By KRISSI HUMBARD — Recently, two of the department’s best retired from the Hyattsville City Police Department (HCPD): Chief Doug Holland and Sgt. Suzette (Suzie) Johnson hung up their police hats after 19.5 years and 25 years with HCPD, respectively.
While working for Hyattsville Life & Times, I’ve gotten to know Doug and Suzie a little bit and have seen first-hand their dedication to Hyattsville and its residents. I’ve photographed Doug waving from the rooftop of Dunkin’ Donuts, more than once, to raise money for Special Olympics; I’ve witnessed the delight on Suzie’s and Doug’s faces when shopping with local children in need during the Operation Santa with a Badge event; I’ve talked with Suzie about her work to start the Magruder Park Teen Club again. The two were always quick to answer any questions I had about stories I was working on.
But you don’t have to be a journalist to see their work in the community.
The two have embodied community policing and have worked to connect with residents during “community conversations,” Neighborhood Watch meetings held at residents’ homes, events like National Night Out (where Doug is a frequent dunk tank volunteer), the police open house held during Summer Jam, and even neighborhood block parties and birthday parties (where Suzie once took a pie to the face!).
The impact of Doug’s and Suzie’s leadership can also be seen in the other officers of HCPD — how they interact with residents, handle police calls and participate in community events (have you seen Officer Chris Evans dance at National Night Out or Lt. Chris Purvis sing at Summer Jam?!).
On a more personal note, Doug has shown concern and compassion and has responded with action when a stabbing victim ended up on my property or shots were fired in my neighborhood. During times when I’ve been shaken, having Doug and his officers check on me was comforting and much appreciated.
I will miss these two officers, and I’m sure many others will, too.
The good news? Both still have ties to Hyattsville. And while they may have hung up their police hats, I have no doubt that you will still see Doug and Suzie in the community, working to make it better.