Profiling Police: Harbaugh a movie-lover, sports fan as well as a detective

Profiling Police: Harbaugh a movie-lover, sports fan as well as a detective
Carroll County Sheriff's Office Detective Richard Harbaugh photographed in Hampstead Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. ((DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO / Carroll County Times))

Detective Richard Harbaugh of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office might share his last name with the Baltimore Ravens’ head coach, but he says he is more of a Steelers fan.

Harbaugh was the lead investigator in the New Windsor homicide case from August 2016. But when he’s off duty, instead of being active as a detective, Harbaugh has the title of coach. Harbaugh coaches his son’s T-ball team and said out when off duty he likes to spend time with his family. Harbaugh came to Carroll County with experience from Baltimore and Ocean City.


The Times caught up with Harbaugh to talk about why he chose his career path, what he does as a detective and how he spends his free time.

Q: Why did you decide to go into law enforcement?

A: I decided late in high school that I wanted to become a police officer. At the time, due mostly to immaturity, I thought it looked like a fun job. I took a few college courses at a community college, took a year off from college and decided to pursue a college education full time, majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology. As I learned more about the criminal justice system, and the role police officers play in that and society, I realized how much I would be able to help others and contribute to my community. In college, I was fortunate enough to intern as a seasonal police officer in Ocean City during college, which solidified my desire to become a police officer and contribute to society.

Q: What have been some of the best parts of the job? The most challenging?

A: One of the best parts of my job is getting to help people. The most challenging would be, especially with my position now, is that a lot of the times that I interact with people, it is the worst day of their life. When a detective from the Major Crimes Unit responds to an incident, someone, either the victim themselves, or the victim’s friends and family, are experiencing one of the worst things to ever occur to them.

Q: What is one thing you want people to know about being a deputy?

A: We are people. We try our best to be fair and honest with everything we do, no matter the situation. We come to work each day with the intention to do our best and want to go home to our families after work just like everyone else.

Q: What is your favorite part about being a deputy?

A: Meeting people. I like being able to work with people that I would never get to meet if I wasn’t in this profession. I have met many people from different backgrounds and have been able to learn and grow both personally and professionally.

Q: What is a typical work day like for you?

A: I work for the Major Crimes Unit so my scheduled work day is an eight hour day, during normal business hours. However, it is not unusual for that to completely change due to call outs or an ongoing investigation. The Major Crimes Unit works an on-call duty status, so the detectives in the unit have an on-call rotation and could be called into work at any time. My typical day usually involves conducting interviews, reviewing evidence, examining records, reviewing interviews, and preparing reports. I spend a majority of my time working on a small number of cases.

Q: What is one moment on the job you’ll never forget?

A: There are a lot. There are so many experiences that come along with this job and so many incidents that are memorable, but I would say one of the memories that sticks with me would have to be the first time I was on my own after graduating the police academy in Baltimore. I was assigned to a different area than the one I was trained in and had no clue where anything was. I remember getting dispatched to an in-progress call, turning the lights and siren on, and the excitement and nervousness that I felt as I rushed to the scene.

Q: What is an embarrassing story or a fact you are willing to share about yourself?


A: I don’t know if it is really embarrassing, but I love watching romantic comedies. My friends and family usually give me a hard time about it, but I do enjoy almost every movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book.

Q: When you are out of uniform, what do you like to do?

A: Spend time with my family. I am married and have two young children, so I spend most of my time with them. I am usually playing with Legos, watching Disney Channel or pretending to be a superhero with my son. Besides hanging out with my family, I enjoy spending time outdoors, coaching my son’s T-Ball team and relaxing in my time away from work.

Q: What television shows do you have on your DVR right now? What was the last movie you watched?

A: Right now I have been watching “Quantico” and “Gotham.” The last movie I watched was “Star Wars” Episode 7 [“The Force Awakens”]. I had never seen any of the “Star Wars” movies and was informed by some other detectives that I was missing out, so I broke down and finally watched one.

Q: What is something you like to talk about outside of work?

A: Sports. I am a huge baseball fan and enjoy watching football. I am pretty much any Marylander’s nightmare when it comes to baseball and football because I am a big Yankees fan and prefer the Steelers when it comes to football.