Baltimore Protest Painting 72Courtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police
Digital Painting by Ken


Espantoon Info/History

According to Webster's Third Edition, an espantoon is defined as follows: "A spontoon A policeman's club in Baltimore" We'd like to start by saying that we collect nightsticks, Espantoons, batons, truncheons, and Billy clubs, among other things. If you have one for sale or would like to donate one, please contact us, as we are interested. We particularly enjoy the Baltimore espantoon for obvious reasons. Aside from being the stick carried by our law enforcement brothers and sisters, they also show a progression not only in what we carried or made but also in what the department made for us and issued to us. That being said, while we enjoy Baltimore sticks, we collect all sticks, from any state in the United States to any country on the planet.

We've always been serious about the Espantoon, which is why Baltimore City Police is the only police force in the world to use one. Also, if a Baltimore County Officer and a Baltimore City Officer both have sticks made by the same guy (say, Nightstick Joe), why is one guy's stick a baton or nightstick and the other an Espantoon? We asked several old-timers about the nomenclature of our Espantoon over the years. We were repeatedly told that the top part that appears to be the handle is actually the "Barrel Head," followed by the "Thong Groove," the "Ring Stop," and the "Shaft." The word "Barrel Head" could be a mispronunciation that, if pronounced correctly, would have solved the riddle much sooner, but we had to work with what we had! We knew the difference for years but couldn't put it into words. That was until Ken read the question asked by the reporter in a newspaper article one night, and it was a question that flipped the switch in Ken's mind, and once it was, it was like the old saying, "It couldn't be unseen!" We now appear to have more ways to describe or answer the question. So the 1970s newspaperman's question was, "If a Baltimore City Officer gifts his Espantoon to a Baltimore County Officer, is it still an Espantoon?" In Ken's eyes, the answer was no, and as strange as it may sound, it all comes down to training. For years, the satisfactory answer to the question of what makes an Espantoon an Espantoon was, "Webster's 3rd edition dictionary says it is!" That was unacceptable to us, so we dug deeper, reading every newspaper article, general order, and policy. This provided us with what we believe to be the most accurate answers. Everywhere else in the world, the part that looks like a handle is a handle, but in Baltimore City, we turn the stick around, and that handle-looking part is the striking end. If a city and county officer traded sticks, each would use their new stick according to their training, with one having a nightstick with a handle and the other having an espantoon with a burl head. That is what distinguishes a nightstick from an Espantoon. The following is some additional documentation on the subject.

What makes an espantoon, as the old question goes? A nightstick used exclusively by the Baltimore police. Here's the old answer, straight from the pages of Webster's Third Edition:


We couldn't explain what made an espantoon an espantoon until we read a 1970s Sun Paper newspaper article that asked, "If a Baltimore City officer gave his espantoon to a county officer, would it still be an espantoon?" This single question sparked an answer that we'd known for years but had difficulty putting into words for a reasonable explanation. By the way, the answer to the Sun's question is, of course, No! If a city officer gave his espantoon to a county officer, it would turn into a nightstick and cease to be an espantoon. This is why. The espantoon is defined in the Baltimore Police Department's General Orders, or what is now known as Baltimore Police "Policy," specifically in Policy number 1111. A wooden baton measuring 22–25 inches in length has a striking end measuring 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 inches in diameter and a grip end measuring 1-3/8 inches in diameter. For those who are not mathematicians, 1-1/2 - 1-3/4 inches is greater than 1-3/8 inches. The way we hold and use a baton or nightstick is what distinguishes it as an espantoon; other agencies do not hold or use a baton in this manner, making the espantoon unique to a Baltimore Police officer. But what if the county officer turns it around? In theory, it would, except that in Baltimore City, this can be done while remaining within the officer's training; in the county, the officer would be going against his or her training, and thus not only would it not be an espantoon, but the officer could be charged and lose his or her job. So, it's not just that we turn it around; it's also that it's within our agency's rules and training that we do so. Ed Bremer, a woodworker who turned espantoons for city police, once stated that the espantoon comes just before the handgun, so by using it, it has eliminated the need to step up to the firearm. For the record, the espantoon is also used to jab and pry, so one could pry a suspect's arms behind their back rather than strike their arms; jabbing in the stomach rather than swinging it like a baseball bat actually works better and eliminates the need to move up to the firearm; and Mr. Bremer stated, "This saves lives!"

burrell BarrellWoodworkers that Turned Baltimore Espantoons
1939 / 

1939 / 1957 – Rev W. Gibbs McKenney - Made BPD Issue - Sold to Howard Uniform - 10,000 hickory 2,000 redwood over 20 yrs

