Baltimore City Sheriff's Office (Maryland)
The Baltimore City Sheriff's Office has the primary responsibility of being the enforcement arm of the court system in the City. The office is headquartered from the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouses which is the site for the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City with a physical address facing the west side of Battle Monument Square at 100 North Calvert Street (between East Lexington and Fayette Streets), Room 104, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Occupying the entire block west towards St. Paul Street where there is a small plaza with a fountain and to the north is the southern end of "Preston Gardens" (laid out in the 1920s by razing five blocks of townhouses, (north to south), from East Centre Street in the north, to East Lexington Street (alongside the northern side of the Courthouse) between St. Paul Street to the west and old Courtland Street to the east which was renamed St. Paul Place. Designed by the well-known local architectural partnership of Wyatt and Nolting (J. B. Noel Wyatt and William G. Nolting), the building was constructed in the Beaux arts style after a nationwide design competition. Beaux arts classicism style demonstrated the taste of the period for symmetry, massive Greco-Roman columns and cornices and a clear definition of parts. After the razing of the old Georgian/Federal style 1805 Courthouse and the additional buildings in the block facing the Battle Monument, including the 1799 mansion on the south side along East Fayette Street of James Buchanan, a noted Baltimore financier and civic leader who later sold it to Reverdy Johnson, another famous politician and long-time U. S. Senator from Maryland. With a cornerstone laid in 1896, it was to be the third courthouse in the history of Baltimore Town and City. The historical landmark building is richly ornamented in its interior with marble, mahoghany and bronze/brass throughout its courtrooms, vestibules and halls and is filled with artwork depicting ancient law-givers and murals of scenes of Maryland history. Of special note is the chambers with its stained glass ceiling and rotunda for the "Supreme Bench of Baltimore City" (later renamed the "Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City"), the Orphans Court chambers and the Bar Association Library. The Baltimore City and County Courthouse, which also served as the courts for the surrounding Baltimore County until separation of the two jurisdictions in 1851 by the adoption of a new Matryland constitution when the County then established its new seat at Towsontown and began construction of a new Courthouse there in 1854. The City Courthouse was renamed on March 8, 1985, for local and national civil rights leader and distinguished member of the Baltimore Bar Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., (1911–1984), who was reputed to be "The 101st United States Senator".
In addition to the Mitchell building, across the square and the Battle Monument is the "Courthouse East" which was acquired from the Federal Government in 1979 and is the former United States Post Office and Court House, constructed 1932 of Classical Beaux Arts architecture and occupies the entire block between East Lexington and Fayette Streets and North Calvert Street to Guilford Avenue on the east. It replaced an earlier structure of Italian Renaissance style with 8 small towers and one main clock tower from 1889 and a previous building one block away from 1860. As with all Sheriffs in the state of Maryland and most throughout the United States this office is held as an elected position with no term limits. Being an elected official the Sheriff is the Chief Law Enforcement Official in the jurisdiction where he or she serves. Since 1989, the Honorable John W. Anderson has served as Sheriff.
- 1 Authority & Responsibility
- 2 History
- 3 Sections & Specialty Units
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Authority & Responsibility
Baltimore City Deputy Sheriffs have the same full law enforcement powers as officers in the Baltimore City Police Department (founded 1853). As professional law-enforcement officers, sworn members must meet established standards and successfully complete a rigorous training program as required by the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission. Being elected as the Sheriff is directly responsible to the citizenry, thus only Deputy Sheriffs have the authority to enforce Civil, Criminal and Traffic Laws on behalf of the state. All sworn members of the sheriff's office are agents of the state of Maryland and thus have authority throughout the entire state, although their direct jurisdictional boundary is the eighth Judicial Circuit of Maryland which is also known as the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City (prior to the constitutional amedments and court reorganization in the early 1970s, previously known as the "Supreme Bench of Baltimore City".
- Traffic Enforcement - All deputy sheriffs are issued moving violation ticket books and enforce motor vehicle laws. Many deputies have received specialized traffic training and regularly participate in DWI and seatbelt enforcement checkpoints.
- Court Assignment - Deputies assigned to court have the responsibility of maintaining the custody of the prisoners as they are escorted to and from the courtrooms during their trial. Should a jury be requested overnight, a deputy is required to provide 24-hour security, which includes transportation to and from overnight accommodations.
