Stan Valchek

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Stanislaus Valchek
The Wire Valcheck.jpg
First appearance "The Buys" (episode 1.03)
Last appearance "–30–" (episode 5.10)
Created by David Simon
Portrayed by Al Brown
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Baltimore Police
Title Commissioner
Spouse(s) Kate (wife)
Children Joan Pryzbylewski (daughter)
Relatives Roland Pryzbylewski (son-in-law)

Stanislaus "Stan" Valchek is a fictional character on the HBO drama The Wire, played by actor Al Brown.

Biography[edit]

Valchek is the Polish-American commander of the Southeastern district, home to many of the remaining white ethnic neighborhoods in Baltimore. A politician more than a policeman, he is well-connected and is on good terms with various Democratic organizations close to City Hall, most notably the politically influential developer Andrew Krawczyk. In Season 4 Tommy Carcetti suggests that Valchek was named commander of the Southeastern Police District because it is a position reserved for either Greek American or Polish American commanders in the department. His political savvy led to a quick and easy rise through the ranks, despite being disliked by commanding officers such as Commissioner Ervin Burrell and Deputy Commissioner William Rawls. Valchek is Roland Pryzbylewski's father-in-law.

Season 1[edit]

Valchek only appeared once, in a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Burrell and Lieutenant Daniels, trying to smooth over Prez's drunken maiming of a fourteen-year-old. Valchek told Daniels that if Daniels helped Prez, Valchek would owe him a favor.

Season 2[edit]

Valchek was the impetus behind the investigation into corruption at the docks, due to a petty feud he had with Dockworker Union Treasurer Frank Sobotka, another American-Pole. Both men wanted to donate stained glass windows to a local church, and Sobotka refused to withdraw his larger, more expensive window which had been installed first. Valchek became curious as to how the struggling union could afford the expensive window. He ordered his subordinates (including Sergeant Ellis Carver) to begin harassing Sobotka and his union, putting parking tickets on their cars and pulling them over for breathalyzer tests directly outside the bar they frequent. The union responded by stealing Valchek's valuable district surveillance van and shipping it from port to port, sending him photographs from each destination.

Valchek discussed the union with Krawczyk, who knew of Sobotka making numerous campaign contributions. Valchek felt there was a possibility of illegal activity, while at the same time noticing Deputy Commissioner Burrell's nomination for Acting Commissioner. Knowing that Burrell had trouble finding support with the first district council members, Valchek offered Burrell political influence in exchange for a special unit devoted to investigating Sobotka, with Prez as the lead investigator. Burrell had Colonel Rawls send an investigative team from CID to Valchek, all "highly recommended" officers, who were in fact dead-weight "humps." When Valchek witnessed the task force's lack of work ethic, he demanded a real police detail led by Cedric Daniels as commander (on Prez's recommendation and repaying the favor owed to Daniels from Season 1), threatening to derail Burrell's effort to become Commissioner if he did not agree. Burrell obligingly recreated Daniels' task force.

As the investigation expanded to cover Greek drug traffickers, Sobotka ceased to be the primary target, angering Valchek. Valchek went to the FBI to try to refocus the investigation, turning it into a racketeering case, but the bureau remained more focused on the union and port than Sobotka. Valchek confronted Daniels' team publicly; he insulted and shoved Prez, who responds by punching Valchek in the face. Furious, he disowned his son-in-law and threatened to have him removed from the department. Daniels convinced him to reduce Prez's punishment, pointing out that any official action would have to mention that Valchek provoked the attack (Daniels even offers to have the BPD rewrite the statements on Valchek's behalf but claims the FBI agents who witnessed the attack would not follow suit). Valchek grudgingly assigned Prez two months of duty on the midnight shift of the district's narcotics unit and accepted a letter of apology in exchange for not charging him.

At the close of the investigation, Valchek delighted in personally making the arrest of Sobotka, and held him in the union offices until he could be publicly dragged out in front of the press. Sobotka was ultimately killed, but the surveillance van was still being shipped around the world.[1]

Season 3[edit]

Valchek set up a meeting between acting Commissioner Burrell and Tommy Carcetti, a city councilman from Valchek's district, knowing that Carcetti was setting up deals behind the back of Mayor Clarence Royce.

