Lieutenant Patrick McLaughlin takes control in Team 5
When asked about his favorite part of the job, City of Charleston Police Lieutenant Patrick McLaughlin knew the answer at once.
“I love when little kids run up and give me a high-five,” he said with a smile. “It’s great that they still hold police officers in that and they’re excited to see (us). Because that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re there to help, we want people to look up to us and trust us.”
Lt. McLaughlin is the new commanding officer of CPD’s Team 5, which oversees Daniel Island and the Cainhoy area. He replaces Lt. James Byrne, who, after serving in the post for four years, was recently re-assigned to Team 9 in downtown Charleston’s business district.
McLaughlin’s move to head up police operations on Daniel Island is the latest in a 17 year career with CPD.
“I joined back in 2002 right out of college,” McLaughlin said. “I had always wanted to be a police officer. My dad was a police officer, and both my grandparents, so that was something I knew I wanted to do.”
As a student at the College of Charleston, McLaughlin studied sociology and criminal justice, “the study of people,” as he puts it. Upon graduating, the lieutenant realized that he didn’t want to leave the Holy City and almost immediately joined the police department.
“I’m sure it’s a cliché, but I wanted to help people,” McLaughlin said, about his decision to join CPD. “I wanted to be out there in the community helping people.”
The officer went through a couple ranks in the aughts, becoming a sergeant in 2009. As the accreditation manager for the department, McLaughlin presided over two “Accreditations with Excellence.”
Alongside the accreditation, the officer cites two encounters in the field as his favorite personal accomplishments with CPD.
“There’s some personal stories from catching someone who was about to rob a store—that was a very good achievement in my life,” he continued. “Another time I found a gun after a violent crime, made sure no kid grabbed it because it was right in an apartment complex.”
Just like his move to sergeant, McLaughlin put in for lieutenant because he wanted to expand the scope of his work.
“After being a supervisor and doing a variety of things in the department, both patrol supervision and inside stuff with accreditation, I wanted to try and make a difference on a larger scale,” McLaughlin stated.
During his tenure in Team 5, the new lieutenant wants to prepare for the Daniel Island and Cainhoy area’s future.
“One of the biggest things I would like to accomplish is to try and get more personnel, try to get more individuals out here. The more the area gets built up, the more businesses there are, the more residents there are, the more we’re going to need more of a police presence,” he described. “Obviously, it’s not going to grow and be one of the biggest teams, when you look at the rest of the police department, but I would like to try and expand Team 5 over the next two, three, five years.”
“I’m very happy and feeling blessed at the opportunity and looking forward to doing everything I can,” added McLaughlin.