James M. Hepbron

Tuesday, 20 July 2021 04:11 Written by

HEPBRON 72Police Commissioner James M. Hepbron 
1955 until 1961
Painting by Stanislav Rembski

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HepbronJames M. Hepbron

dogs forwebOne of The American City’s first reports on police dogs appeared in an October 1957 article by James Hepbron, Baltimore’s police commissioner. According to the article, the idea for adding the dogs to the police force came from residents, who read a 1956 newspaper series about Scotland Yard’s police dogs in London. A veteran of the U.S. Marine’s K-9 Corps volunteered to start the city’s training program, and one man offered the use of his German shepherd. Soon, a patrolman donated a second dog and asked to be assigned to the corps. The department expanded the K-9 unit with six more donated dogs in January 1957. In their first year, Baltimore’s police dogs participated in 175 arrests, and “almost daily police officers report that fugitives immediately give up any idea of fleeing at the sight of a dog.”

 

Two years later, Baltimore’s K-9 Corps included 21 trained dogs, according to a November 1959 American City report. The officers that worked with the dogs had to volunteer for the job and were charged with caring for the dogs at all times. The department required that its dogs were male German shepherds with an even temperament. They were trained first in obedience, then in attack work, and then to locate lost persons, criminals and evidence.

 

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Word of Baltimore’s successful experiences with police dogs soon spread, and the department trained other departments to establish their own K-9 units. The May 1962 edition carried a report on Lancaster, Pa.’s decision to start a K-9 Corps after officers visited Baltimore in 1959. Lancaster modeled its unit after Baltimore, asking residents to donate dogs to the corps, and selecting six handlers from among police volunteers. The Baltimore Police Department trained one of Lancaster’s officers, who then trained the five additional handlers. They built obstacles and trained the dogs to climb ramps, crawl through pipes and jump barriers. Lancaster officers soon discovered that not every donated dog would be suited for police work. One of its early lessons: “A dog, to be effective in police work, must be a ‘people-biter.’”

 

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Commissioner James M. Hepbron was subject to a hearing on February 19, 1959, led by Jerome Robinson, Democratic State Delegate for the fourth district. Delegate Robinson had a long history of challenging wiretapping and search warrants, as he believed the practice unconstitutional, against Federal law and a violation of the natural rights of the citizen. In the 90-day public hearing and investigation, 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" During the public hearing Hepbron incessantly left the hearing and/or refused to answer specifications against him.

During the hearing, Robinson urged the commissioner to resign in the public interest. Robinson wrote, "it is obvious that he has outlived his position. His administration has produced continuing deterioration and the demoralization of the department".

The charges against Hepbron included:

  • Flouting of the civil and constitutional rights of the citizens of Baltimore City. Illegal taps of private and public telephone lines.
  • Errors in judgment and administration.
  • Concepts of policing which, because of brutality and insentivity, are shocking to decent thinking people.

Despite considerable evidence, Hebron denied to address he was acting illegally. Delegate Robinson cited 36 cases where the cases were dropped or defendants released because of planted evidence and other means of framing suspects. He called these offenses, "a creature of commissioner Hepbron". Robinson also cited the Green Spring Avenue assault by a police officer of a 15-year-old boy, countless shootings of unarmed auto-thieves, and illegal raids on properly licensed establishments. 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"

Alvin J. T. Zumbrun, former managing director of the Criminal Justice Commission, issued a statement against Robinson in the 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" Zumbrun cited details of multiple instances where he believed 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

 

James Hepbron's Book on the Penal System HERE

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Donations

Donations help with web hosting, stamps and materials and the cost of keeping the website online. Thank you so much for helping BCPH. 

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POLICE INFORMATION

If you have copies of: your Baltimore Police Department Class Photo, Pictures of our Officers, Vehicles, Equipment, Newspaper Articles relating to our department and or officers, Old Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, and or Brochures. Information on Deceased Officers and anything that may help Preserve the History and Proud Traditions of this agency. Please contact Retired Detective Kenny Driscoll.

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NOTICE

How to Dispose of Old Police Items

Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department. Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll 

 

Broken Windows Theory

Thursday, 14 May 2020 05:48 Written by

Baltimore Police Department
Broken Windows Theory

The Broken Windows Theory, is an academic theory proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982 that used broken windows as a metaphor for disorder within neighborhoods. Their theory links disorder and rudeness within a community to subsequent occurrences of crime. First small nuisances that will become small crimes, and small crimes become big crimes.

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Broken windows was developed by two academics, but it was never offered as an academic theory in the peer-reviewed journals.  It emerged as a piece in Atlantic Monthly, a somewhat sophisticated magazine.  The theory is been much maligned in the media of late because it has been conflated with some terrible ideas and racist practices such as “zero tolerance policing” and “stop and frisk” tactics.  The actual application of the theory to neighborhood policing dictates a specific type of partnership between police and citizens that would, if implemented properly, improve relationships between citizens and police.  The major flaw of the theory seems to be that it is an oversimplification of a complex set of social phenomena, and thus lacks much empirical support.

Since criminologist George L. Kelling and his coauthor James Q. Wilson published their “broken windows” more than 30 years ago, it has become a sort of “standard” theoretical explanation of why community policing is a good idea.  It was quickly taken up by several major police departments, including the LAPD, as part of community policing. It called for the building of police and community partnerships that would seek to prevent local crime and to create order. The basic logic was the simple premise that interrupting minor offenses before they could snowball and open the door to serious crimes, including violent crimes. 

At the core of the Broken Windows thesis is that incivilities beget further incivilities, and the severity of the incivilities gets worse over time.  At some point, the mere incivilities evolve into serious crime if the causal chain is not broken. It is important to note that Broken Windows does not suggest how problems should be solved, and it certainly never specifies that arrest is always the most appropriate tool.  Heavy-handed tactics like New York’s “stop and frisk” program cannot be reconciled with Broken Windows, nor with the problem-oriented approach that is often found in conjunction with it.

Prior to the advancement of various incivility theories such as broken windows, policing scholars and the police themselves tended to focus on serious crime.  The major concern was always with crimes that were perceived to be the most serious and consequential for the victim, such as rape, robbery, and murder. Wilson and Kelling viewed the crime problem from a different, more holistic vantage point. They saw “serious crime” as the ultimate outcome of a much longer chain of neighborhood phenomena, theorizing that crime stemmed from “disorder,” and that if disorder dissipated, then serious crimes would not occur.

The link between disorder and crime was theorized to be mediated by fear of crime, an important social variable in its own right.  Wilson and Kelling’s theory further postulates that the proliferation of disorder creates fear in the minds of citizens who are persuaded that the neighborhood is unsafe.  The fear of crime, which can range in intensity from a slight unease to a debilitating fear of victimization, causes residents to withdraw behind closed doors in order to remain safe. This withdrawal from the community weakens social controls that previously kept criminals in check. Once this process begins, the theory suggests, it tends to start a destructive feedback loop. Neighborhood disorder causes crime, and crime encourages yet more disorder and crime.  

A major aspect of the popularity of Broken Windows is the fact that it creates a theoretical framework for police practice.  Most criminological theories support changes in macro-level social policy rather than police policy within the framework of community policing. Earlier social disorganization theories offered solutions that were highly political, costly to develop and implement, and would take a long time to demonstrate any effectiveness.  These theoretical causes of neighborhood problems and crime are more appropriate to legislatures than they are to police departments. Broken Windows theory is seen by many as a way to institute rapid neighborhood-level change with minimal expense by simply altering the police crime-control strategy. It is far easier and less costly to attack “disorder” than it is to assail such daunting social ills as poverty and deficient education.  

References

Kelling, G. L. & Wilson, J. Q. (1982). Broken Windows:  The police and neighborhood safety.  The Atlantic.

Credit to author Adam J. McKee, Ph.D.

From <https://www.docmckee.com/WP/oer/criminology/criminology-section-6-4/

 

 
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Donations help with web hosting, stamps and materials and the cost of keeping the website online. Thank you so much for helping BCPH. 

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POLICE INFORMATION

Copies of: Your Baltimore Police Department Class Photo, Pictures of our Officers, Vehicles, Equipment, Newspaper Articles relating to our department and or officers, Old Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, and or Brochures. Information on Deceased Officers and anything that may help Preserve the History and Proud Traditions of this agency. Please contact Retired Detective Kenny Driscoll.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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NOTICE

How to Dispose of Old Police Items

Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222

 

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll 

Kathleen Irwin Conrad

Thursday, 23 April 2020 01:38 Written by

Kathleen Irwin Conrad
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14 March 2003

Anne Arundel
Police Say Assault Measure is Needed
14 March 2003
They Asked the Senate to Make Attack on Officer a Felony House Has Passed a Bill
Sun Staff Julie Bykowicz

A 54 second arrest attempt ended Kathleen Irwin’s 11 year career as a Baltimore police officer and left her bedridden and in a full body brace for months.

The drunken man who shoved her into a metal shelving unit ruptured a disc in her lower back, was charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced to 18 months of unsupervised probation.

This legislative session, police officers have stepped up their efforts for passage of a bill that would make assaulting an officer a felony. After four consecutive years of failure, the bill has made it further than ever this year.

“It is my belief that if I were able to charge this suspect as a felon, he would’ve gotten a more appropriate penalty,” Irwin told state senators this week at a hearing of the Senate judicial proceedings committee.

