He's been on the hostage negotiation team, worked on a drug and violence interdiction team, worked at the 911 emergency call center, and most recently commanded the Internal Affairs Division.
On Monday, Oct. 22, Capt. Douglas Irwin assumed command of the Wilkens Precinct, which is covers a diverse swath of southwest Baltimore County, encompassing Catonsville, Arbutus, Halethorpe, Lansdowne and Baltimore Highlands.
Patch: What is it like to have command of a precinct? Do you feel like you've found a home here?
Irwin: It's every captain's aspiration to be a precinct commander. Patrolling is the absolute backbone and skeleton of the police department. Without that, the whole shooting match falls. To be in command of a hundred or so personnel in your own facility, to be the absolute tip of the spear—we're the first on the scene, the first to be called when people are in trouble—that's neat. There's no other way of putting it. There's a lot of responsibility. But anybody who has aspirations of being a commander would want to be a precinct commander.
Patch: Do you have a sense of what this community is like yet?
Irwin: No. Straight up. I've worked in almost every precinct throughout my career. Wilkens precinct is not one I'm familiar with. I've worked in Woodlawn, Precinct 3, Precinct 4, 6 and 8. I had the east side as a burglary detective, so I worked in Towson and then through White Marsh, Essex and Dundalk. So no, I haven't had a chance. But it's my third day. I'll figure it out. I'll get around.
Patch: Do you have a idea of what your priorities will be?
Irwin: I can answer that very simply: crime. I am interested in fighting crime, preventing crime, arresting those who commit crime, and making sure that people aren't scared about crime. I don't people to feel stifled because they're afraid to go outside after dark, or stifled thinking that there is a sex offender in their neighborhood.
The number one focus for me right now is crime. There's no other way of putting it.
Patch: Do you have any thoughts about new initiatives you may undertake?
Irwin: No, I'll get in look at what I have. Capt. Spiroff left me a turnkey operation, so I'm not going to look to change anything dramatically right out of the gate. In ninety days or so? Sure, I may change a thing or two here and there. As it stands right now, I'm going to look and learn. I have talented, smart people working here. I have to figure out what I have here first, and then adjust it. I don't have any grand plan right out of the gate.
Patch: If you have a tenure comparable to Capt. Spiroff, you're likely to be in command when a new precinct station is built. This is quite an old building. Is this something you've thought about?
Irwin: Of course, we would like to get a new facility for a variety of reasons. We have other things at hand right now. This building can do what it needs to do—we can house prisoners, we can give officers a place to investigate crime, we have a place to keep patrol cars. So we have what we need for now. A new building would be awesome. But money is tight right now. As things stand, the roof here isn't falling in. We can make this work for a few more years.