‘Dynamic Duo’ detectives reunited in La Habra police investigations
Scott Irwin and Craig Hentcy are easy targets for some intraoffice ribbing.
They have history.
They’ve both worked for the same departments, partnered on the same assignments and even, on occasion, have dressed alike.
OK, there’s really only one occasion when they showed up in matching attire, and they swear it wasn’t planned.
But when they showed up at the LHPD holiday party with the same blue shirt and brown pants it gave their colleagues a week’s worth of ammo for some department raillery.
On a recent Wednesday, Irwin, a detective corporal, and Hentcy, a detective, couldn’t walk the department halls without someone commenting the way police officers do best — with biting sarcasm.
“Oh, are you doing a Valentine’s Day story?” a sergeant asked as he passed them in the hall.
“Awwwww,” another officer taunted.
But it was all in good fun because those at the La Habra Police Department know the detectives’ bond is something that resonates for all who wear a badge.
“Everyone here is close-knit and family-oriented,” Hentcy said. “It’s just part of a brotherhood, a sisterhood.”
Hentcy and Irwin first crossed paths at the Whittier Police Department 15 years ago.
Hentcy arrived in 2000 after serving with the Los Angeles Police Department. Irwin started in Whittier full-time in 1999.
They worked the gang unit — teaming up to track down gangsters, make drug and gun busts and hunt for Whittier’s most wanted.
Dubbed the “dynamic duo” by their colleagues, Irwin and Hentcy have tale upon tale to tell.
Like the time Hentcy jumped out of a moving police car to run after, and later arrest, a wanted gang member.
Or when Irwin pushed for a major gang injunction and the two traveled all over Southern California to slap gang members with restraining orders.
And the time a traffic stop turned into an all-out police chase with Hentcy on foot and Irwin following in the car.
That suspect was arrested and the detectives found a Pyrex bowl full of methamphetamine in the suspect’s van and a loaded handgun on the pavement.
“We did a lot of gang suppression together,” Irwin said. “We were very proactive.”
Then, in 2008, the duo was separated.
Irwin took a position with the La Habra Police Department, where he was assigned to graveyard patrol.
Hentcy, also assigned to graveyard, stayed in Whittier.
The two kept in touch, often meeting at the borders of their patrol areas, which, at the time, was a Carl’s Jr. at Beach Boulevard and Lambert Avenue.
“We’d meet halfway and have coffee,” Irwin said. “I kept telling him, ‘When you coming over?’”
It wasn’t long before Hentcy made his way to La Habra — a happy coincidence, not some master plan for the pair to continue working together, he said.
“I was in background while Scott was in the process of lateraling,” Hentcy said. “It just happened that way.”
Although under the same roof, the pair didn’t work side by side as they did in Whittier.
“Scott and I have actually had very diverse paths here,” Hentcy said. “We’ve been given the opportunity to explore different avenues in police work.”
Irwin was assigned to a meth-lab task force while Hentcy worked patrol. Then Irwin moved to patrol while Hentcy worked general investigations.
“It’s just kind of funny because our paths have just been this criss-cross,” Hentcy said. “Throughout it all, we still get pestered.”
In January, their colleagues had a field day when the duo was reunited in the investigations bureau at LHPD.
“I can hear it now,” Hentcy said on that recent Wednesday — their first day working together again. “They’re pulling up the video on You Tube and cuing the music.”
Which song? You know the one: Reunited and it feels so good …
The detectives laugh, but openly hate, any reference to this song as it relates to their partnership.
“Oh man, we’re never going to live this one down,” Irwin said.
They are good sports about it, though, because they know the incessant teasing and playful banter is just the way it goes when you’re family.