The house version of the bill passed 134 to 0 last week, and it Senate twin has 22 cosponsors of it makes it out of committee, the bill will need a simple majority of 24 votes in the Senate to head to the governor’s desk.

“This will give police officers one more weapon in their arsenal,” said O’Brien Atkinson, president of the Anne Arundel County fraternal order of police.

“A lot of seriousness goes along with being a convicted felon, and criminals know that.” Marilyn ranks fourth in the nation for assaults on law enforcement officers, with about 29 out of 100 officers assaulted in the line of duty each year

Of the 3947 officers assaulted in 2001, 572 were seriously injured, according to the latest uniform crime report available.

Officers say the current felony assault law, which requires intent, does not work for them because their injuries are more often the result of someone struggling to escape custody then from someone deliberately trying to hurt them.

Animal cruelty laws make it an automatic felony to assault the police dog, something law enforcement officers repeatedly pointed out at Tuesday’s hearing.

“Worthy of no less”

“Surely the men and women who protect you are worthy of no less consideration,” Anne Arundel County Sheriff George F. Johnson the fourth said during the hearing.

Anne Arundel County law enforcement agencies and unions who were closest to the state capital. Have campaigned hard for the bill, showing up in droves each time there is action on it.

Sen. Janet Greenup, and Anne Arundel County Republican, introduced a bill in January. She said a heavily amended version of her Bill addressed the concerns of some of her fellow legislators that every scuffle with police might qualify as a felony assault. The bill excludes “minor, temporary injuries.”

Greenup began pushing for the bill last year as a delicate when it failed to make it out of committee, she brought it to the floor as an amendment to a crime bill.

“People are finally waking up to the fact that we need these policeman, and we need to protect them in any way that we can,” Greenup said

Staunch Oposition

The bills staunchest opponent have been defense attorneys, who say putting law enforcement officers into a special category could drive a wedge between police officers in the community they serve.

Testifying against the bill Tuesday, Stanley D. Jenner, a public defender in Baltimore, said it is “against public policy, this appropriate disproportionate and unnecessary.” Prosecutors on the bill. Douglas F. Gansler, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney, spoke in favor of the bill. William M teeth, and Anne Arundel prosecutor who tracks legislation for the Maryland state attorneys Association criticized it. “The community better looking long and hard before it passes this bill,” he said among his objections, he said is a fear that bumping into a police officer could be categorized as a felony. Greenup said her Bill makes it clear that such minor incidents would not qualify.

Gift favored a measure introduced by Sen. John A Giannetti Junior, a Prince George County Democrat, that instead of creating a separate assault category for law enforcement officers would add five years to first – and second – degree assault sentence says when the person assaults and officer.

Steve said the Marilyn states attorneys Association endorses unities bill.

Most law enforcement professionals at the hearing did not endorse and is bill, saying their flight to make assaulting an officer a more serious crime is aimed more at preventing than at increasing sentences.

“When someone is disorderly, we want to be able to look at them and say, “you assault me and it’s a felony,” Atkinson said

20 February, 1993 12:03 PM police officer Kathy Irwin was chasing a shoplifter when the shoplifter turned and pushed her into some shelves which eventually turned fell on top of Officer Irwin causing a serious back injury which later needed surgery to area C for of her spinal cord forcing her retirement in 1995

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Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Gary Provenzano

Thursday, 23 April 2020 00:44 Written by

Gary Provenzano

Shortly before graduating from college in 1974, Officer Provenzano applied to BNDD (Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) This was the predecessor of DEA. He knew a guy on the job that told him about the exam and how to apply. Gary took the exam and scored 86. Only 7% of the people that took the exam even got a passing score of 70. Gary and his friend were in. Gary kept waiting-and heard nothing. Finally he was  told by the bureau that they would only be hiring women and minorities in that group. They said the best thing to do was to try and get into a major city police dept. to add his resume. So, Gary wrote a "form letter" that said, "I'm moving to your city, what are the requirements to join the Police Dept." He then hand signed each letter and sent copies to virtually every major US city, NY, LA, Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta, Dallas - everywhere.

Before long he had received a response from every one he had written. Some weren't hiring, some had residency requirements prior to hiring, etc. There were two choices Baltimore and LA. LA waved the entrance exam because he had a degree. When he called out there, the guy in personnel told him that an interview would pretty much be a formality, with his degree Gary knew he'd get the job. Baltimore told him to come down and that as an out of state applicant, they could process him in one day - written exam, psych exam, interview, the works. Gary would have to had been at Headquarters by 8 am and the process would take all day.

This was 1975. At that time round trip to LA was $300, Baltimore was only $75. Gary's girlfriend at the time (now his wife) decided to check out Baltimore first. The pair came to Baltimore for a week's vacation during that stay Gary had completed the hiring process in or day as promised.

Before he ever had a chance to go to LA, Gary was hired by Baltimore. Now is a good time to point out that Gary had no desire to be a uniform officer, it was merely a stepping stone. But like most, before he knew what hit him, he had fallen in love with the job and the City. We all know Baltimore ain't pretty. So when people used to ask him why, he used to say that Baltimore was sort of like a sexy, sleazy lady, he knew she wasn't good for him, but he just couldn't let her go. I think most city police have met this lady, fallen in love and couldn't leave her.
 

By the way, years later the DEA sent Gary a letter and offering him a job - He would have been an undercover agent in New York City. By then he had married that girlfriend that had traveled with him since the beginning, and stands by his side to this day. With a wife and son at the time he was forced to turn down The DEA's offer, and continue his job as a uniformed police officer.

 

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Retired Officer Gary Provenzano

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 Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222 - Rolland Fullen



Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Capt James Cadden

Monday, 13 April 2020 01:28 Written by

BPD Capt Cadden 60572

Capt James Cadden

The Following is sent to us courtesy of Dick Ellwood
It comes to us as an excerpt from one of his books -*1

James J. Cadden, was a Baltimore City Police Department homicide commander when he retired. He was also a highly decorated World War II veteran. He was born and raised in the 10th Ward. He attended St. John the Evangelist school on Valley and Eager Street and then attended city public schools. He left school in the ninth grade to go in the Army and later earned his GED in the service.

He enlisted in the Army in 1943 and after being trained as a paratrooper, he served with the 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.

Jim Cadden landed at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 and later fought in the ill-fated Operation Market Garden, the air invasion of Arnhem in the Netherlands where Allied forces encountered stiff German resistance.

In mid-December 1944 Cadden fought at Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. He was decorated with the Silver Star for valor after he and another soldier breached enemy lines in an attempt to rescue a seriously wounded soldier crying for help.

They raced back carrying the man, who screamed in pain as enemy fire fell around them.

Jim Cadden was discharged from the Army in 1946 with the rank of technical sergeant. He received two Purple Hearts and three Bronze Stars. He joined the Baltimore City Police Department in 1949. He worked in patrol for a short period of time. As his career progressed, he became the only Baltimore City police officer to have worked in the homicide unit as a detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He was the commanding officer of the homicide unit until he retired in 1977. In 1978, he took a job with the Maryland State Lottery.

Now, after reading about what a real American hero that Jim Cadden was, let me tell you a little more about him. I’m very familiar with Jim Cadden on a personal and professional basis. As a kid growing up in the 10th Ward, I remember seeing him in the neighborhood after he came back from the war. He was a very imposing figure, not a rowdy guy by any means. He was a real gentleman and had the respect of everyone in the 10th Ward. He never talked much about the war and most people in the 10th Ward were not aware about all that he did in the service.

On a personal note, I worked for Captain Cadden when I was assigned to the Central District. I can tell you that he was the most honest man I ever knew in the police department. I can remember when I was working in the vice unit in the Central District and Cadden was given two tickets to the 1971 world series. The tickets were mailed to his office. The tickets came from a very prominent realtor who had an office in the district. The tickets were box seats for the world series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates. You can imagine that anyone would kill for those tickets.

Captain Cadden called me and my sergeant into his office. He handed us the tickets and told us to take them back to the realtor. He told us to tell the guy that he appreciated the thought, but he cannot accept the tickets. We took the tickets back to the guy and he was astonished that the captain would not accept them. We were hoping that he would say…you guys keep the tickets, but that didn’t happen.

On another occasion the captain was approached by an owner of a strip joint on the block. The owner came into the station and asked for the captain. When he went in the captain’s office, he apparently offered the captain a bribe of some kind. The block was a location with numerous strip clubs and a lot of gambling. The captain literally threw the guy out of his office and made sure he exited the building.

Captain Cadden was a very friendly guy, but when it came to solving homicides, he was all business. From being a detective, sergeant, lieutenant and a captain in the homicide unit, you would not dare to try and pull the wool over his eyes. He made everyone in the unit better, knowing that he was the most qualified man to be in charge of the unit.

On a personal note, I got in a little trouble while working in the unit. I’m not going to go into detail about what happened, it is all laid out in my first book…Cop Stories-The Few, The Proud, The Ugly. You can get the book and read about what happened. I will say that it was serious and could have cost me my job.

Captain Cadden called me into his office and shut the door. I sat in a chair in front of his desk. I can tell you that I was very nervous…maybe even scared of what was going to happen. He took off his coat and commenced to walk around my chair. If I didn’t know better, I actually thought the guy was going to punch me. He started off by telling me that my dad would not be proud of me at this time. After about twenty minutes of berating me and telling me I could have been fired, he told me to get out of his office and get back to work. When I left his office, I had to find a secluded place and pull myself together. I was upset that I had put myself in this position. At the same time, I was extremely happy that Captain Cadden saw fit to give me a reprieve.  I went back to work and nothing else was ever said about the incident.

