Baltimore Police Department

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"Baltimore Police" redirects here. For the county police, see Baltimore County Police Department (Maryland).
Baltimore Police Department
Common name Baltimore Police Department
Abbreviation BPD
Baltimore Police Department logo patch.png
Patch of the Baltimore Police Department
Logo of the Baltimore Police Department.jpg
Baltimore Police Department Logo
Badge of the Baltimore Police Department.jpg
Badge of the Baltimore Police Department
Flag of Baltimore, Maryland.svg
Motto Semper Paratus, Semper Fideles, Ever on the Watch
Ever Ready, Ever Faithful, Ever on the Watch
Agency overview
Formed 1845
Employees 3,220 (2013)[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City of Baltimore in the state of Maryland, United States
Map of Maryland highlighting Baltimore City.svg
Baltimore Police Districts
Size 148.14 km²
Population 621,342
Legal jurisdiction Baltimore, Maryland
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Bishop L. Robinson, Sr. Police Administration Building
601 E Fayette St Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Officers 3,080 (2014)[2]
Mayor of Baltimore responsible Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake
Agency executives
Parent agency Baltimore City Council
Facilities
Districts 1-Central
2-Southeast
3-Eastern
4-Northeast
5-Northern
6-Northwest
7-Western
8-Southwest
9-Southern
Marked and Unmarkeds Chevrolet Suburbans & Tahoes, Caprices, Impalas, Ford Explorers, Crown Victorias, Escapes and Harley-Davidson Police Motorcycles
Website
Baltimore Police Website
Footnotes
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Baltimore City Police Department (BPD or BCPD) provides police services to the City of Baltimore, Maryland and was originally organized in 1784 as a "nightwatch" and a force of day "Constables". It was reorganized by the then Mayor of Baltimore, Thomas Swann in 1857, and officially established by the Maryland Legislature on March 16, 1853. It is the 8th largest police force in the U.S. and is organized into ten districts, nine based on geographical areas and the Public Housing Section, and is responsible for policing 80.9 square miles (210 km2) of land and 11.1 square miles (29 km2) of waterways. The department is sometimes referred to as the Baltimore City Police Department to distinguish itself from the Baltimore County Police Department.

History[edit]

The first attempt to establish a police department in Baltimore occurred in 1784, nearly 60 years after the founding of the original town, when a guard force of constables were authorized to enforce town laws and arrest those in violation. The first BPD officer to die in the line of duty was Sergeant William Jourdan who was shot and killed by an unknown gunman during the first city council elections on October 14, 1857.[3][4] Night Watchman George Workner was the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the city when he was stabbed during an escape attempt by nine inmates in the Baltimore City Jail on March 14, 1808, but his death predates the founding of the department.[5]

In 1845 the current Baltimore Police Department was founded by the state legislature "to provide for a better security for life and property in the City of Baltimore". The early days of the Department were marked by conflict over Know Nothing control.[6]

In 1861, during the U.S. Civil War, the police department was taken over by the federal government and run by the U.S. Military until it was turned back over to the legislature in 1862.

Baltimore City Police Rocker Patch used from 1952 to 1967
Baltimore City Police Patch used from 1968-1974

In July 1974 officers joined other striking municipal workers for five days during the Baltimore police strike.

As of a 2000 survey published by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2003, BPD is the 8th largest municipal police department in the United States with a total of 3,034 police officers. Comparatively as of the 2000 U.S. census Baltimore ranked as the 17th largest city in the United States with a population of 651,154.

As of 2015 there have been 136 police officers killed in the line of duty, which is by far the largest total in Maryland.[3][7] The next largest total belongs to the Maryland State Police, with 40 troopers killed in the line of duty as of 2005.[8]

Technological progress[edit]

BPD has evolved its crime fighting technology and techniques over the years beginning with the introduction of call boxes in 1885. Other major technological upgrades include the introduction of the Bertillion system in 1896, police radio communications in 1933, a police laboratory in 1950, computerized booking procedures and 911 emergency systems in 1985, the first ever 311 nonemergency system and CCTV cameras (like those in the United Kingdom) in 1996, and the CitiStat system in 2000.[9]

Mergers[edit]

In the early 1960s the Baltimore City Park Police were absorbed into the Baltimore Police Department. In 2005, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City Police were disbanded and operations taken over by the Baltimore Police Department. Housing Authority officers, if they desired, had to apply for jobs with the city police losing their time and seniority they had from previous employment with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. There is current talk of merging the Baltimore Schools Police into the department as well though it is unclear if those officers would have to reapply for positions within the Baltimore Police Department and what if any job benefits such as seniority and pension they might be able to bring with them in the new position.

Staffing[edit]

An officer of the Baltimore Police Department apprehending a suspect

The Baltimore Police Department is staffed by nearly 4000 civilian and sworn personnel. These include dispatchers, crime lab technicians, chaplains and unarmed auxiliary police officers. Officers are assigned to one of nine districts in the city or a specialized unit. Officers in patrol units work 4 ten hour shifts a week.

