Meet Lt. Matt Wojslawowicz
Lt. Matt Wojslawowicz believes that forming partnerships throughout the Daniel Island and Cainhoy communities is the key in facilitating positive relationships between citizens and the police. As the new commanding officer of the Charleston Police Department’s Team 5, his top priority is to keep Daniel Island safe for all who enjoy the area.
He said, “We reach that goal as a police executive and a police agency by being responsive to all concerns brought forth by the community and building trust between the community and the police.”
He also plans to focus on building and supporting a skilled team of officers who serve as leaders in promoting a secure and thriving community.
When mapping out his career path, Wojslawowicz didn’t initially picture himself in law enforcement. He attended the University of Richmond in Virginia with a vision of becoming a high school history and government teacher.
During his junior year, he realized that he did not want to be confined to a classroom every day. He dropped his secondary education focus and added a minor in criminal justice. An internship with a law enforcement agency sparked his interest in learning more about police work.
Lt. Wojslawowicz explained, “The idea of encountering something new every day at work was something that drew me into policing, and I still enjoy the fact that no two days are identical.”
He has been an officer with the Charleston Police Department since January 2004 and has held a variety of positions, including patrol officer, field training officer, traffic enforcement, and investigations officer.
In 2005, as a very young officer, Wojslawowicz was selected to join a contingent of officers sent to Gulfport, Mississippi, to respond and offer aid during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He was named the Officer of the Year by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety in 2009.
“Being recognized as the top police officer in the entire state is something that I am extremely proud of over a decade later,” noted Wojslawowicz. “The award recognized my efforts in the area of impaired driving enforcement as well as community engagement to bring attention to the issue of impaired driving.”
He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2018 and then served as the Command Duty Officer and as the commander of Special Operations/Traffic before joining Team 5.
On Jan. 11, Lt. Wojslawowicz took the lead at Team 5. He replaced Lt. Patrick McLaughlin, who now serves on Team 2 in downtown Charleston. There are 20 officers assigned to Team 5, providing round-the-clock coverage everyday of the year.
The lieutenant explained that there are a relatively low number of calls for service in the Team 5 area, which can be both a blessing and a curse, particularly for the growing Clements Ferry Road corridor. “The overall low number of calls results in an overall low percentage of officers assigned to the area,” he noted.
As the community continues to develop, the total number of officers assigned to Team 5 will need to increase to match the overall growth of the area. Wojslawowicz added that traffic-related concerns have escalated with the addition of new residences, apartment complexes, businesses, and schools. He said that the recent expansion of Clements Ferry Road has brought some improvement, and “continued cooperation between local and county government agencies such as the Charleston Police Department and Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office will be vitally important moving forward as the entire area continues to grow.”
When asked about his favorite part of the job, the lieutenant mused, “My favorite part of policing is the ability to help the community, whether on a one-on-one basis or collectively. I like to look at policing as a way to solve problems in the community. Some problems are easily recognizable and therefore relatively easy to fix. Other problems are more entrenched and take a holistic approach from multiple entities to find a workable solution.”
Wojslawowicz plans to connect with residents in a variety of ways. He has already met with the Daniel Island Property Owners Association and has reached out to neighborhood representatives. He participated in last year’s “Pizza with the Police” gathering and looks forward to bringing the event back, as well as starting other community events throughout the Team 5 area. He said, “I plan to be fully engaged in neighborhood association and community meetings as well as being involved in the local service organizations.”
He favors a plan to increase the use of foot patrols on Daniel Island, stating, “Being outside of a police vehicle and on foot allows the officer to be more engaged with the community and approachable. While not practical in all settings, Daniel Island is very suited to foot patrols in the business area as well as the many parks and playgrounds. When residents see an officer, they are encouraged to say hello and strike up a conversation. These interactions will help foster trust and build relationships.”
When asked about the safety of the recently completed roundabout at the intersection of Seven Farms Drive and Daniel Island Drive, he commented, “Roundabouts have statistically been proven to be safer for all roadway users, including pedestrians, when compared to traditional stop sign or signalized intersections. It is incumbent on drivers to pay attention for pedestrians while driving through the roundabout. Pedestrians are reminded to only cross in the designated crosswalk. When drivers and pedestrians work together and follow the design of the roundabout, everybody wins.”
During his off-duty hours, Lt. Wojslawowicz enjoys traveling, reading, spending time with his 4-year-old golden retriever named Captain, and watching Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games. His wife, Ashleigh, is a crime scene investigator with the Charleston Police Department and is pursuing a doctorate at Charleston Southern University.
The lieutenant’s background in education from his college days is being put to good use; he is employed as a part-time adjunct professor at Truett McConnell University teaching classes in political science, criminal justice, and law.
Lt. Wojslawowicz wants residents to know, “My office door is always open, and I look forward to engaging with members of this community. Individuals can always contact me with concerns via phone (843-849-0304) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).”