I can tell you that other than my dad, Jim Cadden had the most influence on me as a police officer. I know that he touched many others with his keen sense of how to proceed with a criminal investigation. He did it the right way…there were no shortcuts that could affect the outcome of the prosecution.

Over the years of Captain Cadden’s service to the citizens of Baltimore City, he was recognized not only by his department, but by many others that he provided assistance on their murder investigations.

Anyone that served under Captain Cadden will tell you he demanded excellence in murder investigations. The years that he supervised the Homicide Unit, the unit had clearance rates that were in the high 80’s to 90’ percent.

Hanging on the wall in the Homicide Unit are some words that Captain Cadden put there;

No greater honor can be bestowed upon a human being than to investigate the death of another human being…

BPD Capt Cadden 56772BPD Capt Cadden 57472BPD Capt Cadden 57672

Capt Cadden Dec 31 1977 72BPD Capt Cadden 57772BPD Capt Cadden 57872BPD Capt Cadden 57972BPD Capt Cadden 58172BPD Capt Cadden 58272BPD Capt Cadden 58372BPD Capt Cadden 58472The Baltimore Sun Wed Dec 25 2013 72BPD Capt Cadden 58572BPD Capt Cadden 58672BPD Capt Cadden 58772The Evening Sun Mon Sep 10 1962 72BPD Capt Cadden 58872BPD Capt Cadden 58972BPD Capt Cadden 59072BPD Capt Cadden 59172BPD Capt Cadden 59272BPD Capt Cadden 59372BPD Capt Cadden 59472BPD Capt Cadden 59572BPD Capt Cadden 59672BPD Capt Cadden 59772BPD Capt Cadden 59872BPD Capt Cadden 59972BPD Capt Cadden 60072BPD Capt Cadden 60172

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Baltimore's Coldest Case
The Baltimore Sun Sun Mar 5 1922 copy 72 Click HERE to see more about this case

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 *1Dick Ellwood 443 632-6557 ©  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Books by Dick Ellwood: Cop Stories-The Few, The Proud, The Ugly (Non-fiction) Charm City’s Blue Justice (Crime Novel) The Dark Side Of Blue (Crime Novel) The Secret Zoo (Children’s Book) Cop Stories II – Policing Baltimore- A Real Conversation (Non-fiction) Available on Amazon, I Universe.com, Booksamillion.com & bookstores

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Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222

 Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Taxi

Saturday, 11 April 2020 04:46 Written by

Baltimore Police & Taxicabs


1943 - 12 Aug 1943 - Baltimore Police Department's Taxicab Bureau began late in the week of 12 Aug 1943, with the issuance of a new type of badge and identification card to Approx 1400 cab drivers in Baltimore City. It was announced on the 12th of Aug 1943 by William Monaghan, supervisor of the newly organized branch in Baltimore City's Police Department. This unit was the brainchild of Police Commissioner Hamilton Atkinson. Of the 1450 Cab drivers in Baltimore 1943, only 990 had applied for their licenses, of those 990, 45 were denied the right to a Baltimore Police Taxicab License, due to their past criminal records. 

The Identification Card and Badge issued by the Police at the time were described as having been, "hermetically" sealed between two transparent sheets of plastic to prevent their having being tampered with. This was an interesting line as if we look at the pics below we'll see a set of license and badge, and how it was just plastic covered ID cards and buttons... 

Taxi badge 10The Baltimore Sun Thu Mar 22 2001 72

22 March 2001

Taxi badge 91975 - 19 September 1975the department in cooperation with the State's Attorney's Office and various taxicab companies became part of the "Civilian Radio Taxi Patrol" in an effort to increase police service to the citizens of Baltimore. If, while on duty, a cab driver, whose vehicle is identified by a "Civilian Radio Taxi Patrol" shield on the right and left rear-quarter panels, obaerve1 anything demanding immediate police attention, he notifies his dispatcher, who in turn calls the Communication Division via a special Hotline. This program is another example of the department's efforts to involve the citizens of Baltimore in a united fight against crime. 

1982 - 20 January 1982 - The Baltimore Police Department work side by side and hand in hand with the Checker Cab Company on a project to form the TOP - Taxi On Patrol program. What began here in Baltimore went on to become a national program, to report and solve crimes all over the country 

The Baltimore Sun Fri Jul 14 1972 TAXI72iIf the article is too small to read, click it to open a full size article

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Aside from issuing Taxi Licenses, the also worked as drivers as a way to make extra money and protect cab drivers, and some programs that had cab drivers acting like a second set of eyes for our police.

Taxi badge 8Taxi badge 8If the article is too small to read, click it to open a full size article

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Taxi badge 4

The Baltimore Sun Wed Nov 26 1975 TAXi72If the article is too small to read, click it to open a full size article

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A Taxi Meter with Matching Taxi Drivers License and Button. Number 5923 expires 1963 also seen with the Taxi Meter is a Round Taxicab Tag-Plate, Dark Green with White letters. Number 313 Expires 1958

Taxi badge 10

The Baltimore Sun Wed Jan 20 1982 TAXI72 If the article is too small to read, click it to open a full size article

Taxi badge 11The Evening Sun Wed Nov 25 1987 TAXI72If the article is too small to read, click it to open a full size article

The Evening Sun Wed Nov 25 1987 TAXI72

My Favorite County Cab Driver

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 Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222 - Rolland Fullen


Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Liberator Pistol History

Tuesday, 17 March 2020 22:56 Written by

Liberator Pistol History

It was crudely made from sheet metal and steel tube. It held only one shot at a time. According to some magazines, it took longer to load it than it did to manufacture it. But the Allies in World War II hoped that the Liberator Pistol would help defeat the Nazis. That said it was not solely made to defeat Nazis

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By 1940, Nazi forces had overrun nearly all of Europe. Britain itself faced invasion across the Channel and was short of troops and weapons. In desperation, the British military designed a crude sub-machine gun, known as the Sten, that could be manufactured quickly and cheaply from stamped parts and steel tubes. The gun was manufactured by the thousands and was widely distributed to be used in the defense of the island.

As it turned out, the Nazis lost the air Battle of Britain and their planned invasion never happened.

In 1942, a Polish military officer had an idea, inspired by the Sten--why not produce a cheaply stamped pistol that could be easily produced in large numbers and dropped behind the enemy lines to arm the various Resistance networks that had been formed in the occupied territories?

The idea appealed to some officers in the American Joint Psychological Committee, in charge of psychological warfare. They concluded that not only would a mass drop of thousands of weapons be of practical use in arming the Resistance fighters, but it would also hurt German morale by making the occupation troops fearful. They assigned the task to a team lead by George Hyde from the Inland Manufacturing Division of General Motors, and within a few weeks he had produced a design for a crude single-shot pistol dubbed the FP-45 Liberator.

Disguising the project as a flare projector (FP) to hide it from Nazi spies, the gun was deliberately designed to be as cheap and easily made as possible. There were only 23 parts: the barrel was a simple four-inch unrifled steel tube, and the rest of the gun was made from stamped pieces of sheet metal. It used the same .45 caliber ammunition as the Colt .45 automatic pistol. Each Liberator cost about $2.10 to make (about $35 in today's dollars). Some wags dubbed it the "Two-Buck Gun", or the "Woolworth Gun", after the five-and-dime store.

To load the weapon, the user had to twist the breech-block at the back of the pistol open and insert a single .45-caliber cartridge into the firing chamber, then close the block. Squeezing the sheet-metal trigger fired the pistol. After firing, the pistol could be reloaded by opening the block, pulling out the spent cartridge case (it often wouldn't come out, so the pistol came with a wooden dowel that was poked down the barrel to push the cartridge case out the back), inserting a fresh cartridge, and closing the block again. Testing done with the prototypes showed that the welded seams would often start splitting after just 10 rounds had been fired through the gun--and none of the tested pistols were still usable after 50 rounds. In humid conditions such as the Pacific islands, the unfinished metal in the guns often rusted and corroded within a few weeks.

But the Liberator was not intended as a combat weapon: rather, it was intended to be single-use and disposable. The idea was that a Resistance fighter could hide the Liberator in his pocket, walk up to an unsuspecting German trooper, pull the pistol and shoot him at close range, and then take his weapons and ammunition. The unrifled barrel gave the Liberator an effective range of fewer than ten feet, and the big .45 caliber cartridge was chosen because it was likely to kill or disable its target with just one shot.

Because the Inland Division was already busy producing M-1 rifles for the Army, the manufacture of the Liberator pistol was assigned to the Guide Lamp Division in Anderson, Illinois, a division of General Motors which in peacetime had been making automobile headlights and turn signals. About 300 GM workers were assigned to the task, and over a period of 11 weeks, they produced over a million Liberators. The finished pistols were packed in waxed-cardboard boxes with ten rounds of .45 caliber ammunition (which could be stored inside a hollow compartment in the pistol grip), a wooden dowel (for reloading), and a cartoon-illustrated instruction sheet showing how to load and use it (because the cartoon did not use verbal instructions, it could be dropped anywhere for any language group). The entire process, from design to manufacture, had taken about six months. Each gun had taken an average of 6.6 seconds to make.

