John Richard “Dick” Irwin, 74, retires from the Baltimore Sun Monday after having spent 44 years reporting on the city’s enduring crime industry and distilling and cataloging a never-ending litany of murders, shootings, and robberies to his signature “police blotter,” says the Sun’s Peter Hermann. He began the popular feature — which treated the theft of a tomato plant with as much reverence and importance as bank heist — in 1979.
Irwin got information out of cops that no other reporter could, and he demanded perfection from not only himself but from the officers who answered the phone. Whatever information he got was going to be accurate in the next day’s paper. Maryland State Police spokesman Gregory Shipley called Irwin “an icon in the news business in Baltimore. He has the stamina and the tenacity to get every detail in every story that he pursues. Most policemen want to get off the midnight shift as quickly as possible. Not Dick Irwin. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been awakened from a sound sleep from Dick. I will miss him, but I hope I get some sleep now.”