service will continue well into the next generation. Jon showed me pictures of his three grandsons, Jax, Jett and Layne. All three boys can be seen in child-sized uniforms, huge smiles on their little faces. And as any officer will tell you, that sense of family doesn’t just come from having the same last name.
“I think we’re all pretty close,” Landon said of his fellow officers. “Everyone is kind of a family. We all have, I guess you could say, the blue blood that kind of runs between all of us that keeps us together.”