Once manufactured, the Army, under both General Eisenhower and General MacArthur, declared that they saw no use for them, and the Liberators were turned over to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the American forerunner of the CIA which was in charge of Resistance activities in the occupied territories. Unlike the Army Psychological Warfare guys, however, the OSS never saw any real practicality in the weapon either, and never made any large-scale effort to distribute it to Resistance fighters, though about 100,000 Liberators were sent to guerrilla forces fighting the Japanese in the Philippines and China. Only about 25,000 pistols were dropped to Resistance groups in Europe. There are no documented instances of any Japanese or Nazi occupation trooper actually being killed by a Resistance fighter or guerrilla armed with a Liberator pistol. Most Resistance forces were supplied with the more-effective Sten instead.

At the end of the war, most of the Liberators sat unused in their boxes. To save storage space, they were ordered destroyed. As a result, today authentic Liberators are very rare and are highly prized by military collectors. A WW2 Liberator in good condition (and with the rare original box and equipment) can sell for over $2000.

Although the Liberator was not exactly a military success, during the Vietnam War in the 1960's the CIA resurrected the idea, and produced another single-shot disposable pistol called the "Deer Gun", intended to be dropped in behind enemy areas. The Deer Gun was made from cast aluminum with a short steel barrel and fired the 9mm Parabellum cartridge. It was loaded by unscrewing the barrel, inserting the cartridge, then screwing the barrel back on. About 1,000 Deer Guns were made in 1964, at a cost of about $3.95 each. After some field testing, it was never mass-produced, and the originals were destroyed.

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The Liberator pistol has to rank as one of the most unusual firearms ever designed. First conceived as a way to equip resistance forces in World War II, today most reside behind glass at museums or in the hands of collectors. Fame ultimately escaped it, but it’s safe to say it served its purpose despite no records existing of it ever being used, mainly because the recipients were too busy moving, or fighting to stay alive.

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Its concept began in March 1942, when a Polish military attaché suggested a simple, effective pistol that could be mass-produced and air -dropped by the hundreds or thousands in to waiting insurgents. The thought was that so many weapons delivered at once could instantly arm practically everybody in a local guerrilla group. Plus, it would do wonders for morale if everybody carried a weapon, and it would have a detrimental effect on occupying troops who might be led to believe that there was now a way for populations to massively resist them.

The U.S. Army’s Joint Psychological Warfare Committee accepted the proposal, and two months later George Hyde of General Motors Inland Manufacturing Division produced a design that met the specifications. To ensure its secrecy, it was given the designation Flare Projector-45 to conceal its real function.

GM’s Guide Lamp division was assigned the contract, and in 11 weeks with 300 workers, they assembled a million guns. Those who looked at the contraption had to imagine these were some sort of last-ditch device intended for one-time use. They were right.

Intended for people who may not be familiar with firearms, the Liberator was simplicity in itself.  Of 45 caliber, 5.5 inches long and weighing one pound, it featured 23 stamped steel parts for a total cost of $2.40 per gun.  Five rounds could be stored in the grip, which did not feed into the barrel. To do this, one manually inserted a .45 caliber cartridge at the rear, and then the chamber was hand-closed by a metal part. The round was then shot down a 4-inch, un-rifled barrel for an effective range of 25 feet. To clear the empty case, a wooden dowel was supplied to push it out the back and another round could be loaded.

In reality, the range was wishful thinking. This gun was intended to be placed the person that is to be killed so their weapon could be taken. It could then be discarded, passed on or saved for a final stand.

FP-45 Model 2 Right-rear view of the open action

Liberators were packed in boxes that included 10 rounds of .45 ammunition, the wooden dowel, and a comic strip type instruction sheet.  A million shipped off to both Great Britain and the Pacific, where they were stored and ready to be loaded into containers on aircraft. There they met their greatest obstacles, the General Staffs of the United States Army.

In Europe, Eisenhower’s men saw no practical purpose for the gun and only 25,000 were dropped to the French resistance. In the Pacific, MacArthur was also sour about the idea and the Army ended up turning the remaining lot over to the Office of Strategic Service to be dropped in both theaters when necessary.

Enhanced FP-45 Liberator Study Model 1

Small drops commenced in 1943 over Europe, while that same year 100,000 ended up being sent to China and smaller numbers dropped in the Philippines. In 1944, another European drop occurred in Greece to supply a few thousand to the resistance. By this time, it had a nickname derived from its cheap looks: The ‘Woolworth’ Gun.

How many were actually used will never be known, but it is safe to say some Axis soldiers met their end with the Liberator, as well as having their weapon stolen. There was never an attempt to round them up after the war, figuring most had been thrown away by then. Those that remained, the still hundreds of thousands of unused copies in warehouses, were melted down. Today, the Liberator is written about sparingly as its success is unknown. Its new life is that of a collectible, with excellent specimens in original box complete with accessories fetching up to $2,000 or more.

Inland Guide Lamp Liberator .45 ACP caliber pistol. Made by Inland Guide Lamp manufacturing. Over 1 million of these were made in a 3 month period. These were used as an insurgency weapon during WWII and most of these were distributed to the Philippines. Despite the fact that a million were made there are not too many in the USA as the only ones that made it back were from the GI’S.

U.S. FP-45 Liberator Pistol, manufactured by G.M. Guide Lamp Division, serial # None, cal. 45 ACP, 4" barrel with an excellent bore. The barrel has a smooth grind mark with an "F "inside a" C" stamp on the right side front of the chamber. The metal surfaces are gunmetal gray retaining about 99% original corrosion resistant finish with scattered light handling marks and minor freckling. The cocking knob is in excellent condition with cavity mold number 37. This fully functional model three pistol that has three holes, no breach marking, floor plate is present. The overall condition is it’s in Collectors Grade Condition. {C&R} Inv.: # 1-1301

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POLICE INFORMATION

Copies of: Your Baltimore Police Department Class Photo, Pictures of our Officers, Vehicles, Equipment, Newspaper Articles relating to our department and or officers, Old Departmental Newsletters, Lookouts, Wanted Posters, and or Brochures. Information on Deceased Officers and anything that may help Preserve the History and Proud Traditions of this agency. Please contact Retired Detective Kenny Driscoll.

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Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll 

Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer Sr

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The Teufers

 Week's Weddings

The Sun (1837-1987); 

Jun 29, 1958


TEUFER - SCHWARTZ

The marriage of Miss Erma Lee Schwartz, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Roland L. Schwartz, of 705 South Baylis Street, and Mr. Ronald Henry Teufer, son of Mrs. Henry G. Teufer, of 7236 Bridgewood drive, and the late Mr. Teufer, took place June 7 at Salem Evangelical United Brethren Church. The Rev. Fred Fischer performed the ceremony. A reception was held at the Knights of Columbus  Hall. The bride was given in marriage by her father. After a wedding rip to  Florida, Mr. and Mrs. Teufer are living at 406 South East Avenue.

51img012Starting Pay in 1959 - $133.18

23img048Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer loading horse - old stables on Frederick St.

SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN 2 ROBBERIES

The Sun (1837-1987); 

Sep 16, 1969

pg. C26 FOUR SUSPECTS ARRESTED TWO ROBBERIES – BANK, GROCERY, LOAN COMPANY HELD UP; $9354 TAKEN
City police and FBI as he picked up for social yesterday in the properties of a bank and lending company office.

The FBI had arrested a fifth man earlier in the day, and charged him with the September eat holdup of the Maryland national bank branch in Randallstown.

Robbers did better yesterday in Joppatowne, where two armed bandits escaped with some $2000 after holding up in a in the supermarket and jump as a shopping center

$7004 TAKEN
Will in the largest of city holdups, two young men bolted the counter of the trust company branch in Edmondson village and raked $7024 from the cash drawers while a third stood at the event or with a pistol.

Police said one of the bandits fired a shot into the back ceiling and that a customer took a shot at the third as he chased him down the street.

Police and FBI agents took too young man, 18 and 21 years old, in the custody at 1 PM three hours after the order. They said the suspects, who were arrested at the younger ones home in a 2400 block of Chelsea Terrace, would be charged later with the holdup.

The third suspect, who was 24 years old, was arrested at 2:30 PM at his home in the 1800 block of Poplar Grove Street.

In the second city holdup, a very casual man with no bottom teeth and a sawed-off shotgun it in his leather briefcase took $310 from the family finance company branch at 416 North Howard St., then held a cab and fled in.

A passing bus driver who took down the cabs license number. And a mounted traffic policeman who broadcasted over the police radio helped to policeman crews and nearby to catch the taxi and corral suspect minutes after the robbery.

TO BE PUT IN A LINEUP
The 20-year-old suspect was being held last night at the central district police station. Police said he would be placed in lineups tomorrow in an attempt to link him with the recent holdups of two taverns, two banks, two lending institutions, and a dress shop.

Mark L Bolton, the loan officers manager, said the man came in at 2 PM and applied for a loan, then returned a half hour later caring a brown briefcase, from which he pulled a disassembled shotgun, and a handwritten holdups note. Mr. Fuller said the man clicked the two halves of the sawed-off shotgun together, and the two of them went to the firms cashiers cages, where to cashiers handed him $310.

