Baltimore Police Patrol
The First Vehicles in The Baltimore Police Department for use in patrol came along beginning in 1909 based on a newspaper article dated 1911 which gave us the following count; Auto Patrol vehicles have been added to the department subsequently as follows: The first vehicle ever came in May 1909, the second in May 1910, the third in June 1910, followed by the fourth in Aug 1910, fifth In July 1911, the sixth, seventh, and eighth all came in November 1911. In addition to these first eight auto patrol units there was a vehicle known as “Black Maria”, a truck, and a machine (auto) each for Marshal Farnan and Deputy Marshal Manning, making a total of 11 automobiles purchased for the entire department from 1909 to 1911.
1-MAN PATROL CAR OPPOSED
Apr 15, 1946
The Sun (1837-1989); Apr 15, 1946; pg.7
1- PATROL - CAR OPPOSED MAN
Atkinson Says Two Are Needed / For Each Machine
Police patrol cars in Baltimore, could not adequately serve I the public interest if operated by one man instead of two, Hamilton R. Atkinson, Commissioner of Police, declared yesterday.
Mr. Atkinson, who is asking for 212 additional patrolmen, had been questioned about relieving the need for extra police personnel by taking a man from each or the radio cars and using him elsewhere. Two men in each car usually are necessary to handle such emergencies as a fight, house-breaking or disturbance involving several persons, the commissioner explained.
Major Problem Cited
Moreover, if only one man were in the car, the machine often would have to be left unprotected, and a less continuous check could be kept on reports coming over the radio, he added. He said, also, that two-man operation facilitated the handling of school traffic, a major problem of the day shift or the department. Foot patrolmen are far from adequate to cover the school traffic, Mr. Atkinson declared, and patrol cars are called into use, as well as traffic officers on motorcycles. One patrolman in the car will take charge at one school, and the second man will move on to another traffic-congested areas nearby.
Child Fatality Low
"The child fatality record has been very low, and I intend to keep it that way." he asserted. The day shift has to devote approximately five and a half hours to taking care of school traffic, he added. "We have never used one man in radio cars. I have gone into the matter thoroughly with the inspector of the department and the captains or the district,” Mr. Atkinson said. "None of my predecessors thought it feasible, and neither do I. "Mr. Atkinson insisted on the need for more men to protect the city, particularly in outlying districts. He said there were about 231 men on each shift serving the entire city-wide area, 91 square miles.
The Baltimore Police Department uses "Districts", Sectors and Posts to form what is known as Patrol. Where many departments use "Precincts," our department uses Districts, Districts numbered 1, thru 9. Starting with Central District (#1) from there we go to Southeast District (#2), and then going counter clockwise around the cities districts to Eastern (#3), Northeast (#4), Northern (#5), Northwestern (#6), Western (#7), Southwestern (#8) and finally Southern (#9). Their phone numbers by the way also use the numbers 1 thru 9, CD being 396-2411, SE 396-2422, E 396-2433, NE 396-2444, N 396-2455, NW 396-2466, W 396-2477 SW 396-2488 and S 396-2499.
Reports also go by these numbers, all Central District reports start with the number 1 followed by a letter indicating the month 1 thru 12 Jan thru Dec, and then the number sequentially of the report so the first report would be 1A0001, and so on, making it easy to file and find reports based on District and Date of occurrence.
The following are links to the district pages on this site
1. Central - 1826 - Central/Middle District History - 03-09-1826 Central District was first known as the Middle District and was first located at Holiday and Saratoga Streets, it was established on 03-09-1826, the building that housed Central was built in 1802 and was in use by the police until 1870. From there they moved to 202 N. Guilford Avenue, (North Street) that building was brand new built in 1870 and used until 1908. On March 4 1908 Central moved to Saratoga and St. Paul Streets, a renovated school house. That location was used until 09-12-1926 when they went to Fallsway and Fayette St. sharing the Headquarters building built in 1926 and used until 09-12-1977 when they moved to 500 E. Baltimore St.
2. Southeast - 1858/59 - Southeastern District History - 1958/59 - The Southeastern District is the youngest of all of our districts, it was first built in 1958/59 at it's present location of 5710 Eastern Ave.
