In 1977, David Moxley, then a 21-year-old officer at the , was part of a high-speed car chase involving robbers who were holding hostages.
William Jackson and Rudy Taylor targeted an Ellicott City jewelry store and kidnapped Bernard Sugar, an owner of the store, and his partner's wife. They drove into Baltimore County and were first spotted by Moxley's patrol car.
Soon after, more officers joined the pursuit and a shootout ensued. Sugar was killed in the crossfire.
At the time, the police didn't know the robbers had taken hostages. Jackson and Taylor were later convicted of first-degree murder because they had kidnapped Sugar.
Moxley had been on the job for two hours.
"I was numb," he said. "Thankfully, it calmed down quite a bit after that."
On Tuesday, Moxley, now 55, as captain of the , which also covers Northern Baltimore County, Lutherville-Timonium, Brooklandville and portions of Towson. He's taking over for former Captain Joseph Martin "Marty" Lurz, .
"I'm still trying to find out the lay of the land," he said. "But you adjust after a few weeks."
Still, after a nearly 35-year career in law enforcement, Moxley, a Perry Hall resident, is confident that he'll be able to keep the local streets safe. And with time spent at the Essex and Garrison precincts, sex crimes and vice/narcotics among other departments, he expects his diverse background will serve as an asset.
"It's been a great career," he said. " I wouldn't trade it for anything."
One priority for Moxley, a Johns Hopkins University graduate who is also pursuing a master's degree in management at the college, is continuing Lurz's legacy of open communication and transparency with residents. He plans to carry on Lurz's popular email tree, which provides updates on happenings at the precinct, and encourages usage of iWatch, a website that allows the Baltimore County Police Department to share bullentins with the community and, in turn, enables residents to file non-emergency complains.
"People want to know what's going on," he said. "They're entitled to know what's going on."
Residents can meet Moxley at the next Police & Community Relations Council meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Bank of America building at Executive Plaza in Hunt Valley.