Schwartz Shows Street Smarts
Thursday, October 13, 2005
From time to time, the Record will profile the staff of the Georgetown Police Department in order to introduce its members to the community. Here is the latest in that series. This week's profile features Patrolman Harry Schwartz.
If you should ever have the urge to give Officer Harold Schwartz a little good-natured ribbing for being a Harvard man, you wouldn't be alone. He gets it all the time.
"I've heard it everywhere I've ever been," chuckles Schwartz. "I have a lot of people ask me why I want to be a police officer if I went to Harvard, but I don't think one has to do with the other. It doesn't matter what school it is you go to. I just happened to get in there."
That may be true, but Schwartz admits that even he never quite envisioned himself as a Georgetown police officer when he was studying natural science at Harvard University in the late '80s and early '90s. Nevertheless, the 45-year-old Schwartz says he's exactly where he wants to be in life, living out a dream that he didn't always think would come true.
"I've always wanted to do this," says Schwartz, who has been with the Georgetown Police for just about a year. "I've always been fascinated by law enforcement. I figured this was the last chance I'll ever have to see if I could do what I really wanted to do and I wasn't going to blow it."
Schwartz, who lives in Ipswich with his wife of 20 years Mary and his 14-year-old son Matt, certainly wasn't thinking about a career in law enforcement when he was working as a longtime paramedic. Assuming he would continue to work in emergency medical services and eventually work his way up to management, Schwartz was thrown a curve when an on-the-job back injury threw his career path off course. After many years of difficult and painful rehabilitation, Schwartz ultimately decided to pursue law enforcement.
"I know it's a cliché to say you want to help people, but that's really what it is," says Schwartz. "I love being a part of the team and I love working with people."
Being an officer in Georgetown, Schwartz says, is doubly rewarding for him because he had heard such positive things about the department coming into the job. He credits the professionalism of Georgetown Police Chief James Mulligan and his fellow officers with setting the tone in the department, thus making his job infinitely more enjoyable.
"The thing that attracted me to Georgetown was the reputation of the department, including each individual officer," says Schwartz. "I was trained by some of the best guys on the department. Everyone's real supportive and it's just an excellent department to work for. I think the town should be really proud of it."
Naturally, Chief Mulligan thinks pretty highly of Schwartz too.
"(Schwartz) has brought a level of enthusiasm and professionalism to the agency that we really admire," says Mulligan. "His passion for being a police officer really shows in everything he does."
It's a passion that hasn't even begun to diminish for Schwartz. In fact, after a year on the job, he says he is as enthralled as ever with police work and has a newfound respect for just the everyday grind in a police officer's day.
Even in a so-called sleepy community like Georgetown, Schwartz says people would be amazed at just how busy his average day can be.
"The amount of drunk driving that goes on collectively, and not just in Georgetown, is disgusting," says Schwartz. "I think that's the biggest thing that sticks out in my mind.
People think that just because Georgetown is a rural community that we don't have any crime," Schwartz continues. "It doesn't lack crime and it doesn't lack serious crime either. I think that's one of the biggest misconceptions out there."
Still, Schwartz says he's constantly learning on the job and each and every day presents new personal challenges for him. And it's not easy to challenge a Harvard man.
"I really don't see myself anywhere other than where I am right now," says Schwartz. "I'm still so new and I have so much to learn. I really see myself staying here and being a part of the team for as long as I can."
This article originally appeared in the Georgetown Record on Thursday October 13, 2005 , By Joel Beck/ firstname.lastname@example.org