3. Eastern - 1826 - Eastern District History - 03-09-1826 - The Eastern District was first located at 1621 Bank Street a building that was built around 1822, and still stands to this day. It remained at the Bank Street location until the summer of 1959, when the station was moved to the old Northeastern station at Ashland and Chew St. (Durham) in the Summer of 1959 where they stayed until 1960. In December 1960 they moved to their current location at 1620 Edison Highway.
4. Northeast - 1874 - Northeasten District History - 1874 - The Northeastern District was first opened at Ashland and Chew Streets (Durham) in 1874 where it remained until 1958/9 when they moved to their present district at 1900 Argonne Drive.
5. Northern - 1900 - Northern District History - 1900 The Northern District was first opened at Keswick and 34th Street (Cedar & Second Streets) on 1 Feb 1900 at 8am ran by Capt. Gittings, Lieutenants Henry and Dempsey; Round Sergeants will be, Warden for Day Duty, and Moxley for Night Duty. At the time they began with 50 officers. It remained at the Keswick location until 2001 when it moved to it's current location at 2201 W Coldspring Lane.
6. Northwest - 1874 - Northwestern District History - 1874 - The Northwestern District was first opened at Pennsylvania Ave and Lambert Street in 1874 where it remained until 1958/9 when they moved to their present district on Reisterstown Rd.
7. Western - 1826 - Western District History - The Western District was first located at Green St between Baltimore St, and Belvidere St. Used from 1826 until 1876 when they moved to their new location, Pine Street, (still stands to day and is used by the Maryland University Police) Baltimore Police used it from 1876 until 1958/9 when they built their new station house at 1034 N Mount St, which is the current site on the Western District.
8. Southwest - 1884 - Southwestern District History - 17 July 1884 The Southwestern District was first opened at Calhoun and Pratt Streets (200 S Calhoun St) where it remained until 11 July 1958 when they moved to their present location at 424 Font Hill Ave.
9. Southern - 1845 - Southern District History - The Southern District was first located at Montgomery and Sharp Streets, where it sat from 1845 until 1896 when they moved to Ostend Street. Ostend Street and Patapsco Street, remained in use from 1896 until 1985/86, when it moved to 10 Cherry Hill Road where it remains in use to present.
Patrol Vehicles had an Interesting History of Their Own
17 Nov 1968
Police Limit Car Sirens
The Sun (1837-1987); Nov 17, 1968;pg. 17
Action Taken To Eliminate - False Sense Of Security
The city's Police Department is putting sirens on fewer and fewer of its cars. The number of cars bearing sirens is being reduced in an effort to eliminate a false sense of security which they tend to give patrolmen who are racing to answer a call, William R. Morrissey, the department's public relations man, said yesterday.
Mr. Morrissey acknowledged that "there is no solid, professional thinking ... as to whether police vehicles should or should not be equipped with sirens" but he pointed to experiences several years ago when all cruisers had sirens and the accident rate among police cars was so high that use of sirens was curtailed.
Currently, Mr. Morrissey said, sirens are installed on several cars in each of the nine police districts, some cars used by detectives, traffic patrol cars and some specialized vehicles. The lack of sirens on police cars has prompted city Councilman Emerson R. Julian D., 4th) to ask the department for a report on the use of sirens on police vehicles. If that information shows that sirens are needed, to help protect the public, Dr. Julian said, he will introduce a bill to require sirens on all police vehicles.
Mr. Morrissey pointed out that in some emergency situations, use of a siren could alert a criminal that the police are coming. And, he said, the driver or an emergency vehicle is still required to drive "with due regard for the safety of all persons using a public street." Even if he has both his siren and his flashing light in operation.
Dr. Julian said that he became interested in the siren question after several near-collisions with police cars and a minor collision involving a patrol car on an emergency call and a car in which he was a passenger.
Police Department driving failed to improve in 71 – 72
21 February 1972
The Baltimore city Police Department driving record showed little improvement last year over its performance in 1970 – department statistics show.
City policeman were involved in 922 traffic mishaps while on duty last year – only one less than the number of accidents in 1970.
The department’s problem is not new. Donald D Pomerleau the police Commissioner, angered by the high accident rate two years ago – then nearly double the nation average – said in a departmental publication that the driving record was nothing short of “horrendous.”