African Americans in the department[edit]

As a historically Irish American dominated police department,[10] African Americans were not hired as police officers until 1937 when Violet Hill Whyte became the BPD's first African American officer.[11] The first African American male officers Walter T. Eubanks Jr., Harry S. Scott, Milton Gardner, and J. Hiram Butler Jr. were hired in 1938, all of whom were assigned to plainclothes. [12] In 1943, African American officers were finally allowed to wear police uniforms, and by 1950, there were fifty African American officers in the department.[12] Patrolman Henry Smith Jr. became the first African American officer to die in the line of duty in 1962, when he was shot to death breaking up a dice game on North Milton Avenue in east Baltimore.[13] The department itself had not fully integrated until 1966.[14]

Prior to 1966, African American officers were limited to foot patrols as they were barred from the use of squad cars. These officers were quarantined in rank, barred from patrolling in White neighborhoods, and would often only be given specialty assignments in positions in the Narcotics Division or as undercover plainclothes officers.[14] Further, African American officers were the target of racial harassment from their Caucasian coworkers and African American citizens in the communities they patrolled. During this time African American officers were subject to racial slurs from white co-workers during roll call,[15] and encountered degrading racial graffiti in the very districts/units they were assigned. During this time period, two future police commissioners of Baltimore, Bishop L. Robinson and Edward J. Tilghman were amongst Baltimore's African American police officers.[14]

During the civil rights movement, trust between the department and the largely African American city were strained. Racial riots due to police brutality were occurring all over America, and the racial mistreatment at the hands of several White officers labeled Baltimore as a trouble spot for violence. The police force at the time was also under study of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) as the department was severely troubled at the time. The IACP report showed the BPD to be the most corrupt and antiquated in the nation with an almost non-existent relationship with Baltimore's African American community. This lack of relationship resulted in African American citizens being subject to both excessive force from police officers, and retaliation from community members for interacting with city police officers.[14] The changes demanded in the report occurred almost overnight with the hiring of new police commissioner Donald Pomerleau. Pomerleau himself was a prior-service Marine who authored the IACP report committed to changing the department and improving relations with Baltimore's African American community.[14]

After Pomerleau's hiring, the department made reforms to improve the relations with Baltimore's growing African American community, including ending the segregationist practices within the department. In 1968, racial rioting in response to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. broke out across Baltimore's African American neighborhoods. As few African American officers held rank within the department during the riot[16] the white-dominated police department found itself at odds against the African American community. In 1971, the Vanguard Justice Society was founded, an organization representing the rights and interests of the department's African American officers.[17] Throughout the 1970s, more African Americans advanced in the department[17][18][19][20] with Black officers holding the positions of district commanders and chief of patrol. In 1984, in a political move by Mayor Donald Schaefer to give the majority African American population more power in the city, Bishop L. Robinson was named as Baltimore's police commissioner.[21] Robinson was the first African American police officer to command the department which was previously controlled by Irish American and Italian American police officers.[22][23] Robinson was also the force's first Black officer to command the Eastern District and the Patrol Division. The department also redefined several of its racial policies in direct response to riots in Los Angeles and Miami as a means of avoiding similar racial tension in a city with a larger percentage of African-American citizens.

Currently, the department is administered by Commissioner Anthony Batts and Deputy Commissioner of Patrol Garnell Green, both of whom are African American. [24]

During Martin O'Malley's administration as mayor, the department had become 43% African American.[25] While progress has been made to improve the department's relationship with Baltimore's now majority African American community, improvements are still being made to the department which for several years has been subject to criticism for its treatment of African American citizens. Police community relations have remained strained with the war on drugs that has plagued several African American neighborhoods in East and West Baltimore and coincidentally enough, many of the most despised officers in several of Baltimore's African American neighborhoods are also African American.[26]

Rank structure and insignia[edit]

The Baltimore Police Department uses these sworn personnel ranks:

Title Insignia Uniform Shirt Color Badge Color
Police Commissioner
4 Gold Stars.svg
White Gold
Deputy Police Commissioner
3 Gold Stars.svg
White Gold
Colonel
US-O6 insignia.svg
White Gold
Lieutenant Colonel
US-O5 insignia.svg
White Gold
Major
US-O4 insignia.svg
White Gold
Captain
US-O3 insignia.svg
White Gold
Lieutenant
US-O2 insignia.svg
White Gold
Sergeant
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
Dark Blue Silver
Police Officer / Detective Dark Blue Silver
Police Trainee Dark Blue w/ khaki pants None

The BPD offers promotional opportunities to members with at least three years of service. Promotion offers officers advancement into a supervisory position. Opportunities for advanced training are provided to members to enhance their growth after graduation from the police academy. Specialized training in firearms, defense tactics, and job-related topics such as basic criminal investigation are offered.[27] Hash marks for service are being implemented to be worn on the left sleeve the uniform as of 2015. One hash mark represents 5 years of service with the department.

Organization[edit]

Baltimore Police Officers at Camden Yards

The Commissioner is head of the department. Under the commissioner are three Deputy Commissioners, heading the Neighborhood Patrol, Investigation and Intelligence, and Professional Standards and Accountability Bureaus. In addition a civilian Chief Financial Officer oversees the Management Services Division.