“MADE HIMSELF AT HOME”
The man then ordered the six persons in the office to lie on the floor, stuff the shotgun back into the briefcase, and fled to Saratoga Street, where he held the cab.  “He was very casual,” P. Marini, a supervisor at the finance company said, “he just made himself at home, and then he robbed us.”  Moments later, a bus driver leaned out the window to tell Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer for, astride his horse “Lucky”, the taxi’s license number, and the man was soon caught.

CAR DRIVEN BY WOMAN
In Joppatowne, meanwhile, to bandits apparently broke through the ceiling of an AMP supermarket. Then robbed it safe of $2000 after employees began arriving at 7 AM.  The men armed with a butcher knife and a pistol, also Rob seven of the stores employees of an estimated $300 then lock them in a cooler and escaped in a car driven by a woman accomplice.  The employees spent some 90 minutes in the cooler before other employees miss them and calls the police just before 9 AM  The FBI made its arrest in the Randallstown holdup yesterday morning taking Morton J. Clark, Junior, 39, in the custody at his home in the 7200 block of Oak Haven circle.

A bearded man took $7944.59 from the Maryland national branch early on September 8 after pointing a gold colored pistol at the teller. Mr. Clark was arraigned before United States Commissioner H. Alan Metzger, and held in city jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

20img051Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer unloading a horse

Oct 4, 1972

DiPietro escapes ticket for using Mayor's space
The Sun (1837-1987); ;pg. C26


 
DiPietro Escapes Ticket for using Mayor's Space
A mounted policeman and City Councilman Dominic DiPietro (Mimi) Democrat 1st district had a jocular showdown over a parking summons in front of City Hall yesterday.

Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer was sitting on his horse next to Mr. DiPietro’s illegally parked car when the councilman emerged in shirt sleeves from City Hall and, in his own a inimitable East Baltimore vernacular, ordered the policeman to ticket all the cars illegally parked along the Memorial Plaza before ticketing his.

TROTTED AROUND THE PLAZA
“C’mom goombah,” said the policeman, “You can’t park here, it’s the Mayors parking space.” Mr. DiPietro responded that spaces along Memorial Plaza where council members may Park were filled with illegal parkers and that he had no place to put his car.

Thereupon, patrolman Teufer dutifully trotted around the Plaza to search for illegally parked cars.  He then returned to the front of City Hall and was chatting with Mr. DiPietro when the Mayor’s limousine appeared.  The Mayor had to double parked because the policeman’s horse was in the way.  When the Mayor appeared Mr. DiPietro greeted him with a cheerful obscenity; the Mayor replied with an obscene gesture of his own before speeding away.  And policeman Teufer trotted away, having been treated to personal contact with the higher echelon of government and leaving them none the worse for meeting him.

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Traffic Officer Injured October 24, 1972 Officer Ronald Tuefer was thrown from his horse on Tuesday, October 24, 1972 in the 200 block of Cross Street and received severe injuries to his head. The incident occurred in mid-afternoon when the Officer's horse, "Zeik," reared up for no apparent reason, back stepped, and then fell over backwards, onto Officer Tuefer. The Officer was rushed to Mercy Hospital where he was X-rayed and treated by four staff physicians. He remains confined there, on the 12th floor. He is recovering satisfactorily. The Officer has been a member of the Mounted Unit since 1968

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Palomino

Jul 24, 1974

Pomerleau suspends 16 union officials
The Sun (1837-1987); ;

pg. C1

Pomerleau
Suspends 16
Union Officials

16 patrolman – all officials of the union which represented striking city police – were suspended from duty yesterday by the police Commissioner, Donald P Pomerleau.  The suspensions removed from duty virtually all the remaining officers of local 1195 of the American Federation of State, County and municipal employees (AFL – CIO) as well as some members of his executive board.  Five other board members were praised by the Commissioner, however, for not participating in the strike.  It appeared as if yesterday’s suspensions were directed at those who Commissioner Pomerleau believed were the main thrust behind the police strike.  The suspensions were expected after Commissioner Pomerleau’s last week suspension of police officer George F. We, president of the local. Earlier last week Commissioner Pomerleau revoked the union’s right to represent Baltimore police.  Several suspended officers contacted last night refused to comment on the commissioner’s action.  In a two-page press release, the Commissioner said he was imposing the suspension because the 16 patrolman had violated “departmental directives” and had been “absent from duty without proper authority.”  Commissioner Pomerleau had said previously that the cases of each of about 600 men and women who participated in the five-day police walkout would be evaluated individually. He mentioned probable action ranging from firing to demotions, transfers and extra duty, or a combination of these.  The 16 patrolman suspended yesterday will appear at a special 9 AM hearing today and tomorrow to determine whether they should be paid or not paid during their suspensions.  Hearings on the charges will be conducted before a departmental trawl board at a later date. Mr. Hoyt, whose son officer Francis T. Wait, was one of those suspended yesterday, faces such hearing July 31.

THOSE SUSPENDED YESTERDAY WERE:
officer George A. Donahue and Harry M. Bayne, both of Northwestern district; also Lewis J. Patty and Sharon V. Colo, of southern district, and Michael F. Ryan and Joseph L. Falls letter, of central district.  Also suspended were officers George M. Young and Charles J, Ryan, of Western district; also Leopold J. Iraqi, of the tactical section, and officer Scott H. Gary, Junior., Joseph P. McMahon and Vincent J. Sanzone, all of the Southwest district.  Others were officer Francis T. Weight, the only Eastern district policeman to participate in the walkout; for Nelson F. McKenna, of northern district; also Milton J. Wancowicz, senior, of the South Eastern district, and officer Ronald a Ward, of the northeastern district.  At the same time Commissioner Pomerleau raised five other members of the union’s local executive board who he said “did not participate in the strike action and fulfill their responsibilities to their oath of office and the citizens of Baltimore.  “They are to be commended for their attention to duty during these trying times,” he continued.These 54 officers Francis R Cavanaugh, of the departmental personnel division; officer Ronald H. Teufer, of the traffic division; officer Charles E Wancowicz. Senior, of the chief of patrol’s office; officer Author am the wit, of the criminal investigation division, and officer Bessie E Franklin, of the central records division. Officer Charles Wancowicz is the nephew of Milton J Wancowicz, a suspended officerBob Petza Retired from mounted in 1989 with 30 years

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Behind the horse van. Tom Bretzil, unknown, Bob Petza, Ronald Teufer

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Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer

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Group riding out of barn, left to right....Chuck Esler, Joe Thomas, 2nd group Bob Petza, Teufer, 3rd group
still inside the barn Tom Bretzik Bill Chubb ( his son is Kevin Chubb, was a sgt.)

mounted sign

 The sign above hangs in our living room, can be seen hanging on the side of the Frederick St - Stables

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Guys behind the van L to R Teufer, unk, Bill Kromer, Bob Petza, Tom Bretzik, Sgt. Tom Wahlen

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Parade L to R John Moran with flag, Chuck Esler, Teufer and Larry Merrifield on the blonde horse

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32img038Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer

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Patrolman Ronald H. Teufer

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Bronze Star

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"Lucky" was sold for $500 for use in the Department Mounted Unit

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Teufer
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Retirement Ceremony
Captain Robert Jenkins, the Teufers, Col Eddie Lawrence, Captain Walter Jasper

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P/O Ronald Teufer
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P/O Ronald Teufer and Col Eddie Lawrence

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P/O Ronald Teufer

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P/O Ronald Teufer
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21 August, 1967 - We lost our Brother Police Officer John C. Williams

 50img012Pictures Courtesy of  Janet Teufer Cappelli Terry Allen Cappelli and Ronalf H Teufer SrDevider color with motto

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222 - Rolland Fullen

Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist, like us on Facebook or mail pics to us at 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222 

 

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Sergeant Donald Voss

Sunday, 15 March 2020 06:03 Written by

Sergeant Donald Voss

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Three police injured in melee

Jun 19, 1972

Three police injured in melee Crowd of 300 in Cherry Hill Hurls Rocks
A police officer was knocked unconscious, and two others were injured yesterday (18 June 1972) in a stone-throwing melee that resulted in two arrests. The incident occurred at 7:20 P.M. when a crowd of about 300 persons gathered in the 2500 block Norfolk Street, Cherry Hill.

As police officers attempted to capture a handcuffed escaped from the Maryland Training School for Boys. Fifty police officers were summoned to deal with the crowd, which dispersed about 8:30

Taunted Officer
During the melee persons in the crowd taunted the officers and threw rocks at them. Most seriously injured was Sgt. Donald Voss, of the Southern district,
who was beaten and kicked unconscious as he attempted to aid another officer who had handcuffed two girls. The handcuffed girls fled during the struggle.

Also injured were Patrolman Edward Eilerman and Patrolman Richard Curley. All three officers were taken to Mercy Hospital where Patrolmen Eilerman and Curley were reported, in satisfactory condition and Sergeant Voss in fair condition.

Two juveniles were arrested. A police spokesman said the incident, the second major attack on police in as many weeks, was unprovoked and apparently spontaneous.



TO BE CONTINUED...

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 NOTICE

How to Dispose of Old Police Items


If you come into possession of Police items from an Estate or Death of a Police Officer Family Member and do not know how to properly dispose of these items please contact: Retired Detective Ken Driscoll - Please dispose of POLICE Items: Badges, Guns, Uniforms, Documents, PROPERLY so they won’t be used IMPROPERLY. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department. 

