Saturday, September 23, 2023

Getting to know your neighborhood cop: Master Police Officer Alan McDowell, Jr.

Alan McDowell Jr. (Courtesy photo/JCC PD)
Alan McDowell, Jr. (Courtesy photo/JCC PD)

Editor’s note: This is the third installment of a five-part question and answer series with James City County’s five Community Services Unit officers. These officers are assigned to certain areas of the county and work directly with citizens to provide business and home inspections, as well as other services.

What zone do you work in and what areas does it cover?

Zone 4, including all of Monticello Avenue, Williamsburg National and Ford’s Colony gofl courses, WindsorMeade Marketplace, Indigo Terrace and more.

What do you like about working in that area?

“I like the diversity between businesses and the residential population. Working with residents is great, but I like helping various businesses with crime prevention as well. The other nice part is that I can help businesses and the public connect. We don’t go out and promote businesses, but if I have a race happening in New Town for a charitable organization, I can get that out to the public and be there.”

What’s your favorite food?

“I don’t have a particular favorite food. I like Asian food and Italian food. And typical American cuisine. I recently went to a Brazilian-style steakhouse, and that was very, very good.”

What’s your favorite animal and why?

“I grew up with dogs. We had beagles in the house. They’re full of energy, faithful, loving and pretty cool to be around.”

Do you have any pets?

No pets currently. The family recently lost their dog, but hope to get another one soon.

Where are you from?

“I’m from Richmond. The job brought me here. I was going to college and just got out, and was looking at police departments and actually volunteering with Richmond Police. James City County was the first one to offer me the job.”

If you could take a trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

“Someplace tropical. We went to St. Thomas several years ago. I like that. The Bahamas, any place tropical.”

What do you like to do when you’re off-duty?

“I like to spend time with my family and visit my dad. We hang out, take trips, like small weekend trips to places. I also like hanging out and doing stuff around the house.”

What’s a crime prevention tip you want people to know?

“The biggest one is just locking their doors. Make sure you don’t have valuables laying out in the open. I’ve had people tell me they don’t lock their doors because they don’t want their windows broken. But it’s simple in my experience: People break windows when they see something in the car they want to steal. If you don’t leave things out in the open and lock your doors, the chances of your car getting broken into are extremely thin.”

What’s a program or service that the department offers that you wish more people knew about and/or utilized?

“We do this program called RAD [Rape Aggression Defense System] that’s a women’s self-defense program. It’s actually a private company’s program that’s in other countries and throughout the U.S. James City County teaches it for free – that’s why I like it so much.

“We also do home and business security assessments. People don’t have to already be victims of crimes to prevent break ins from happening.”

Go to the James City County Community Services Unit website to see the map of officers’ zones.

Did you miss our other community cop stories?

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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