Bishop L. Robinson, Sr. Police Administration Building

Office of the Police Commissioner[edit]

  • Chief of Staff
    • Media Relations Section
    • Governmental Affairs
    • Executive Protection Unit
  • Legal Affairs Section
Baltimore Police Southeast District

Neighborhood Patrol Bureau[edit]

  • Chief of Patrol
    • Night Commander
    • Area I
      • Baltimore Police Department Central District
        • Baltimore Police Department Headquarters Security Unit
      • Baltimore Police Department Southeastern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Southern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Special Operations Section Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department SWAT Platoon A Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department SWAT Platoon B Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department K-9 Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department Traffic Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department Aviation Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department Stadiums & Honor Guard Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department Special Events & Auxiliary Unit
        • Baltimore Police Department Emergency Service & Marine Unit
    • Area II
      • Baltimore Police Department Eastern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Northeastern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Northern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Special Enforcement Section Vice Unit
    • Area III
      • Baltimore Police Department Northwestern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Western District
      • Baltimore Police Department Southwestern District
      • Baltimore Police Department Adult & Juvenile Booking Court Liaison Unit
    • Baltimore Police Department Community Relations Division Unit
      • Baltimore Police Department Victim Services Unit
      • Baltimore Police Department Re-Entry Unit
      • Baltimore Police Department Neighborhood Services Liaison Unit
Baltimore Police Southern District

Investigations and Intelligence Bureau[edit]

  • Chief of Detectives
    • Homicide Unit
    • District Detective Unit
      • City Wide Robbery Unit
      • Advance Technical Unit
      • Witness Services Unit
    • Special Investigations Section
      • Arson Unit
      • State's Attorney's Liaison
      • Pawn Shop Unit
      • Economic Crimes Unit
      • Child Abuse
      • Missing Persons
      • Domestic Violence
      • Sex Offense
        • Sex Offender Registry Unit
    • Operational Intelligence Section
      • Task Force & HIDTA Teams
      • Cyber & Electronic Crimes Unit
      • Regional Auto Theft Task Force
      • Warrant Apprehension Task Force
      • Gun Offender Registry and Gun Trace Task Force
    • Analytical Intelligence Section
      • Watch Center
      • Crime Analysis
      • Citiwatch
      • Comstat Unit
    • Crime Laboratory Section

Professional Standards and Accountability Bureau[edit]

  • Internal Affairs
    • EEOC
  • Evidence Control Unit
  • Best Practices Unit
  • Office of Internal Oversight
  • General Accountability Office
    • Overtime and Secondary Employment Unit
    • UCR
    • Written Directives Unit
  • Education and Training Section
    • Police Academy
    • Professional Development
      • In-Service Training
    • Firearm Training Unit
      • Armory Unit
    • Administrative and Command Investigations Unit

Management Services Division[edit]

  • Information Technology Section
  • Human Resources Section
    • Personnel Administration
    • Recruitment Unit
    • Background Investigation Unit
    • Medical Unit
    • Light Duty Unit
  • Information Services Section
    • Communications Unit
      • Radio Shop
    • Records Management Section
      • Mail Room
      • Hot Desk & CHASE
      • Warrants & Identification
      • Criminal History
  • Fiscal Services
    • Property Section
      • Facilities Management
      • Fleet Management
      • Quartermaster Unit
    • Finance Section
      • Grants Unit

Police Commissioners[edit]

  • Charles Howard, 1860–62
  • Nicholas L.Wood, 1862–64
  • Samuel Hindes, 1864–66
  • James Young, 1866–67
  • LeFevre Jarrett, 1867–70
  • John W. Davis, 1870–71
  • William H.B. Fusselbaugh, 1871–81
  • George Colton, 1881–87
  • Edson M. Schryver, 1887–97
  • Daniel C. Heddinger, 1897–1900
  • George M. Upsher, 1900–04
  • George R. Willis, 1904–08
  • Sherlock Swann, 1908–10
  • John B.A. Wheltle, 1910–12
  • Morris A. Soper, 1912–13
  • James McEvoy, 1913–14
  • Daniel C. Ammidon, 1914–16
  • Lawrason Riggs, 1916–20
  • Charles D. Gaither, 1920–37
  • William Lawson, 1937–38
  • Robert F. Stanton, 1938–43
  • Hamilton R. Atkinson, 1943–49
  • Beverly Ober, 1949–55
  • James M. Hepbron, 1955–61
  • Bernard Schmidt, 1961–66
  • Donald D. Pomerleau, 1966–81
  • Frank J. Battaglia, 1981–84
  • Bishop L. Robinson, 1984-87 (first African American commissioner)[21]
  • Edward J. Tilghman, 1987–89
  • Edward V. Woods, 1989–93
  • Thomas C. Frazier, 1994–99
  • Ronald L.Daniel, 2000
  • Edward T. Norris, 2000–02
  • Kevin P. Clark, 2003–04
  • Leonard D. Hamm, 2004–2007
  • Frederick H. Bealefeld III, 2007–2012
  • Anthony W. Batts, September 2012 – July, 2015
  • Kevin Davis, Interim Commissioner, July, 2015

Equipment[edit]

Helicopter of the Baltimore Police Department
Motorcycles of the Baltimore Police Department
Baltimore Police Department Chevy Caprice PPV
Baltimore Police Department Chevy Caprice PPV with new livery

Fleet[edit]

The Baltimore Police Department fleet consists of primarily the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor and Chevrolet Caprice. Newer Versions of the Ford Taurus SHO and Chevrolet Caprice are being implemented. Some older Chevrolet Impalas may be seen as some are still in service. Motorcycles are Harley Davidson. Vehicles are white with blue and silver striping. A replica of an officer's badge is on the driver's and front passenger door. Unmarked Dodge Chargers, Chevrolet Cobalts and Impalas and assorted Kias are used by some command staff and specialized units. A new paint scheme with black as the primary color with blue and yellow stripes, is gradually being implemented into the fleet.

