Stan Valchek

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Stanislaus Valchek
The Wire Valcheck.jpg
First appearance"The Buys" (2002)
Last appearance"–30–" (2008)
Created byDavid Simon
Portrayed byAl Brown
OccupationBaltimore Police
ChildrenJoan Pryzbylewski (daughter)
RelativesRoland Pryzbylewski (son-in-law)

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


Valchek is the corrupt Polish-American commander of the Baltimore Police Department in the Southeastern district, home to many of the remaining ethnic white neighborhoods in Baltimore. A politician more than a policeman, he has ties with various Democratic organizations close to City Hall, most notably the politically influential developer Andrew Krawczyk. His political savvy leads to a quick rise through the ranks, despite being disliked by commanding officers such as Commissioner Ervin Burrell and Deputy Commissioner William Rawls. Valchek is Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski's father-in-law.

Season 1[edit]

Valchek only appears at a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Burrell and Lieutenant Cedric Daniels, trying to smooth over Prez's drunken maiming of a fourteen-year-old. Valchek tells Daniels that if he helps Prez, Valchek will owe him a favor.

Season 2[edit]

Valchek is the impetus behind an investigation into corruption at the docks, due to his petty feud with stevedore union treasurer Frank Sobotka. Both men want to donate stained glass windows to a local church, and Sobotka refuses to withdraw his larger, more expensive window which had been installed first. Valchek becomes curious as to how the struggling union can afford the window. He has the cops in his district harass Sobotka and his union, from having Ellis Carver ticket their cars for minor infractions to pulling them over for "random" DUI checkpoints directly outside the bar they frequent. The union steals Valchek's surveillance van and ships it from port to port, sending him photographs from each destination.

Valchek discusses the union with Krawczyk, who knows of Sobotka making numerous campaign contributions. Valchek feels there is a possibility of illegal activity, while at the same time noticing Burrell's nomination for Acting Commissioner. Knowing that Burrell has trouble finding support with the first district council members, Valchek offers Burrell political influence in exchange for a special unit devoted to investigating Sobotka, with Prez as the lead investigator. Burrell has Rawls send an investigative team from CID who turn out to be dead-weight "humps." When Valchek witnesses the task force's lack of work ethic, he blackmails Burrell into providing him a real police detail led by Daniels.

As the investigation expands to cover Greek drug traffickers, Sobotka ceases to be the primary target. An angered Valchek goes to the FBI to try to refocus the investigation, but the Bureau remains more focused on the union than Sobotka. Valchek confronts Daniels' team, insulting and shoving Prez, who responds by punching Valchek in the face. Furious, he disowns Prez and threatens to have him dismissed from the BPD. Daniels convinces him to reduce Prez's punishment, pointing out that any official action will have to mention that Valchek provoked the attack. Valchek grudgingly assigns Prez to two months of duty on the midnight shift at the district's narcotics unit, and accepts a letter of apology in exchange for not charging him.

At the close of the investigation, Valchek delights in personally arresting Sobotka, and holds him in the union offices until he can be publicly dragged out in front of the press. Sobotka is later killed, but the surveillance van is still being shipped around the world.[1] Although Valchek harbors great animosity towards Sobotka during the whole season, after Sobotka's death he whispers "Spoczywaj w pokoju" (Polish for "rest in peace").

Season 3[edit]

Valchek sets up a meeting between Burrell and Tommy Carcetti, a city councilman from Valchek's district, knowing that Carcetti is doing deals behind Mayor Clarence Royce's back. When Royce pressures the BPD to lower crime rates in each district, Valchek announces plans to increase foot patrols in his district's housing projects, use more of his flex squads, request more overtime and "juke the stats" if all else fails.

Valchek is surprised and amused when Major Howard "Bunny" Colvin stands up to Rawls and questions how to juke the stats with regard to dead bodies. He is amused by Colvin's proposal of drug legalization (ostensibly as a joke) to decrease the felonies in the Western District. Later, during the pursuit of a suspect, Prez accidentally kills a black plainclothes officer. Despite disowning him earlier, Valchek uses his influence to have the charges dismissed.[2]

Season 4[edit]

After Thomas "Herc" Hauk, a member of Royce's security detail, catches the mayor receiving fellatio from a secretary, Valchek mentors him on taking advantage of the situation. Acting on Valchek's advice, Herc is promoted to sergeant. Valchek supports Carcetti in the race for mayor, and leaks information on the murder of a state's witness that helps Carcetti best Royce in a debate. When Valchek leaks the news of Burrell's assignment of rookie Kima Greggs on the state's witness case, the fallout leads to Royce deciding to fire Burrell as commissioner. Before this happens, Carcetti is elected Mayor and Burrell hangs on to his position.

Carcetti informs Rawls that Valchek will be promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Administration as a reward for his loyalty, but 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 shifts and Carcetti begins plotting to oust Burrell, Valchek points out to Rawls that Daniels, now promoted to Colonel, is more likely replace Burrell as Commissioner because he is black.[3]

Season 5[edit]

Valchek leaks the BPD's statistics on increased crime to Mayor Carcetti, urging that both Burrell and Rawls should be fired. He also suggests that Carcetti promote him to Acting Commissioner until 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 pressure from the City Council and the 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 that Valchek already released the actual numbers. With the clean and juked statistics in his possession, Carcetti is able to fire Burrell; he leaks a story to the Sun with Daniels' photograph in an effort to appease black voters about the consideration for a change of Commissioner.

In the series finale, Daniels is named Commissioner but resigns to prevent an FBI case against him from going public. Valchek is then promoted to the position of Commissioner (with a full five-year term) by new mayor Nerese Campbell. Valchek is not well regarded for his police work throughout the BPD, as mentioned by Leandor Sydnor when he visits Judge Daniel Phelan to get some back-channel pressure applied to a case and mentions how the current police commissioner "doesn't have an idea of what police work is".


  1. ^ Dan Kois (2004). "Everything you were afraid to ask about "The Wire"". 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.