When the Mayor pressured the department to lower the crime rates, Valchek claimed he would put more foot patrols in his district's housing projects, use more of his flex squads, request more overtime and cheat the stats if he needed to (turning burglaries into larcenies, and downgrading assault charges amongst other things) in order to reduce the crime in the southeastern district. In the midst, Valchek was surprised and amused to hear remarks made by Bunny Colvin, the Western District commander, who stood up to Deputy Rawls questioning how to "juke the stats" with regard to dead bodies. When talking with the other commanders, Valchek also overheard Colvin suggesting drug legalization (ostensibly as a joke) to decrease the felonies in his district.

Later, during the pursuit of a suspect, Prez accidentally shot and killed a plainclothes officer, a mistake further complicated by racial implications (the killed officer was black). Despite disowning him earlier, Valchek used his influence to have the charges dismissed, and although Daniels and several other African-American officers were willing to testify (per Valchek's request) that Prez was not racist, Prez chose to leave the department.[2]

Season 4[edit]

Valchek mentored Herc in political maneuvering, after the officer stumbled across Mayor Royce being fellated by one of his secretaries. Acting on Valchek's advice, Herc was promoted to sergeant.

When Tommy Carcetti ran for Mayor, Valchek supported his campaign, leaking him information such as the murder of a state's witness named Braddock. When Valchek later leaked Burrell's replacement of a veteran detective with a rookie on the Braddock case, the fallout led to the Mayor deciding to replace Burrell as commissioner. Before this happened, Carcetti was elected Mayor, and Burrell managed to keep his appointed position for the time being.

Carcetti informed Rawls that Valchek will be promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Administration as a reward for his loyalty, but described him as a "hack" and asks Rawls to keep him from doing any damage. At the promotion ceremony, Valchek's wife and daughter are present while Prez is conspicuously absent. As departmental power shifted, and Carcetti began plotting to oust Burrell, Valchek pointed out to Deputy Commissioner Rawls that newly promoted Colonel Daniels was more likely to be the next Police Commissioner than Rawls, if only because Daniels is African American.[3]

Season 5[edit]

Valchek is shown early in the season leaking the department's real police statistics over the increased crime rate to Mayor Tommy Carcetti. He urges that both Burrell and Rawls should be fired for two straight quarters yielding a 4% increase in violent crime. He also suggests that Carcetti should promote him to Acting Commissioner at least until Cedric Daniels or another African American is named to the permanent post. Carcetti and assistant Norman Wilson both agree that Valchek is unfit to deal with the city council president and minister's alliance, even on an acting basis, but keep the statistics nonetheless. It is later revealed that Valchek is a prime source for Baltimore Sun reporter Roger Twigg.

Unable to take disciplinary action for a crime increase due to the department's lack of funding, Carcetti decides he will give Burrell a free pass assuming honest statistics are delivered. When Burrell delivers juked stats showing no increase or decrease in the crime rate, he is unaware of the crime stats Valchek has leaked to the Mayor. With the clean and juked statistics in his possession, Carcetti has ammunition to fire Burrell and leaks a story to the Baltimore Sun with Cedric Daniels' photograph in an effort to appease the city's African American voters about the consideration for a change of Police Commissioner.

In the series finale, Cedric Daniels is named commissioner but resigns to prevent an FBI case against him from going public. Valchek is then promoted to the position of Police Commissioner (with a full five-year term) by new mayor Nerese Campbell. Valchek is not well regarded for his police work throughout the department as mentioned by Detective Leandor Sydnor who speaks with Judge Daniel Phelan about a case and how the current police commissioner "doesn't have an idea of what police work is".

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dan Kois (2004). "Everything you were afraid to ask about "The Wire"". Salon.com. Retrieved 2006-07-12. 
  2. ^ "Org Chart - The Law". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-22. 
  3. ^ "Character profile - Major Stanislaus Valchek". HBO. 2004. Retrieved 2006-07-22.