Weapons[edit]

The primary service weapon is the Glock 22 .40 caliber pistol. Officers are also issued a Monadnock expandable straight baton, Taser X26 and pepper spray. Remington 870 shotguns are available as well as a less lethal model of the 870. In heavy situations, SWAT officers may employ the use of the G36, which fires the 5.56 NATO round, the H&K UMP40, and M4 variants.

The espantoon is a type of wooden police baton that is distinct to the city of Baltimore and has been in use for generations. It is an ornate wood straight baton equipped with a swiveled leather strap with which it can be twirled. Between 1994 and 2000, the espantoon was banned in favor of the koga stick due to police commissioner Thomas Frazier's perception that its twirling intimidated the citizenry. In 2000, Edward T. Norris assumed the office of police commissioner and lifted the ban on the espantoon, although he did not mandate its use. The move was made as part of a general effort to boost morale and instill a more aggressive approach to policing in Baltimore. Norris stated, "When I found out what they meant to the rank and file, I said, 'Bring them back.' ... It is a tremendous part of the history of this Police Department." While the move did not make the espantoon an issued item by the department as it once was, it remains to this day an optional piece of carry equipment.[28][29]

Uniform[edit]

  • Standard uniform for the ranks of Sergeant and below is a navy blue shirt and pants, with a felt stripe going down the pant leg. Lieutenants and above wear a white shirt with navy blue pants. Police Officers, Detectives, and Sergeants wear collar devices denoting the district or specialized unit that they are assigned to on their collars. Lieutenants and above wear their rank insignias on their collars. Nametags are worn above the right breast pocket. Ties are worn with the long sleeve uniform shirt. Turtlenecks with BPD embroidered in gold letters at the collar may be worn with the long sleeve uniform in lieu of a tie. Short sleeve uniform shirts are authorized for warmer months.
  • 8 point peaked cap worn by officers has a Maryland Coat of Arms cap device, which is silver for the ranks of Police Officer, Detective, and Sergeant and gold for the ranks of Lieutenant and above. Police Officers and Detectives have black chin straps, Sergeants have a blue braid for their chin strap, and Lieutenants and above wear a gold chin strap. Captains and above have gold fretting on the bill of the cover and the state shield on the coat of arms is colored matching the actual colors. Police Officers have their matching badge number on their cover below the coat of arms, while ranks of detective and above have their corresponding ranks below the coat of arms.
  • Current badge was designed in 1976. The badge has an eagle perched on a shield, the eagle holding a ribbon in its beak with the officer's rank on the ribbon. The Maryland state shield with the Battle Monument in the middle of the badge. The word "Police" is below the Eagle on the top of the shield and "Baltimore Maryland" is at the bottom. Badge number is at the bottom of the shield. Badges are silver for the ranks of Police Officer, Detective, and Sergeant and gold for the ranks of Lieutenant and above.
  • Officers wear shoulder sleeve patches on both arms. The patch has "Baltimore Police" at the top in gold letters on a blue background and the Maryland state shield with the Battle Monument at the center. The patch has a gold border. The current patch was designed in 1975. The previous patch was the same design, but had "Baltimore City Police" at the top.

Awards[edit]

Medal of Honor:

Baltimore Police Medal of Honor.png

Awarded by the Police Commissioner to members who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and courage at the risk of their own lives, above and beyond the call of duty, in an extraordinary act of heroism and bravery without endangering or jeopardizing the lives of others and without detriment in any way to their sworn oath. A member must perform an act so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes superlative courage, beyond the call of duty, from lesser forms of bravery.

Silver Star:

Baltimore Police Silver Star.png

Awarded by the Police Commissioner for an exceptional act or execution of duty performed in the presence of great danger and personal risk without endangering or jeopardizing the lives of others, and performed in such a manner as to clearly indicate that the sworn member performance of duty should have resulted in the prevention or solution of a crime, the arrest of those responsible, and thereby sets apart and distinguishes the member from other members. To merit this award the act must be heroic, but not to the degree justifying the Medal of Honor. This award shall not be granted for arrests resulting solely from information of an informant.

Bronze Star:

Baltimore Police Bronze Star.png

Awarded by the Police Commissioner to sworn members who distinguish themselves by displaying exceptionally meritorious service to the department and to the community. The sworn member must have displayed abilities and exercised judgment well above the expected standard and thereby contributed materially to the success of a major mission, investigation or endeavor. It may be awarded for an act involving personal danger under aggravated or hostile circumstances and for protecting or saving the life of another.