- Court Security Officers are responsible for the security in both Baltimore City Circuit Court buildings (Mitchell and Courthouse East on Battle Monument Square) and the Juvenile Justice Center (on North Gay Street). They provide security to the judges, employees, citizens and prisoners entering the courthouses. The primary duty of the security officer assigned to court is the safety of the judge. Should an incident occur, the officer is to get the judge to safety and then respond to the disturbance. They also maintain order and decorum in the courtrooms and hallways. Each courthouse is equipped with a metal detectors to scan all visitors for weapons and the buildings are regularly patrolled by K9 dogs and officers.
- Accounting Department - Processes and collects all fines and court costs set by the courts.
- Domestic Violence Efforts - A team of deputies and civilian support staff maintain an extremely high service and arrest rate for the enforcement and service of orders for protection relating to domestic violence. as well as other peace orders.
The Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office is unique among the other sheriff’s offices in Maryland in that it was established with a sole purpose to be the enforcement arm of the court system in Baltimore City. Every other jurisdiction in the colonial Province of Maryland was established with a sheriff who had the responsibility to be fully responsible for the keeping of public peace as derived from the English "Common Law" system. With a growing port established in 1706 and a town was founded in 1729 and laid out the following year. With the merger of three distinct villages of Jones's Town (1732) with Baltimore Town in 1745 along with Fells Point (1763) annexed in 1773. Recognizing its quick growth, the town was later incorporated as a city in 1797. The position of Sheriff of Baltimore City was created by a constitutional amendment passed in 1844. At this time Baltimore City was still a part of Baltimore County and had been served by the sheriff for the entire County of which Baltimore Town and later City was the county seat (since relocated in 1767 from old Joppa) and the central location of the courts and other law enforcement activities in Baltimore County since it was "erected" (created) in 1659. (Baltimore County Sheriff's Office). In 1845, the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office began operation and the Baltimore City Police Department was later authorized in 1853. Prior to this time a guard force of constables and night watchmen since the early 1780s were authorized to enforce town laws and arrest those in violation. In 1851, by action of the General Assembly of Maryland, the City was separated as a distinct jurisdiction and independent city within the state with the status of a county unto itself. The new county seat was moved to the town of Towson, just north of the new independent City of Baltimore and all county functions were centered there with the construction in 1854 of a new Baltimore County Court House on a square facing Washington Avenue between Pennsylvania and Chesapeake Avenues.
Sections & Specialty Units
Field Enforcement Section
Baltimore City is divided into 21 districts. Each district is assigned a deputy to serve and execute all legal documents and orders issued for respondents living within these district areas. In addition, deputies are assigned to execute all sheriffs' sales for real property and chattels.
District Court Section
Deputies in this section are charged with the execution of all process originating from the Rent Court including Eviction Orders.
Child Support Section
Deputies assigned to this section serve and execute all documents received from the Child Support Enforcement Administration which deals with non-support cases.
Child Support Warrant Unit
Deputies assigned to this unit locate and arrest individuals wanted on Child Support warrants in Baltimore City.
Within this unit deputy sheriff's are responsible for providing transportation for the transfer of prisoners on a daily basis from the sheriff's holding facility to the place of incarceration, to which prisoners have been remanded.
Criminal Warrant Unit
Deputies are assigned to this unit to execute arrest warrants, such as, Failure to Appear (FTA), Violation of Probation (VOP), Body Attachments and Paternity. These warrants are issued out of the Circuit Court of Maryland for Baltimore City.
Miles/Warrant Control- Baltimore City Circuit Court Warrants are housed and entered in a national and local database, which enables every law enforcement agency, throughout the State to verify criminal and warrant information quickly. This unit is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by operators working 3 shifts.
Special Response Team
Deputies on this team respond to barricade situations, bomb scares, courtroom disturbances and other disturbances that require specialty trained deputies and special equipment.
Trained explosive detection dogs and their handlers patrol the two Circuit Courthouses and the Baltimore Juvenile Justice Center on a regular basis as part of the Sheriff's Homeland Security initiative.
Witness Protection Unit
Deputies from this unit assist the Baltimore City State's Attorney Office in the movement, safe keeping and protection of witnesses.