For every million miles of driving by policeman last year, there were 55.35 accidents, according to departmental statistics.
Of the 922 mishaps last year, policeman were found at fault in 400 – including 315 accidents the department felt were “preventable.”
Disciplinary measures were taken again 334 policemen involved in accidents last year depriving the men of the total of 709 leave days
the department in the past was resorted to placing poor drivers on permit for patrol, suspending their police driving licenses and giving them oral reprimands.
A requirement that policeman contribute part of the cost of repairs to mangle patrol cars was eliminated several years ago when the city assumed care of the fleet.
Particularly alarming to the department is the number of policeman injured in traffic accidents. The 146 injured policeman were on medical leave for over 1500 days because of the mishaps.
In 1970, a driver – research firm spent several months studying the driving characteristics of city policeman, but failed to find and the explanation for the high rate of accidents.
Policeman as a group are somehow “unique” and that they “do not match any known driving population on record,” a spokesman for the firm reported.
a few years back, the department remove the sirens from most patrol cars in an attempt to reduce accidents. A department spokesman said the sirens were “distracting” and made the drivers reckless and overconfident.
The sirens were believed partially responsible for the police men crashing into each other’s patrol cars while answering the same calls.
But department records show most accidents – more than 430 last year – occurred while policeman were on routine patrol. A majority also occurred during peak traffic hours in the morning and evening.
Ran Into Pedestrians
Department taxes last year included 30 in which policeman ran into pedestrians and nearly 200 and which police vehicles were struck by civilian cars.
Other’s happened in police parking lots and garages.
Lieut. Col. William Harris, chief of the traffic division, has proposed a defensive driving program that would be required for policeman involved in accidents.
The program would include movies of other traffic accidents – film similar to those used by the motor vehicle administration and its driver rehab program. State Agency Faults
City for Lack of Police Sirens
Jun 29, 1972
The Sun (1837-1987); Jun 29, 1972;
pg. D24 State Agency Faults City for Lack of Police Sirens
The city Police Department is violating state law by not equipping two thirds of its vehicles with sirens, whistles or bells, a motor vehicle administration official said yesterday
William T. S. Bricker, deputy administrator for the agency. Said Donald Pomerleau the police Commissioner, was “clearly wrong” to ordered audible signal devices removed from most departmental vehicles several years ago.
It was done because Mr. Pomerleau “didn’t want to let the bank robbers know the police were coming.” Said Mr. Bricker. Formerly an assistant state’s attorney general and an assistant state attorney.
But the consequence is that ordinary citizens receive inadequate warning of approaching police cars. Mr. Bricker added.
The motor vehicle administration has no plans, however, to make the Police Department comply with the law. Spokesman said they wanted to avoid a “hassle” with the police.
The police spokesman said the department was aware of what the law calls for, but has made a “judgment not to equip more cars with sirens at this time.”
300 of 900 department vehicles have sirens, said Dennis S Hill, the police departments public information director. And the 300 can handle the volume of emergency calls, he said.
“There is no question in my mind that the Baltimore city Police Department is in violation of the motor vehicle code,” contended Mr. Bricker.
In the event of a collision involving a police vehicle not equipped with a warning device, “the city is liable,” he said.
A section of the vehicle code covering the “rights and liability” of drivers says that emergency vehicles are not entitled to automatic right-of-way unless they are equipped with “audible warning” devices.
The law on this point is “overwhelming,” Mr. Bricker proclaimed.
Another section of the code says that drivers of emergency vehicles may disregard “traffic signals and speed limits” only if their vehicles are equipped with sirens.
Police officials said that they removed audible warning devices for most of their vehicles to reduce department accidents. Sirens allegedly were “distracting” and may drivers reckless and overconfident. In some instances, police cars with blaring sirens were said to have collided with each other.
But department records show that most police accidents more than 430 last year – occur while policeman are one routine patrol – not on emergency runs. Also, there were 922 traffic mishaps involving policeman last year, only one less than the number of accidents in 1970.
City police cars and trucks were involved in 168 accidents during the first quarter of 1972. In only five other cities – of 54 surveyed recently by the national safety Council – the police cars and trucks have higher accident rates during the four-month period.