Life Saving Award:

Baltimore Police Life Saver Award.png

Awarded by the Police Commissioner to sworn members who save the life of another person by decisive action. Situations include: CPR, Heimlich Maneuver; prompt application of first aid in potentially fatal situation; and any other act that saves a life and is not strictly a police related function.

Distinguished Service:

Baltimore Police Distinguished Service.png

Awarded by the Police Commissioner to members who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious service. The Distinguished Service Award may be awarded to sworn and civilian members who have displayed their abilities well above the expected standards reflecting technical or administrative achievement or exceptional leadership in achieving a specific goal, objective or innovation. It distinguishes the individual’s performance which is identifiable in achievement, effect or consequence.

Commendation:

Baltimore Police Commendation.png

To merit this award, the act of service must be accomplished or performed in a manner above that normally expected. It must be sufficient to distinguish the individual member above those of comparable position and responsibility and reflect a highly credible accomplishment. The award may be given for submitting an adopted suggestion which constitutes a definite contribution to the department, such as, invention or innovation resulting in an improved design, procedure, organization or relating to crime prevention or crime resistance. It may be awarded when members have displayed extraordinary intelligence, coverage and ability in effecting arrests, preventing a crime or solving a case.

Citation of Valor:

Baltimore Police Citation of Valor.png

Sworn members who have sustained gunshot wounds, stab wounds, or serious injury under aggravated and hostile circumstances which could result in death or permanent disability while acting in their official capacity are eligible for this award. Authority for the issuance of the Citation of Valor lies solely with the Police Commissioner.

Unit Citation:

Baltimore Police Unit Citation.png

Any bureau, division, district, section, subdivision, unit or squad of members of the department is eligible for this award. The Unit Citation is awarded by the District Commander/Commanding Officer (or designee) to commend extraordinary law enforcement performance, attention to duty, contribution to this agency or to the general welfare of the citizens of the City of Baltimore. The criteria for the awarding of this recognition is the same as that for the “Commendation” when a group effort is recognized. The mutual and full participation of all unit members in the cited activity must be explained in detail in order to be considered for this unit distinction.

1968 Riot Ribbon:

The Special Commendation of 1968.png

Only sworn member of the department on duty in the City of Baltimore during the period of civil unrest, 5 April through 14 April 1968, were eligible for this award.

Eastern District Initiative:

The Special Commendation of the Eastern District Initiative.png

For Officers involved in special initiative in the Eastern District.

Commissioner Award 2000:

The Special Commendation of 2000.png

In 2000 Commissioner Edward Norris presented this commendation to every officer that worked that year, as it was one of the first years that shootings and homicides had been significantly reduced from year prior.

Safe Driving Award:

Safe Driving Award.png
10 Year Safe Driving Award.png
15 Year Safe Driving Award.png
20 Year Safe Driving Award.png

Safe Driving Awards were presented to encourage safe driving, they were at one time given out every year that an officer went without having an accident. Then they stopped giving them out, apparently there came a time when they felt it might be a good idea to bring them back, but they did with a slight change, instead of every year, they started giving them out in five year blocks, a 5, a 10, a 15, 20 and 25 year pin was made, the 10 year pin has a silver star in its center, followed by the 15 with 2 stars, 20 with 3 stars and 25 with 4 stars.

Line of duty deaths[edit]

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, BPD has lost 136 officers in the line of duty since 1808, the most recent on January 9, 2015.[30] This figure includes officers from other agencies that were absorbed by or became part of the modern BPD in addition to the modern department itself. This number also includes officers killed on and off duty by gunfire of other officers on duty.

Type Number
Accidental 3
Aircraft accident 1
Assault 2
Automobile accident 11
Drowned 2
Duty related illness 5
Electrocuted 2
Fall 2
Fire 2
Gunfire 65
Gunfire (accidental) 4
Heart attack 7
Motorcycle accident 4
Stabbed 2
Struck by streetcar 3
Struck by train 3
Struck by vehicle 7
Vehicle pursuit 2
Vehicular assault 9
Total 136

Controversy[edit]

BPD has experienced negative publicity in recent years due to several high-profile corruption and brutality allegations, including the 2005 arrest of Officers William A. King and Antonio L. Murray by the FBI for federal drug conspiracy charges.[31]

Criticism[edit]

During the past generation, the Baltimore Police Department has faced criticism from local media, elected officials, and citizen advocacy groups. The criticism has pertained to the high crime rate in the city of Baltimore, which in some years has been ranked among the highest in the nation.[32]

Arrests for minor offenses[edit]

In the mid-2000s, Maryland State Delegate, the Honorable Jill P. Carter, daughter of the late civil rights champion, Walter P. Carter, exposed numerous cases of the Baltimore City Police arresting people for seemingly minor offenses, detaining them at Central Booking for several hours. Many were released without charges. Some were reportedly detained at Central Booking for several days before seeing a court commissioner. All arrestees in Maryland are required to have an initial appearance before a court commissioner within 24 hours of their arrest.

It should also be noted that correctional officers at Central Booking were rumored to be on a work slowdown during this time. Corrections personnel are prohibited from striking.[citation needed]

The exposure of these cases led to judicial and legislative action. In 2005, the Maryland Court of Appeals ordered all arrestees not charged within 24 hours to be released.