1957 / 1977 – Rev. John D.  Longenecker - Made BPD Issue - Sold to Howard Uniform - 10,000 hickory 2,000 redwood over 20 yrs

1955 / 1979 – Carl Hagen - Made BPD Issue & his own Stick - Sold to Howard Uniform and Officers - 2.000 various wood types over 24 yrs

1974 / 1977 – Edward Bremer - Made his own Stick – Sold to Officers - 300 various wood types over 3 yrs

1977 / 2007 – P/O Joe Hlafka - Made his own Stick - Sold to Officers and Police Supply Shops - 10,000 various wood types over 37 yrs


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Espantoon 18 Feb 1937 Taxi Strike

Baltimore Sun, August 3, 1956 - As we know, our police are not striking with the "handle end"; we strike with the "barrel head" per our training, General Orders, or Policy #1111. As you look through the photos on this page, you'll see that, as far back as we could find, officers carried their sticks in a way that would have them holding the handle end of the shaft and swinging the "barrel head," often confused as the stick's "handle end."

1 black devider 800 8 72Espantoon 18 Feb 1937 Taxi Strike

18 February 1937: Taxi Strike
Notice that in both places where we can see the espantoon, the officers are holding the Barrel Head out

IMG 6520

Courtesy Robert Oros
Nice espantoon picture showing a nice Baltimore Police Espantoon.
Also, notice it is held at the shaft with the Barrel Head or Striking end out

10 July 1979 Espantoon 72

Above is the article that best helped me put my answer into words about what makes an espantoon an espantoon. To read the full article, click on the picture above, and it will take you to the article. You can click on it after it opens if you need to zoom in.

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Do our sticks measure up?

The Evening Sun Mon Jul 23 1956 espantoon72

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The blue portion of the espantoon in the above illustration is frequently misidentified as the stick's handle, but it is actually the striking end. It's called a barrel head, which is most likely a mispronunciation, because the striking end of many blunt force weapons is called a "burl head." The blunt end, as in the Tomahawk and other similar weapons, can be added or carved into the weapon. Burl sounds more like Barrel in Baltimore, thanks to years of mispronunciation and a slight southern drawl. As a result, Burl Head was renamed Barrel Head. The shape of the Espantoon’s burl head is also kind of shaped like a wine barrel, which contributed to the error. In the same way that the JEEP, a military vehicle with ties to Baltimore, has a name derived from the letters G.P. for General Purpose G.P. said it often enough and fast enough, and it took on the sound of JEEP. Long before it was manufactured and marketed as the JEEP, it became JEEP and would have been forever called a Jeep with or without the JEEP's we know; similarly, the Burl Head on the striking end of our espantoon will now and forever be called a Barrel Head.

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An illustration with a key shows the often mistaken handle, which is in fact the striking end.

Nomenclature to the Espantoon

Nomenclature of the Espantoon

We took a Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka espantoon and painted the various pieces using a color key and the nomenclature with color key in order to make the barrel-head and other sections of the espantoon clear. We can see how the barrel-head can be mistaken for a handle by using BLUE for the burl-head or barrel-head in the illustration above. We can also understand why some older people might assume it resembles a wine barrel and think that's how it got its name. The old-timer genuinely said, "This is called the barrel head, if you look you can see it seem like an old wine barrel," when he was explaining the parts to me when I was a young officer. The "thong groove," which is where a leather tong is woven to prevent it from falling off the stick, can be seen if we look at the part of the stick that is painted yellow. In addition to being a component of the "thong groove," the area under the groove that has been painted grey is the "Ring stop," which serves to keep the espantoon from slipping through the nightstick ring on an officer's belt. The shaft, which is located behind the "ring stop," is stained the same color as the stick until we reach the "grip." On certain sticks, the grip can be turned into the stick, but most of the time it is just the area of the stick where we feel most comfortable grabbing it. For each person, it might be balanced differently. The Thong or strap, which is seen in the image, is also utilized differently. For me, I like to loop it over my ring finger, but I've also seen people loop it over their middle finger or even around their entire hand. To determine what works best for us, we must all test it in different ways.