During the same time span, the Baltimore department ranked the fourth highest among 21 city police departments survived by the safety Council for frequency of accidents among two wheeled police motorcycles. But for three wheelers, the local department had no accident – ranking it first among 13 city department surveyed during the quarter, the safety Council reported.
Brian Kuebler wrote BALTIMORE - Citing efficiency and safety, the Baltimore Police Department is making yet another visible change in its patrol division by eventually decreasing the use of prisoner transport vans. This information comes as a surprise to many of the members of Baltimore’s Patrol division, as they fear the safety issues are not at the root of this change. Having worked patrol myself, I happen to know if ever there was a concern for officer safety it is not while the prisoner is in a wagon behind, or in front of an officer's vehicle, so much as it is with the prisoner in the vehicle a little less than 2ft behind the officer. There are instances of prisoners vomiting, urinating, and or defecating on themselves in the vehicle, or having concealed weapons that could be used to stab, or shoot the officer from behind. So this could be, and most likely is more than an officer safety issue, and is most likely an issue of budget. Either way, safety or budget, it is not about, nor will it affect (in a positive light) officer morale. He went to say The cage equipped vans, or wagons as they are commonly referred, are used to transport suspects from the scene of a crime or an arrest. Often Baltimore Police would process and handcuff suspects before calling and waiting on a transport vehicle. They are more commonly known as “paddy wagons” by the public, a derogatory term aimed at the Irish dating back to the 1800s in New York. While there is some truth to this, in that is was aimed at the police most of whom were Irish, and from the time period of the 1800's, but the location is off, it was Boston, not New York, and at the time we pretty much all used "Horse Drawn Wagons", hence the term "Wagon" of course the police at the times were mostly Irish, so yes, it was a "Paddy Wagon". When I was on in the late 80's to early 2000, we still called it a "Wagon", we used a box truck type wagon, muck like an ambo, and we called it Wagon, short for "Paddy Wagon" also as an Irishman, I don't think it is derogatory, in fact as a retired Officer, of Irish decent, I am proud to have come from a background of Strong Irish Law enforcement officers, known for fighting crime. The article continued with - But that is not why modern day Baltimore Police are doing away with their frequent use. In Brian's investigation into this story he learned from Lt. Eric Kowolczyk the patrol cars, will all become PTV's (Prisoner Transport Vehicles) something we used to call "Cage Cars" talk about derogatory, it was called this because the first cage cars, were made up simply by putting a thin cage between the officer's and their prisoners. Often spit would fly between the cage, and toward the officers, so the cage was replaced with Plexiglas to prevent anything, spit, blood or other bodily fluids from being thrown at, or on the police. So when Lt. Kowolczyk said, “In our new vehicles we have made a number of changes and upgrades regarding equipment and tools that will assist our officers in the crime fight. One of those changes will be partitions in the vehicles. These partitions will assist in ensuring the safety of those involved in the arrest, as well in expediting the event itself. They will still allow for complete mobility within the vehicle,” We learn this is more about economics than safety, this is nothing new, it is more of the same old "Cage Car" prisoner transport of the late 80's early 90's - Which is confirmed with the final line - Prisoner transport instead will be done more with individual patrol cars.
Sep 30, 1981
Catherine D Gunther
The Sun (1837-1989); Sep 30, 1981; pg. D1
Except for their name, Stephen W. Quinter, 37, and even F. McNutt, 25, don’t seem to have much in common. The older man – an East Baltimore native – is broad and dark; the younger, who comes from Central California, is slim and blonde.
Yet if you saw them on the street, you might think them indistinguishable. For as Baltimore city police officers, they are too many only a collection of things: a gun, a nightstick, a bad and a radio.
Officers Quinter and McNutt, who work overtime on the recently instituted patrol squad, are aware of that, and they say it’s an ordinance thing to remember. As officer Quinter put it: “you know that sometimes, when people give you a hard time, it’s the uniform, not you, that they are mad at.”
Police Commissioner Frank J Battaglia recent decision to beef up foot patrols 50 to 60 more officers has been greeted favorably by those living and working in a 25 areas targeted for extra help, according to police spokesman Dennis S. Hill.