On May 16, 2006, a Baltimore city police officer, Natalie Preston, arrested a Virginian couple for asking for directions to a major highway. The couple, released after seven hours in city jail, were not charged with any crime. They were initially taken into custody for trespassing on a public street. Their vehicle was impounded at the city lot, with windows down and doors unlocked, resulting in theft of several personal items.[33]

In 2007, the state of Maryland passed a law requiring the automatic expungement of the record of one who is arrested, but then released without being charged, thereby eliminating the dilemma many such victims faced that would prevent them from passing a criminal background check if the record remained, but would not allow for a wrongful arrest lawsuit if the record were expunged.[34]

On June 23, 2010, a $870,000 comprehensive settlement was reached which culminated more than a year of negotiations between the city and plaintiffs. The settlement provides for far-reaching reforms of the BPD's arrest and monitoring practices. The suit, which was filed in 2006, and amended in 2007, was brought on behalf of thirteen individual plaintiffs and the Maryland State Conference and Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP.[35]

Notable incidents[edit]

Police Commissioner James M. Hepbron[edit]

Police Commissioner James M. Hepbron was subject to a hearing led by Delegate Jerome Robinson February 19, 1959, specifications against the commissioner included flouting of rights, errors in judgment and brutal concepts of policing.[36] In the 90 day public hearing and investigation, fourth district delegate Robinson stated that the commissioner "demonstrate[d] lack of a sense of propriety and in several respects a lack of comprehension on the part of the commissioner of the nature of his duties, the functions of the department, and the obligations to the citizenry" [36] During the public hearing Hepbron incessantly left the hearing and/or refused to answer specifications against him. Delegate Jerome Robinson, the igniter of the hearing, had a long history of challenging wiretapping and search warrants as unconstitutional, citing they violate natural rights of the citizen. During the hearing, Delegate Robinson urged the police commissioner to resign and that his resignation would be in the interest of the public. Robinson's contempt for Hepbron was clear when he wrote, "it is obvious that he has outlived his position. His administration has produced continuing deterioration and the demoralization of the department".[37] The charges against Hepbron include unlawful wiretapping, phony evidence planted for the purpose of obtaining convictions, perjury, mass arrests and "instances of unbelievable brutality" and illegal detention, all of which had occurred in alarming numbers.[38] Charges included, 1. Flouting of the civil and constitutional rights of the citizens of Baltimore City. Illegal taps of private and public telephone lines. 2. Errors in judgment and administration. 3. Concepts of policing which, because of brutality and insentivity, are shocking to decent thinking people.[38]

While Hepbron's charges were ones with over a dozen wiretaps and countless hours of footage, Hebron denied to address he was acting illegally and against the courts. Delegate Robinson also cited 36 cases where the cases were dropped and/or defendants were released from penal detention because police had framed defendants and the evidence was planted for conviction. Delegate Robinson called these offenses, "a creature of commissioner Hepbron". Delegate Robinson also cited the Green Spring Avenue assault by a police officer on a 15-year-old boy, as well as countless shootings of unarmed auto-thieves and illegal raids on properly licensed establishments as charges against Hepbron. At one point Robinson stated the head of the city police was "an SS officer in a Chesterfield coat who is impatient with the Bill of Rights and intolerant of the constitutional liberties and prerogatives of the people" [39] Wiretapping was a crusade of Robinson's, believing it was against Federal law, he enacted this law to ensure state agents did not break federal law or the rights of individuals. He perceived Hepbron's actions as an affront to law and order.

Alvin J.T. Zumbrun, former managing director of the Criminal Justice Commission, issued a statement against Fourth District Democrat Robinson in the police commissioner's defense. He described the charges brought against Hepbron "the utterances of an angry madman possessed with the mania to have the police commissioner removed at all costs" [40] In addition, Zumbrun cited multiple details and instances wherein he stated that Robinson had lied, citing instances as small as a phone call, office visit or passing informal greeting by Robinson to Zumbrun. While Zumbrun's evidence never addressed actual police violations of state law, Zumbrun continued to press for the expulsion of Robinson of the General Assembly of Maryland to Governor J. Millard Tawes

Ed Norris[edit]

Former Commissioner Ed Norris was indicted on three charges by US Attorney Thomas DiBiagio.[when?] Two of the counts charged Norris had made illegal personal expenditures from the Baltimore Police Department's supplemental account. The third count alleged that he had lied on a mortgage application, stating that approximately $9,000 he received from his father was not a gift—as was stated in the loan papers—but a loan. As part of a plea bargain in May 2004, Norris pleaded guilty to the first two counts and was sentenced to six months in federal prison, six months of home detention, and 500 hours of community service, which Judge Dick Bennett said must be served in Baltimore. The plea bargain avoided a possible 30-year sentence on the mortgage fraud charge.