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222


Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll

Officer Norman Stamp

Normal Stamp belt buckle

Today in Baltimore Police History 26 April 2008 we lost our brother Police Officer Norman Stamp to an off-duty case of friendly-fire, based on the following:

Beer, a Fight, Fatal Gunfire

The Sun - Baltimore, Md.

Subjects: Murders & murder attempts; Law enforcement

Author: Linskey, Annie; Sentementes, Gus G

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Apr 25, 2008

Start Page: A.1

By Annie Linskey and Gus G. Sentementes Baltimore Sun reporters

On the night of his 44th anniversary as a Baltimore police officer, Norman Stamp drank beer at a strip club on Haven Street with members of the motorcycle club he helped found — a tight fraternity called the Chosen Sons.

Shortly after midnight, a dispute with another group led to harsh words and then punches. A brawl spilled out into the parking lot and drew three uniformed police officers. Stamp, brass knuckles on his fist, rushed out a side door. He apparently didn't hear or notice the uniformed Officer John Torres or his orders to stop.

Torres, a five-year veteran, felled Stamp with an electric jolt from a Taser, and the off-duty officer pulled out his service weapon.

Torres fired his gun twice, hitting Stamp at least once in the chest. The 65-year-old struggled to his feet and said: "I didn't know you were a cop," according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Stamp died at Maryland Shock Trauma Center about 1:30 a.m., leaving police stunned at how one of their colleagues — a person with more than four decades of police experience — challenged a fellow officer and ended up fatally wounded on a grimy lot.

"The Norm Stamp that I know would not have pulled a gun on police," said Paul Blair, the police union president. "Maybe it was tunnel vision and he didn't realize they were officers. It is an unbelievable way to end a career. It is a hell of a way to end a career."

Blair defended the officer who shot Stamp, saying: "Officer Torres did everything by the book. That officer was devastated."

Bleary-eyed police commanders stood at a morning news conference and concurred, saying it appeared that Torres followed department policy when he fired.

"Torres was issuing commands," said Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. "He deployed his Taser. He followed his training; he did what he was taught to do in terms of dealing with these types of situations."

City police officers have shot 10 people this year, killing seven. Last year, they shot 33, killing 13.

About Stamp, the commissioner said: "He was a mentor to some and a friend to many."

Bealefeld said one man involved in the incident broke his leg while resisting police, and that person was arrested. Police had not released his name yesterday.

"This is an incredibly difficult time," Bealefeld said. "The men and women of your Police Department will remain focused, vigilant and undaunted."

Men from the Chosen Sons, the other brotherhood that defined Stamp's life, shed quiet tears. They put on a pot of coffee and sat around their clubhouse, smoking cigarettes and telling stories about the man who they said founded their organization with other police officers and firefighters in 1969.

"He's a survivor," said Paul "Nitro" Treash, the sergeant-of-arms of the club. "This [biker] lifestyle, it isn't for everybody. These guys will fight and die for each other."

As Treash talked about his friend, he was frequently interrupted by phone calls.

"Norm's dead," he told a caller. "I know, I know. They are going to try to cover this up," he said shaking his head.

Like the police, none of the bikers could believe Stamp would pull a weapon on an officer. "That is stuff that he has preached to us. When a cop gives an order you should comply. We're just beside ourselves right now."

They said that the night began with an initiation. Stamp, as a founding member of the club, played a key role. The members, as part of a hazing, told a new guy he had been rejected and ordered him to leave the clubhouse.

But Stamp, 65, ran out after him, saying: "Get back here and tell those guys to [expletive] off," then tossed him a wadded-up jacket with the club's colors — or patch — emblazoned on the back, said Michael Privett, who became the newest member of the club.

The men celebrated at the club for a while. Some went home. Others walked two blocks to Haven Place, a strip club that bills itself as "a gentleman's tavern" with "go-go girls."

That is where the fight broke out. Police, who interviewed many of the people in the bar, said the fracas started over women. Members of the motorcycle club interviewed byThe Sun did not mention the women.

Treash, who was not there but spoke to many of the club members yesterday, said Stamp had tried to stop the fight in the bar.

Outside, police Officers Raymond Buda, a 27-year veteran, and Jason J. Rivera, who has seven years on the force, tried to break up the fight. One person was brandishing a broken bottle, police said, and as the officers were trying to arrest people, Torres positioned himself by the bar's side door to keep others from joining the fight.

It was then that Stamp emerged from the club with brass knuckles, Bealefeld said.

Treash said he thought Stamp knew that police had been called and intended to mediate the situation. But he also noted that his friend always liked a good fight.

Torres commanded Stamp to stop and he did not, said the police commissioner. There was "no indication" that Stamp identified himself as an officer, Bealefeld said.

Charles Thrasher, owner of the Haven Place, said he has worked hard over the years to keep the club free of trouble.

He inherited the business from his father in 1980. Three years before, a 35-year-old Sparrows Point man was stabbed to death outside the bar with a broken bottle, in what police suspected was a robbery.

One of two suspects was a man on a motorcycle, according to an article inThe Evening Sun at the time. "I think I've settled it down quite a bit over the years," said Thrasher, who said he was a friend of Stamp's and knew him for 30 years.

Yesterday, a white rubber glove and an unused oxygen mask lay on the parking lot near pools of blood. A police field interview card also lay on the ground with a bloodstain.

The parking lot where Stamp was shot is isolated, surrounded by a BGE transmission station. Gang graffiti are sprayed on a back wall.

Several cars stopped by in the morning. People said they had heard about what happened and were curious to see the place where a city police officer killed his off-duty colleague.

A viewing will be held at Bruzdzinski Funeral Home, 1407 Old Eastern Ave., on Saturday and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A memorial service will be held at the funeral home Monday at 11 a.m.

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Stamp Upheld Two Loyalties

Police Veteran was a Brother Officer, a Motorcycle Son

April 25, 2008

|By Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey | Gus G. Sentementes and Annie Linskey,SUN REPORTERS

For decades, Norman M. Stamp belonged to two brotherhoods.

The 65-year-old was one of the city's longest-serving active-duty officers, who on Wednesday had celebrated his 44th year with the Baltimore Police Department .

He also belonged to the Chosen Sons - a gritty motorcycle club that Stamp helped found in the 1960s, with a tight-knit membership that didn't shy from a fight.

Stamp looked out for his fellow bikers, according to his friends in the club. To his colleagues on the force, Stamp was a loyal officer who would never knowingly harm a colleague.

He was killed early yesterday in a confrontation with fellow officers in Southeast Baltimore, one of whom fatally shot him as they tried to quell a brawl outside a strip club.

For decades, Stamp combined his passion for motorcycles with his job. He joined the department in 1964 and, five years later, was assigned to the motorcycle unit, where he served for 28 years, covering traffic duty and special events. In 1974, he broke his arm when he was struck by a patrol car while riding his departmental motorcycle.

"He did his job - he was no-nonsense," said Gary L. McLhinney, a former police union president. "If you were in a car and he was directing traffic, you went the way he told you to go. There's just a handful of guys like Norman left in this department."

In 1969, the year Stamp was detailed to the department's motorcycle unit, he helped form the Chosen Sons. It was a motorcycle club that started out consisting mostly of police and firefighters.

Paul "Nitro" Treash, the club's sergeant-at-arms, said Stamp liked to ride to Ocean City and smoke cigars with his biker friends. More than 40 years after its founding, the club and its traditions remained important to Stamp, Treash said.

"He was always the first to enter a fight and the last to leave," said Treash, who noted that he never saw Stamp draw his gun.

In 1997, Stamp was one of scores of officers caught up in a widespread staff shake-up in the Police Department. He eventually landed in the department's special operations section: cruising the harbor in a police boat for the marine unit.

Many who knew him said that Stamp initially resented being forced out onto the water after cruising the streets of Baltimore for decades on a motorcycle. But his friends said that he grew to like the assignment.

"To get a biker on a boat is like getting him to church," said the Haven Place strip club's owner, Charles Thrasher, who knew Stamp for 30 years. "I think he believed he wouldn't like it. He loved it."

Thrasher, who wasn't working when Stamp was shot, called his friend "one of those `unforgettable characters'" that one would encounter in Reader's Digest.

He said Stamp and the Chosen Sons would stop in his club every week after their meetings, have a few drinks and then leave - and Wednesday was no different.

"They've been coming here a while," said Thrasher. "They sort of think it's their bar."

Stamp, who was divorced and remarried, had a grown daughter and lived in Essex.

Daniel J. Fickus, a former police union president who works in the marine unit, said Stamp had "a couple of loves in his life, and this job is one of them. He will be sorely missed, that is a fact. His family has 3,000 members - we'll be there for him and his family. We will be."

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Officer Norman M. Stamp

Age: 65

Education: Graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1961

Department history: Joined Baltimore Police Department April 23, 1964 - Worked as a patrol officer in the Central and Northeast districts, as a motorcycle officer in the traffic division for 28 years and most recently on a boat with the Harbor Patrol.

Citations: He was awarded a bronze star for arresting a man in an assault and robbery and a unit citation in 2000 for handling special events.

Family: He was married and had one child.
Source: Baltimore Police Department

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Patron Shares Story of Fight

Bearing Bruises, Man Says Slain Officer Did Not Intervene

April 26, 2008

| By Sun reporter

For Nick Roros, Wednesday night started when he went to Haven Place, had a couple of drinks and watched the dancers. It ended in the wee hours of the morning at the city's homicide unit.