Though it is too early to tell whether the patrols will affect street crime, Mr. Hill said, “what we’re seeing, we like.”
If officers Quinter and McNutt are any indication, the foot patrol themselves seem to believe in the effectiveness of their work – work that so depends on visibility and the symbol will of the uniform.
Says officer McNutt: “the idea is to at least darken the possibility of crime. If they do criminals see you at every corner, they might think twice.”
This is a story about the foot patrols, about two men behind the uniform
The 23-year-old man sways gently in his own a Mac phrase outside the alley that bisects the company department store on Howard Street. He and his older friend have been trying to get a net in for at least 15; they haven’t been successful, and a younger drinker is not pleased.
“Hey officer, what you like a real criminals;” he demands.
His friend nervously tells of the Haas. “The man ask you for some ID,” he
“I had no criminal; only thing you’ll catch me doing his drinking,” the other continues, “let the man who shot that guy in the head for nothing,” he adds, handing over a driver’s license. “Why don’t you mess with people like that, those punks I read about in the news American?”
Officer McNutt says nothing, just copy the information from the licenses onto a small index card. Older drinker tries to reason with his friend.
“Demands giving you a chance, be cool,” he bags.
Also McKnight looks up. “The best thing for you to do is go home,” he says. “I know it’s early” – is 7:30 PM – “but I caught you in my alley once, and I don’t want to catch you again.”
The older drinker nods vigorously, grabs his friend by the arm and hurries up the street toward North and Howard. Officer McNutt looks the index card in his breast pocket.
Being in Baltimore and being a police officer are almost one in the same for officer McNutt: a two-year veteran of the force, he joined six months after he and his wife moved here from the West.
An Army veteran and a father of an 11 week old son, also McNutt says he isn’t really sure why he joined the city police force. He does say he’s happy with the job, having so for work several radio car and foot patrol beats downtown.
Also McNutt’s post tonight runs straight up W. Fayette St. from the Hilton Hotel to the town theater and includes assorted alleys and byways in between. The patrolman says robbery, all kinds, is the big crime in the area.
But during rush hour, around 6 PM it seems that people are more likely to get killed in a traffic accident that a hold up.
Pedestrians cross the intersection or halfway down the block; with the light or against. Motorist, too, and gold’s in numerous creative maneuvers, and officer McNutt makes a point of letting the drivers know that he sees what’s going on. Often, a hand signal is enough.
The rush-hour action isn’t confined to traffic; also McNutt keeps an eye on the bus stop crowd outside the turf bar and lounge in the 2000 block of W. Fayette St.
“About a year, year and a half ago, we got a call on most every night about something going on there,” he says with a gesture toward the bar. “Now we haven’t been up there in a while.”
The Lodge door swings open for a second, and the sidewalk crowd is treated to a few verses of Smokey Robinson’s “being with you,” late on a Friday afternoon the brightly lit bar is packed with customers.
Officer McNutt, who says he lives on Baltimore’s ‘south side’, won’t say straight out what he thinks of charm city.
“I’m basically a country boy… In a town half the size of Pikesville,” he explains.
Swinging south on Howard Street, he passes “Tony Dante’s the place for ribs” he catches the eye of the toddler sitting on the steps in front of the restaurant, and smiles at her, she gasps, wheels “police” then, she smiles back, and waves.
Also McKnight stops at the Trailways station and heads downstairs to the restroom. He walks the length of the hallway to the door marked “beauty salon.” It leads to a narrow, damn, smelly core door with many doors.
There’s a sinister quiet, the place is so remote, and it seems dangerous. “It’s called crime prevention,” also McNutt says with a smile. He checks the boiler room and heads up another flight of stairs. “I really don’t know where I’m going here,” he says with a laugh, then more soberly; “you try to find the cubbyhole the Crooks use when they try to give you the slip you know where to find them.”
The next stop, house restaurant on Eutaw Street. Also McNutt motions to the bartender. “Just checking in to see if everything’s okay,” he says. I don’t know, I feel kind of strange,” the barkeep replies with a smile
“Well,” also McNutt shoots back, “you’re in the right neighborhood.”