Flex Squad scandal[edit]

A rash of high profile corruption and brutality allegations have surfaced in late 2005 and early 2006, including the suspensions and arrests of Southwestern District flex squad officers for the alleged rape of a 22-year-old woman they had taken into custody for illegal possession of narcotics. All criminal charges against the accused officers have since been dropped.[41]

Stories surfaced about flex squad officers planting evidence on citizens. Murder charges were dropped by the city when it was revealed that a gunman was dropped off in rival gang territory after a police interrogation in a squad car. The man was beaten badly and exacted his revenge the next day. The squad's role in the shooting prompted State's Attorney Patricia Jessamy to drop the charges.

Detectives Murray and King[edit]

William A. King and Antonio L. Murray are two former Baltimore Police Department officers sentenced to a total of 454 years in prison after an FBI investigation in 2005. The conviction of King and Murray came about due to the work of the Baltimore-based Stop Snitchin' campaign, in which the two officers were identified on video as being involved in drug dealing.

Gerard Mungo[edit]

On March 17, 2007, police arrested 7-year-old Gerard Mungo while sitting in front of his house on a dirtbike. Though he was seated on the dirtbike at the time of the arrest, officers reported they saw him riding it earlier. Baltimore City local law prohibits the operation of vehicles with an engine capacity of less than 50cc inside the city limits. However, police ordinances passed by city council, Article 19 Section 40-6 states that any and all unregistered motor bikes, dirt bikes, scooters, or anything similar in nature is illegal in Baltimore City. Officers stated they were "following procedure" in making a physical arrest. The boy's mother soon was arrested for disorderly conduct a few weeks later in an unrelated incident when she tried to bar plain clothes officers from entering her sister's apartment in pursuit of a felony drug suspect.[42]


Officer John Torres[edit]

In 2008 Baltimore police officer John Torres shot and killed another officer, Norman Stamp. In 2014 Torres was arrested for attempted murder. The Baltimore Police Department has been accused of a coverup.[43]

Salvatore Rivieri[edit]

Salvatore Rivieri
Police career
Department Baltimore Police Department
Country United States
Years of service 1991 - 2010
Rank Sworn in as an officer - 1991

Salvatore Rivieri was a Baltimore, Maryland, police officer who came to national attention in February 2008 following the release of two videos depicting separate incidents of him verbally assaulting and manhandling citizens.

The first video was posted to YouTube on February 9, 2008[44] and showed Officer Rivieri berating and manhandling a 14-year-old-boy, Eric Bush, who had been skateboarding in a tourist area of Inner Harbor where skateboarding is not permitted. In the video, Rivieri threatened to "smack [Bush] upside the head" if he continued to "back-talk." Rivieri also said that someone would kill Bush if he did not learn "the meaning of respect." Rivieri seemed particularly irate by the boy addressing him as "dude". "I am not a dude, a dude is someone who works on a ranch!" Rivieri shouts on the tape. After the video surfaced, Rivieri was suspended with pay while the Baltimore Police Department conducted an investigation.[45] The story made national headlines[46] and prompted another man to come forward with footage of an earlier confrontation with the officer.

On February 15, 2008, WMAR-TV (an ABC News affiliate in Baltimore) aired a second video involving Officer Rivieri, in which he confronted an artist from Washington, DC.[47] The artist, Billy Friebele, was making a film that depicted the reactions of passersby to a small box he was moving around a sidewalk with a remote controlled car. The footage shows Rivieri kicking the box and then the small car across the pavement before confronting Friebele.[48]

In the wake of the incidents in April 2008, the Baltimore Police Department made wholesale changes to the leadership of the unit patrolling the city's Inner Harbor. A new lieutenant and sergeant took command of the 12 officers in charge of patrolling the area from the edge of Federal Hill to the Fallsway, near Pier 5. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the police department, said: "Given the extreme nature of that incident, we thought it was important for the officers to brush up on their interpersonal skills."[49]

The mother of the boy filed a suit against Rivieri in April 2008, two months after the video was widely circulated, seeking $6 million for assault, battery and violation of rights. The city sought to have the suit dismissed, because, among other things, such claims must be filed within 180 days of the incident; but the family's attorney argued that the statute of limitations did not apply to a minor. On December 11, 2008, Baltimore Circuit Judge Marcus Z. Shar ruled that the lawsuit could proceed, despite being filed late.[50]

On September 14, 2009, Rivieri was granted a "motion for summary judgment to dismiss" by Circuit Judge Evelyn Cannon. William P. Blackford, the attorney for the Bush family, said of the judgment: "The family is incredibly disappointed, and feels wronged...they've had their day in court taken away."[51]

In early 2009, the Baltimore Police Department cited death threats Rivieri received after the YouTube video surfaced as a reason for implementing a new policy of not disclosing the names of police officers who shoot or kill citizens.[52]

Rivieri was eventually cleared by an internal police panel of using excessive force and discourtesies, but convicted of administrative charges of failing to write a report. The panel recommended that he be suspended five days, but Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III disagreed and fired him.[53]

On February 28, 2011, the firing of Rivieri was upheld.[54]

Anthony Fata[edit]

In January 2011, Detective Anthony Fata reported he had been shot in a parking structure near police headquarters. In August 2013, he was convicted on various charges on benefits fraud having shot himself.[55]

Daniel G. Redd[edit]