Roros said that he became involved in a bar brawl Wednesday evening that ultimately led to the fatal shooting of off-duty Baltimore City Police Officer Norman Stamp by another member of the force.

Roros, 43, gave his account during an interview yesterday morning at his Highlandtown home, where he showed the bruises and scrapes he said he got from fighting with members of the Chosen Sons, a close-knit motorcycle club that frequented the strip club. Stamp was a founding member of that club.

Roros said he told his story to dispute news accounts suggesting that the off-duty officer tried to defuse the fight.

"They act like they are all innocent like they were trying to break up the fight," Roros said. "They didn't try to break up [expletive]."

During the interview, Roros asked, over and over, why nobody called police. He wanted to know why Stamp, a 44-year veteran of the force, didn't intervene on his behalf.

Members of the Chosen Sons say that Stamp tried to defuse the fight. Paul Treash, a sergeant-at-arms of the group, said that some of the bikers were fighting but maintains that Stamp was a peacemaker - he tried to calm people down.

However, police say that when Stamp emerged from the bar, he was wearing brass knuckles.

A group of uniformed police officers was attempting to break up a fight involving some members of the gang in front of the bar when Stamp came out the side door. An officer who was watching that exit hit him with a Taser, and Stamp fell down. When he rose and drew his weapon, police say, the uniformed officer pulled his gun and shot Stamp at least once in the chest.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said at a news conference Thursday that the fight in the bar started over a woman. Police have said that it was someone outside the bar who called for help.

A Police Department source familiar with the investigation confirmed that Roros was at the bar, was beaten and was interviewed by homicide detectives. But the person could not confirm all of the details of Roros' account.

Roros said that he got to the strip club around 10:30 p.m. - his wife was working, so he decided to go out.

"The whole bar was full of bikers," he said. "They were dressed like bikers. They had the Chosen Sons patch and all that."

He struck up a conversation with a woman who came to the bar looking for a job. But, he said, one of the Chosen Sons wanted to talk to the same woman.

"I was talking to some girl ,and he was talking to the same girl," Roros said.

"He said, `That's my girl,'" Roros said.

In response, Roros said as a joke: "That is my wife."

Tensions rose.

Roros used his cell phone and called his brother-in-law asking him to come to the bar. Roros didn't say why he didn't just leave.

While he was on the phone, Roros said, one of the Chosen Sons punched him in the face.

"Once he hit me, I hit him," Roros said. "I got him on the ground." Roros said he had the upper hand, but then others joined in the fight.

Next thing he knew, he said, he was on the ground.

"I just felt everyone kicking me and just getting stomped," Roros said. He showed his one black eye yesterday. The other eye was filled with blood.

He said that he doesn't have health insurance but is worried about his chest, which he said hurts when he breathes in.

"I was getting kicked from everywhere once they had me on the ground," he said. "After that I curled up and they just kept kicking and kicking. They are acting like. ... "

He didn't finish his sentence.

"Why didn't he stop it?" Roros said.

Roros told The Sun yesterday that he was dragged down to the end of the bar and then thrown out the side door. Bikers, he said, kept beating him in the parking lot. But a police source said multiple fights eventually broke out and Roros was never outside the bar.

Either way, Roros said that after being beaten he went back into the bar and was inside, standing near the side door, when he heard the gunshots that killed Officer Stamp.

"By that time I was all dazed," Roros said. "I don't know when the cops came what happened."

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Loyalty Binds the Biker Club Behind Badge

Slain Officer's Chosen Sons Not Known to Run From Fight

April 28, 2008

|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun reporter

The one-story clubhouse in Southeast Baltimore has wood floors and framed photographs of members who have died. It feels like a chapter of an Elks Club, the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.

But the members are big beefy men who wear red crosses on their backs. Many are covered in tattoos, and some grow long pointed beards. They belong to the Chosen Sons - a motorcycle club started by city police officers in 1969 that bills itself as the largest in the state.

For decades, the Chosen Sons has been an insular group, wary of outsiders and little known except in the East Baltimore neighborhoods where they gather.

That changed early Thursday morning when one of its founding members, Norman Stamp, an off-duty police officer, burst out of a North Haven Street strip club, brass knuckles on his hand, heading toward a brawl that had spilled from the bar into the street. Before he got there, Stamp was stopped by a uniformed officer sent to quell the fight. In the confusion, Stamp drew his gun, and the other officer shot and killed him, according to police accounts. He had been on the force for 44 years.

The unusual fit between the public and private sides of Stamp's life will be on full display at his funeral today. Because his death is not considered to have come in the line of duty, he will not get full police services.

Even so, Mayor Sheila Dixon and Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III plan to attend. They will sit in a 100-seat Essex funeral home alongside members of the Chosen Sons and other motorcycle clubs from around the state.

"You will see guys from clubs that feud with each other," said Paul "Nitro" Treash, the sergeant-at-arms of the Chosen Sons. "Norm [Stamp] was the most likable guy."

Little is known about how Stamp balanced his job on the force - for the past decade, he served in the maritime unit, and for years before that, he was a motorcycle officer - with his off-duty activities. Some of his acquaintances from the world of the Chosen Sons say Stamp was always eager for a fight, but current members aren't saying much, other than to offer a relatively wholesome, if tattooed and leather-clad, vision of the club's activities.

Treash said members of the Chosen Sons organized rides to places like Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Stamp, he said, participated in the club's last "poker run" - an outing on which members of the crew ride together to other clubhouses in the city or state. At each clubhouse they pick up a playing card - the person with the best poker hand by the end of the night is the winner.

But there was an air of paranoia at the clubhouse Thursday morning when news of Stamp's death spread.

Members wondered out loud about a Verizon truck that had been sitting outside the building for a few hours. When a man drove up in a car and sat outside, a junior member of the club was dispatched to determine whether the person in the car was the same person who caused a fight with the club members the evening before.

Treash would not answer most questions about the club for this article and would not make any of the members available to comment. Current members declined to talk about the group.

Treash did say that the club is the largest in the state, but he declined to give a number of total membership. A photograph of some members on the wall inside the club showed about 100 men gathered for an event. Treash would not say how many members are police officers.

Initially, the club was open only to public service employees, said William Council, a retired police officer who knew Stamp and was in the club in the late 1970s.

At that point there were 15 to 20 members, he said, including one member who repaired motorcycles for the Baltimore city garage.

"We'd take group rides," Council said. "We'd pick a place where we wanted to go and go bar hopping. It wasn't a threatening group or anything like that."

Council said that the name came from being chosen for the club. "You had to have somebody represent you to get in," he said. "They bring you in, they ask you some questions. Now I don't know how they do it."

According to the Chosen Sons Motorcycle Club Web site, prospective members still need to be tapped: "The C.S.M.C. does not solicit for members or accept any unknowns. All prospects must be sponsored by a member in good standing."

A fictional version of the club was featured in a January 1995 episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets. In the show, the club was called the Deacons, and some members who appeared in it put a Deacons insignia over the red crosses on backs of their jackets. The insignia from one of those jackets is hanging, framed, on the Chosen Sons clubhouse wall.

The group was started in 1969 and grew in the 1970s and 1980s, a macho time when motorcycle clubs like the Hells Angels and the Pagans would fight for territory and respect.

Unlike those clubs, the Chosen Sons is not viewed as a criminal organization, according to a city police source who is not authorized to speak to the news media.

In fact, in the very early days, the club had to combat the perception that they would always run from a fight because its members - all public service employees - could lose their jobs if they got in trouble, said Richard C. Fahlteich, a retired major from the city's homicide unit who knew Stamp and talked to him recently about the club.

That was a perception the club would not abide by.

"If someone was going to attempt to start a big fight, they were not going to run away from it," Fahlteich said. "That is where the tough guy thing came from. They did not go out looking for trouble, but they were not going to bow to trouble either. They were going to stand up for themselves."

The penchant for standing up for themselves was viewed differently in the neighborhood. Steve Fugate, the president of the city's fire officers' union, grew up in the same Highlandtown area where the club members would ride.

"It was a bunch of bad asses," Fugate said.

"From an outside perspective, they were the local version of the Hells Angels. That was anecdotal neighborhood gossip that was going around."

Fugate, 54, said that he would never pick a fight with them. "Because I'd get my ass kicked," he said. "Been there, done that. It's not fun."

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Cops and Bikers

Baltimore Police Officer Killed Outside a Bar Gets an Unusual Sendoff from His Buddies

April 29, 2008

|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun Reporter

Two rows of men, police officers and bikers, faced each other yesterday morning - lining the edges of Old Eastern Avenue as bagpipes played and city police carried the casket of Norman Stamp to a waiting hearse.

The police wore their dress uniforms to honor the death of the man who spent the past 44 years working for the city's Police Department.

The motorcycle riders wore the red cross of the Chosen Sons on their backs to signal their association with the motorcycle club that Stamp helped to found 39 years ago.

It was an unusual sendoff for a man who was one of the city's longest-serving police officers. Bikers from various clubs around the state outnumbered the uniformed police officers. Photographs on display showed Stamp doing daredevil stunts on police motorcycles, posing with various police weapons and drinking beer with a woman clad in a leather bikini.

The police commissioner and mayor listened as the audience cheered for a speaker who disputed the official account of how Stamp came to be shot by a fellow officer early Thursday.