It’s a soft fall night with the promise of rain and early dust, signaling the end of summer. Officer of Quinter is strolling through the northern branch of the four Mount Vernon Parks that encircled the Washington Monument, talking about winos.
“I’d rather they just for it out,” he says. “If I have to arrest them, it takes too much time away from the patrol.” Officer Quinter turns left, heading into the park across from the Peabody Conservatory of music. Two men on a bench sheer drink for paper bag while two other snooze.
The drinkers look up and see the uniform. Almost no words are spoken; the booze Goebbels gently out onto the pavement and they move on. Officer Quinter awakens the Sweepers, London’s to their feet and swiftly.
Officer Quinter South, to another park. He walks slowly and have the, his weight on the cooking almost, but watching and listening. But the Mount Vernon post is my night.
A 13 year veteran of the horse and the father of two teenagers, Officer Quinter became a policeman for a specific reason.
“I like outside work” he said. “And when you’re on the streets, you’re your own boss.
“Inside jobs I don’t like. Same place same people, day in, day out… Rush to get the work, rush to get home, Friday go to the bank cashed the check Saturday mode of dress, Sunday go for a ride and get back in time city adult ones “60 Minutes”
“The kids watch Walt Disney,” he adds with a laugh.
So in 1965, after a short stint as a stock clerk in a department store, Officer Quinter joined the Army. He got into a pretty fair line of work for someone who hates routine and loves the outdoors; jumping out of airplanes.
After serving three years in West Germany, Officer Quinter returned to Baltimore and signed up with the city police.
It was a wild time to be a policeman; officer quarter started in the late spring of 1968, shortly after the riots that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
From the beginning, he patrolled the downtown area. In the late 1960s, this meant covering peace demonstrations in war Memorial Plaza, assisting the detailed and guarded George C. Wallace at the Holiday Inn, and watching the street and flower power people who flourish in the downtown Parks and classes.
Everybody was working 12 hours shifts; all hell was going on,” he says of that time.
He pauses then as: “I guess I just looked out [the station of your while in the Army]... I knew people who got killed over there [in Vietnam].”
Officer Quinter’s new assignment two years later was a continued reflection of the time; he was placed in a spectacular narcotics unit, working out of the uniform and specialized in marijuana and LSD busts.
The Mount Vernon then was a hippie haven, and hallucinogens were the drug of choice. Officer Quinter points with a nightstick to grouper row houses and 800 block of N. Charles St., “I remember reading a couple of these places up here,” he says. “I never had any trouble making arrests.” He adds.
It was more difficult on lower Pennsylvania Avenue – another area then in Officer Quinter’s purview – where hair when was King. “They [the dealers] knew what day you are off, what hours you worked... I used to keep up a little with the nicknames, I had a notebook with all the nicknames next to their real name and addresses.”
He laughs and recalls a few handles; “Huckabuck, mojo – they used to call me Mr. Quint.”
After two years of requests, and got, a reassignment as a foot patrol officer, working in downtowns Charles center complex. He says he’s been happy there ever since, have finally found an outdoor job it’s different every day of the week.
“Some people say they would never be a policeman, because the work is too dangerous,” Officer Quinter says. He pauses at the corner of North Charles and center streets, where two cabbies have stopped for coffee at the white tower, and shrugs. “I would be a cab driver, a bus driver, or anything. More citizens get killed out there than police.”
It’s getting close to 11 PM quitting time. Nearby young man swerves down the sidewalk, announcing that the kingdom of God is at hand. The patrolman’s miles in sighs.
“Once, I stopped the woman right near that drugstore there” – MacGilivray’s at read and Charles – “because I got a vagrancy complaint.
“I said, “Are you begging for money?” And she said. “Not today.”
Officer Quinter laughs and adds; “other officers see all these crazies; they say I attract them.
“But I think they’re interesting people; I don’t mind, sometimes, you just have to know the language.”
And with another laugh and a wink, Officer Quinter strolls off into the night, radioing for a patrol car to take it back to the station.
NOTE.. We recently [28 July 2020] received an article written by a local Baltimore writer by the name of Bill Hughes about Baltimore's Footmen and they're having become a dying breed in our communities. To read the article click on the following link - A Lost Tradition in Baltimore - A Cop Walking His Beat
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.