On July 19, 2011, Officer Daniel G. Redd was arrested for drug trafficking. While on trial, Redd has admitted to being involved in the process to distribute heroin. Redd is believed to be the first Baltimore Police officer charged with drug trafficking since William King and Antonio Murray were charged with shaking down drug suspects and then selling the drugs themselves. Both those officers received life in federal prison.[citation needed] Redd was sentenced to twenty years in custody in September 2012.[56]

Majestic towing scandal[edit]

In May, 2012, Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld III directed a team that included agents from the FBI that used wiretaps and other techniques to break up a major corruption scandal centered around the Majestic Auto Body shop. The shop paid Baltimore police officers a fee when they called Majestic tow trucks to the scene of an accident. In all, 17 officers plead guilty to charges. At least another 37 officers were involved.[57]

Lamin Manneh[edit]

In August 2013, Officer Lamin Manneh was indicted on charges he was acting as a pimp for his own wife and another woman. In November 2014, he was convicted of violation of the Mann Act.[58]

James Walton Smith[edit]

In the same month Officer James Walton Smith killed himself while in custody while awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend.[59]

Kendell Richburg[edit]

In October 2013, Officer Kendell Richburg was sentenced eight years in prison on a number of charges. He pled guilty of conspiring with a local drug dealer. The officer would protect the dealer from arrest while he in turn provided information on his customers allowing Richburg to easily arrest them.[60]

Christopher Robinson[edit]

Also in the same month, Officer Christopher Robinson shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and her new partner before killing himself. [61]

Ashley Roane[edit]

In November 2013, Officer Ashley Roane pled guilty to charges related to a scheme to sell Social Security numbers. She admitted to having used official computers to access personal information which she then passed on to others who used the information to defraud the government. She also admitted to protecting persons she thought were transporting large amounts of heroin in the city.[62] In February 2014, she was sentenced to five years in prison.[63]

Arrest for video recording[edit]

In March 2014, the city of Baltimore agreed to pay $250,000 to a man who was arrested at the Preakness Stakes in 2010 for recording police officers with his mobile phone. The city admitted no misconduct and said it was unable to identify the officers who arrested Christopher Sharp, but agreed to pay to settle the matter.[64]

Frederick Allen[edit]

In April 2014, Officer Frederick Allen pleaded guilty to two counts of a sexual abuse of a minor. The abuse started in 2005 when the girl was fifteen years old and working with the Police Athletic League. Allen was fired from the department.[65]

Alec Eugene Taylor[edit]

In August 2014, Officer Alec Eugene Taylor pleaded guilty to felony animal cruelty. He killed his girlfriend's puppy.[66]

Freddie Gray[edit]

Main article: Death of Freddie Gray

On April 12, 2015, 25-year-old African American Freddie Gray was taken into custody by the Baltimore Police Department for the alleged possession of a switchblade, later found by subsequent investigations to be a legal folding knife.[67] Whilst being transported, Gray had experienced what was described by officers as a "medical emergency"; within an hour of his arrest, Gray had fallen into a coma and had been taken to a trauma center, where it was determined that he had suffered from a spinal injury. According to his family, Gray's spine was "80% severed" at his neck, he had three fractured vertebrae, and his larynx was injured. The events that led to the injuries are unclear; Officer Garrett Miller claimed that Gray was arrested "without force or incident."

Despite extensive surgery in an attempt to save his life, Gray died on April 19, 2015. Pending an investigation, six Baltimore police officers were temporarily suspended with pay. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts reported that the officers "failed to get [Gray] medical attention in a timely manner multiple times", and did not buckle him in the van while he was being transported to the police station.

The death of Gray resulted in the 2015 Baltimore riots; a major protest event in downtown Baltimore on April 25, 2015 turned violent, resulting in 34 arrests and the injuries of 15 police officers. Following Gray's funeral on April 27, the unrest intensified with the looting and burning of local businesses and a CVS pharmaceutical store, culminating with the deployment of the Maryland National Guard to Baltimore and declaration of a state of emergency by Governor Larry Hogan.

On May 1, the six officers were charged in Gray's death. One officer was charged with second degree murder, which carries a penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment, while the five others were charged with crimes ranging from involuntary manslaughter to illegal arrest.

In popular culture[edit]

Controversy[edit]

The portrayals of Baltimore City in The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street have received negative criticism from several notable Baltimore politicians, such as former mayor and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley and former mayor Sheila Dixon. Both politicians have argued that the shows glorify the levels of violence within the city and give Baltimore a negative image.[69][70] In contrast, the police department has been relatively supportive of the shows, stating that the crime within the city has been accurately portrayed.[71] Several current and former members of the police force have served as technical advisors for the Baltimore-based shows and some, such as former Major Gary D'Addario, have allegedly been either dismissed or forced to retire from the department for assisting the shows' producers and directors.[72]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  15. ^ Simon, David (2006) [1991]. "two". Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (4th ed.). Owl Books. p. 111. ISBN 0-8050-8075-9. black officers were still prohibited from riding in radio cars-legally prohibited.... limited in rank, then quarantined on foot posts in the slums or used in the fledging narcotics unit. On the street, they endured the silence of white colleagues; in the station house they were insulted by racial remarks at roll calls and shift changes. 
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External links[edit]