From Cody Telep. Follow him on Twitter @codywt, email him at cody[AT]borderstan.com.
Welcome to another of our occasional profiles of Borderstan People — interesting and sometimes even well-known people who happen to work or live in the Dupont-Logan-U Street area. Today’s profile Q&A is with Derek Larsen, the new Police Service Area (PSA) 308 Lieutenant for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). PSA 308 includes the very eastern part of the Borderstan area. (See New Police Service Areas Take Effect January 1)
PSA 308 covers S Street NW down to Mount Vernon Place NW and New York Avenue NW between 9th Street NW and New Jersey Avenue NW. The area from Mount Vernon Place NW up to S Street NW between 7th Street NW and 9th Street NW falls within the boundaries of Borderstan.
This is the fifth in our series of profiles of MPD personnel who work in Borderstan. Our first police profile was of Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief in charge of the Patrol Services and School Security Bureau. Our second profile was of Third District Commander Jacob Kishter and our third profile was of Second District Commander Michael Reese. Our fourth profile was of PSA 307 Lieutenant Jeffery Carroll on October 15.
Borderstan: First, a little bit about your personal background. Where did you grow up? When did you decide you wanted to be a police officer?
Larsen: I was born and raised in D.C. I grew up in the 1300 block of Tuckerman Street NW where I lived for 21 years. I graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School Class of 1985. I began working for the D.C. Government as a temporary summer employee while attending Wilson. Upon graduation I began working for the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles while attending the University of Maryland in the evenings. I went on a ride along with my best friend’s sister who was assigned to the Second District and knew that this was the career for me. Once I turned 21 I applied to MPD and the rest was history. That was 24 years ago.
Borderstan: When did you join the MPD? Were you an officer at another law enforcement agency?
Larsen: I joined MPD on March 27, 1989. I have never worked for any another law enforcement agency.
Borderstan: What positions have you held in the MPD? How long have you served in the Borderstan area?
Larsen: I have been assigned to the Seventh District, the Third District as a Sergeant and Mobile Force. For the past five years I was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division. I have only worked in the Borderstan area for a few weeks now.
Borderstan: What’s the most rewarding part of your job… your years as an officer in DC?
Larsen: Implementing crime preventing programs in which the citizens and officers work together and you can see the fruits of your efforts.
Borderstan: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Larsen: Dealing with the “Revolving Door.” Repeat offenders are a major problem for law enforcement.
Borderstan: What does a “typical” day entail?
Larsen: Reviewing crime stats, attending roll calls, responding to emails and going out on patrol with my officers.
Borderstan: What recommendations or tips do you have for citizens to help them stay safe? What can citizens do to become more involved in MPD’s efforts?
Larsen: Stay vigilant. Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid talking on cell phones whenever possible. Secure your vehicles and don’t leave expensive items in them. Get to know your neighbors — not just the ones who live next door to you but the ones who live across the street and behind you. Know each other’s work schedules and vacation plans. Attend the monthly PSA meetings and check the listserv on a regular basis.
Borderstan: Anything else you would like to share with the readers of Borderstan about your life or working in MPD?
Larsen: I look forward to meeting and working with the citizens of the Borderstan area in an effort to help build a model community.