McLean’s new police captain Graham McGowen has been on the job for less than two weeks but already has clear goals set in place for the station. McGowen stresses the need for open dialogue with the community and with civic and business organizations.
McGowen has been with the police force for two decades and has had some diverse assignments along the way. His last post was as commander of the Animal Services Division, where he was in charge of all the county animal control staff and the county animal shelter. “In that position you oversee the entire county organization. I had to often deal with the Board of Supervisors. It was rather global in what we did there,” said McGowen.
“My experience in the different positions I’ve held is certainly an asset, as is my ability to work with others to achieve goals,” said McGowen.
He believes his time there will prove invaluable at the McLean station because of the relationships he forged in that position. “It’s helpful in that you get the dialogue down. You can pick up the phone, and now you already have a rapport with the person on the other end,” McGowen said.
He sees his role at the McLean station as being that of a facilitator and coordinator. “At times we’re the first agency called, and we have to direct those people to the services they need,” said McGowen. “It’s a blend of law enforcement, community relations and safety. There’s a host of things we do.”
Dranesville District supervisor Joan DuBois said, “I’ve heard good things about him from other people. Everyone who has worked with him was very happy with him.”
FOR NOW, MCGOWEN’S PRIORITY is meeting with staff and determining the needs of the community. “I know most of the [staff], so having a working background with the administrative staff is helpful. I’m listening to them in terms of areas they feel need to be addressed,” said McGowen. “I don’t believe in coming in and making changes based on personal style,” he said.
“Over time, the goal is to meet with the various organizations in the community,” McGowen added. His first day at the McLean station brought him face to face with members of the Safe Community Coalition (SCC), who were discussing the impact of teenage drinking and how to curb the behavior. “That’s the type of thing I expect to be involved in,” McGowen said.
Jan Auerbach, the SCC president said, “The link with us, the police officers and the schools is a critical one. Having the resource officers in the schools is very important to follow up on tips about parties and being aware of what’s going on. Having good communication is really critical. This has been happening and is a role I’d like to see Capt. McGowen continue.”
DuBois also said that “working with the community is the most important thing he can do.”
When McGowen entered the police force 20 years ago,, his intention was to become a detective, not a police captain. “I’ve been blessed to reach this stage in my career,” said McGowen.
“We’ve had some excellent police captains here in McLean. We’re looking for him to continue that trend,” said DuBois.