Stamp was shot in the chest after police were called to quell a bar brawl at an East Baltimore strip club. Police say Stamp burst out of the bar, with brass knuckles on his fist, and failed to comply with verbal orders to stop from a uniformed officer.

The officer used a stun gun on Stamp, who then drew his gun, police said. The uniformed officer, John Torres, drew his own weapon and shot Stamp twice, hitting him at least once in the chest.

But Rick Mueller, a member of a pleasure club called Fat Boys, stood in front of Stamp's open casket and said: "Hopefully, with the help of the witnesses who were there that night, the truth will come out." Applause from the audience lasted 15 seconds. When it died down, he continued: "Procedure wasn't followed, but it was not Norm that failed."

Stamp's widow, Suzanne, sobbed as those words were spoken. Over the weekend she enlisted the help of two attorneys and a private investigator, Michael Van Nostrand Sr., to conduct an independent probe of the shooting.

Van Nostrand, reached by phone, had questions about that account: "Did he have the brass knuckles on as they say? How do you reach for a gun if you have knuckles on?"

Police recovered brass knuckles from the parking lot where the fight occurred.

Dozens of bouquets of flowers lined the inside of the funeral home. One was shaped like a motorcycle, another like a police shield and another like a heart. Stamp's black leather biker boots and his wooden nightstick stood next to his coffin. Two cigars, his motorcycle colors and his police motorcycle helmet rested near his body.

At the service, Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III praised Stamp's 44-year career with the city but appeared to choose his words carefully.

"All of us have a spiritual calling to service and responsibility to service," he said. "How that manifests itself, what that looks like ... takes on many dimensions. Norm's calling was police service.

"He dedicated himself to that for 44 years. In that time, I'm absolutely convinced, he helped many, many people," Bealefeld said.

Paul Blair, president of the city's police union, knew Stamp and called him a good officer. Though Blair usually wears business suits to police events to signal his role as the union chief, this time he put on his dress uniform. "I said, I had to wear my colors," Blair said, making a reference to the many bikers in the audience who use colors to refer to the patches they wear on their backs.

"We call it the thin blue line," Blair said, adding that Stamp's police family holds him just as dear as Stamp's biker family.

The audience laughed when Blair referred to Stamp's time at the city police marine unit as Stamp's "private navy."

The ceremony was led by Sgt. Don Helms, a police chaplain, and was organized loosely, with various speakers telling stories about Stamp's life.

Timothy J. Haefner, a police officer in the Southeastern District, had trouble getting though his speech without crying. "There were so many words that described Norm," he said. As his voice cracked, some of the women in the audience asked for tissues.

"Norm lived his life to the fullest," Haefner said. "My heart is truly broken."

The first biker to speak was Reds Sullivan, president of the Chosen Sons, who thanked Stamp for starting the club and called him a mediator. "Call Stamp and he'd fix it," Sullivan said. Then, becoming emotional, Sullivan said: "I'm going to get out of here before I begin to cry."

Mueller, who spoke last, recalled one of Stamp's favorite police stories. He said Stamp pulled over a man in East Baltimore and the man, not realizing to whom he was talking, tried to get out of the ticket by saying he was a close friend of Norm Stamp.

Because Stamp's death was not considered to have been in the line of duty, he did not receive the full police honors afforded many officers who are killed. Those funerals usually tie up city streets for hours as processions of police cars roll to Dulaney Memorial Gardens. Instead, mourners yesterday were invited to the Chosen Sons' headquarters - a clubhouse that is about two blocks north from the strip club where Stamp was shot.

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Civil Trial Begins in Wrongful Death Case of Officer Shot by Police

Stamp, a 44-year Veteran, was Shot Outside Strip Club in 2008

October 07, 2010

|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

Police said that in April 2008, off-duty officer Norman Stamp burst out of a Southeast Baltimore strip club with brass knuckles on his hand, barreling toward a brawl involving members of his motorcycle club that had spilled into the street.

That's when, according to police, the 44-year-veteran got into a confrontation with a uniformed officer sent to quell the fight, pulled his service weapon and was fatally shot.

An attorney for Stamp's widow said Thursday — the first day of trial in a wrongful-death civil suit brought against Officer John Torres — that there's a different story that the Police Department wanted to suppress.

In opening statements, attorney Peter T. McDowell said Stamp was shot by Torres as he exited the Haven Place club to leave for the night, a hasty decision that McDowell said was made by an officer who had "wrongly prejudged" the situation.

He plans to call witnesses who were at the bar — tracked down by a private investigator hired by Stamp's wife of four years, Suzanne — and a forensic expert to counter the Police Department's findings.

"Police investigating [the shooting] just didn't want to uncover the truth," McDowell told jurors.

However, attorney Troy A. Priest said Torres was separating Stamp from another man when Stamp fell down some stairs. Stamp then came at Torres, shaking off a three-second Taser jolt and drawing his gun.

As Priest described the officer's account of the events, Torres put his head down and appeared emotional. Priest said Torres now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He was in fear for his life, and took actions necessary not only to save his life but the others there," Priest said.

Stamp had not been involved in the initial fight inside the bar, which prompted the club operators to turn on the lights and cut off the music. Nick Roros, who had been injured in the brawl, called his brother-in-law, a Fells Point bar owner, who in turn called the personal cell phone of Officer Raymond Buda, who was patrolling the area with Torres and another officer.

McDowell said that Stamp, unaware of a situation brewing outside, said good night to a bartender, then exchanged brief words with a dancer near the back door. A moment later, the dancer heard two gunshots, McDowell said, adding that she never heard any commotion or commands to drop a weapon.

Torres' attorney said that Roros had charged Stamp, and they had to be separated by Torres. Stamp was shot after stumbling down the steps and pulling his weapon on Torres, who shot downward from the top of the stairs. He said brass knuckles were recovered from the scene.

"The decision [to shoot] was reasonable, and consistent with his training and experience," Priest said.

But McDowell said a man who was in the parking lot and heard the gunshots wheeled around to see Stamp falling down the steps, where he remained until medics arrived.

McDowell said the trajectory of the bullets that struck Stamp suggest that he was shot by someone who was below him.

The lawsuit initially alleged that Torres was hired as part of a Baltimore Police Department policy to "hire untrained Puerto Rican applicants to assist with the Spanish-speaking community within Baltimore City." It said the applicants were hired with "blatant disregard for the safety of the public" and kept in order to maintain a quota of Spanish-speaking officers.

The department and the city were removed as defendants in the case, and no such claims were made in McDowell's opening statements.

The two witnesses called to testify Thursday appeared to be an effort to counter the image of Stamp as a brawling biker and strip club patron.

Zeinab Rabold, a former Baltimore police colonel who oversaw internal affairs until she was forced to retire in 2004, said she knew Stamp for years and described him as a "mellow" officer who was deft at defusing tense situations. He worked mainly in the traffic and marine units, and took pride in being a police officer, she said.

His motorcycle club, called the Chosen Sons, was formed by a group of five law enforcement officers in the 1960s, said friend and former prosecutor Robert Donadio, who was a member of the group for about 10 years.

The group, in those early days at least, was open exclusively to those in law enforcement, and they did charity events for children. Donadio, 78, said Stamp would dress up as Santa Claus.

"Officer Stamp was a peacemaker," Donadio testified.

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Baltimore Jury Finds in Favor of Officer in Shooting Death

Longtime Police Officer Shot by Fellow Officer in 2008

October 21, 2010

|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore jury found Thursday that a city officer acted reasonably when he killed an off-duty member of the force while responding to a fight at a Southeast Baltimore strip club.

The widow of Officer Norman Stamp, a 44-year veteran who was fatally shot in April 2008, sued Officer John Torres, alleging that he "wrongly prejudged" the situation and that the Police Department didn't aggressively investigate the circumstances of the shooting.

The trial lasted about two weeks, during which jurors visited the Haven Place club where the shooting occurred. Jurors took only a few hours to decide in favor of Torres, the Daily Record reported on its website Thursday afternoon.

Police have said that Stamp, 65, who was hanging out with members of his motorcycle club, rushed out of the bar with brass knuckles. Torres struck him with a Taser, then fired two shots when Stamp reached for his service weapon, police said. As he lay dying, Stamp identified himself as an officer.

In opening statements, Peter McDowell, an attorney for Stamp's widow, Suzanne Stamp, said that the police account did not mesh with descriptions from witnesses and forensic experts gathered by a private investigator.

For example, McDowell claimed that Stamp was shot while standing at the top of stairs leading out of the club, though Torres said he was at the top of the stairs and had shot downward at Stamp. McDowell said that Torres impulsively shot Stamp as he left the strip club for the night unaware of the police action outside.

But Torres' attorney, Troy A. Priest, dismissed those claims and said the officer was in fear for his life and followed his training.

McDowell said Thursday that Suzanne Stamp was "obviously disappointed in the jury's verdict," but said she was content that the other accounts of the night were "now part of the public record."

Priest did not return a message seeking comment.

The lawsuit initially alleged that Torres was hired as part of a Baltimore Police Department policy to "hire untrained Puerto Rican applicants to assist with the Spanish-speaking community within Baltimore City." It said the applicants were hired with "blatant disregard for the safety of the public" and kept to maintain a quota of Spanish-speaking officers.

The department and city were later removed as defendants.

Testimony included how the shooting had affected both sides; friends of Stamp said his wife was devastated and still talks about Stamp as if he is alive. Torres' attorney said his client suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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