Looking at the pictures below, we can see that the Baltimore Police carry what is known to them as the espantoon. It is carried in a way that keeps the barrelhead at the ready. Tucked under the weak arm with the striking end extending out toward the officer's back, it leaves the grip end ready for the officer to grab or grip with his or her strong hand in the event that it might be needed. In photograph A) we see it in the officer's strong hand. If necessary, he could turn his hand downward with the thong over a finger of the strong hand, allowing the stick to slide out until stopped by the strap. This would put the stick in his hand by the grip end, with the striking end out, and at the officer's ready. Photograph B) is as described above, tucked under the weak arm, ready to be grabbed with the strong hand at the grip end, which would leave the striking end again at the ready. PhotographC) and D) are similar in that the officer's stick is held in the strong hand, with the thong over a finger, and the stick is held at the halfway point, or so, with the striking end pointing forward, allowing the officer to simply loosen their grip while the stick slides forward until the thong brings it to a stop, at which point the stick would be ready for use. The important thing about Photograph D) is that the stick is behind the officer's back, so while he is holding it at the ready, he is not doing anything that could be seen as a threatening move to provoke confrontation. We can now see why these 4 pictures are a nice representation of how a Baltimore officer can always be ready to protect himself or the public without walking around in a way that might be seen as or used as an excuse to claim it as having been threatening. Compare the way a Baltimore officer holds the espantoon to the way other juristictions hold their nightstick, or billy clubs.

ESP means to Carry at the ready labled 72i

NOTE: We added a few non-Baltimore Police images to show how other law enforcement agencies handle their batons, nightsticks, and other items. When you carry something the way we do, it quickly strikes us as strange when we see someone else carry it backwards or upside down. For those who could be interested, this will be a pleasant educational experience, and for those who don't grasp it or don't understand it, there may even be some lightheartedness.


This is the difference: These officers are not Baltimore Police
They are not wielding an Espantoon in Baltimore; this would be considered
The Wrong End of the Stick


This is the difference: These officers are not Baltimore Police
They are not wielding an Espantoon in Baltimore; this would be considered
The Wrong End of the Stick

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esp an toon EDITED

The barrel-head, or section of the stick, is denoted by the letter "A" in the image above. Take note of how much cleaner the center of the barrelhead is than the shaft, particularly the area we have designated with the letter "B" on the shaft. Lines have been drawn at the top and bottom of the section we have labeled with the letter "C." Although this section is very dirty, it is not as filthy as the section we have labeled with the letter "B." This suggests to us that the Officer handled it frequently in the area designated "B," which may be a sign that the Officer rotated the stick as he moved about his post. When spinning a stick, that portion would most frequently be in the hand due to the frequent catches and releases. A stick with a little stain and no clear coat will pick up and keep the most filth after absorbing oil from the hands. Particularly when there is no swivel, the stick must be seized and released more frequently to keep it moving and keep it from tangling up upon itself. The stick was most likely carried in the strong hand, as can be seen if we look at it between the area marked "C." While many guys just utilize their strong hand, some guys learnt to spin or twirl with their weaker hand. Because other agencies do not permit an officer to carry an espantoon the way a Baltimore police officer would, this aids us in not only dating the stick but also demonstrating how it was handled. Every handprint also reinforces our belief that this was a Baltimore issued espantoon spun by a Baltimore officer. 

Looking at the previous image, which features the Officer in four different poses, we can see that his hand is typically resting in the middle of the shaft. Now we have to add to the gripping of the stick, at the shaft, what happens when the stick is actually used, either to strike someone, jab someone, or pry their arm, perhaps from behind their back, or from being wrapped around someone's neck or body. When someone is fighting an officer's attempts to subdue them, it also works to place them in an arm bar before either walking them to the wagon or handcuffing them. How an officer responds depends on whether the person is resisting while trying to run or resisting while attacking the officer. This implies that an officer's actions are frequently motivated by the person being detained.


Courtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police

Looking at the back of the Officer closest to us, we can see where his Espantoon comes from under his arm confirming that even in the 1930s the "barrel head," end was the striking out. Showing that as far back as the 30's Officer held the stick by the shaft, striking with the Barrel Head.

Strike Baltimore 1930s 2

Courtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police

If we look at the four-picture group, in particular, the second picture, the one marked with the letter "B," we'll see how the stick was most frequently tucked up under the Officer's weak-arm. We'll take another look at these images and others to better understand what is meant by "carried at the shaft." In contrast to the image that the majority of guys, including myself, saw, in the "A, B, C" image, the strong hand extends up and over to hold the stick in the area that was previously denoted by the letter "C." My favorite image is the one below, which shows an officer getting back into his car with the barrel-head extended and his hand at the grip end of the shaft.

Striking street cleaners on West Lexington Street February 22 1941 Photo by Eli AdalmanCourtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police

Spinning espantoonCourtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police

Take a look at the officer in the bubble, he is spinning his espantoon on the end of the thong/strap, very nice picture giving the year of the pic (1941) it is nice to see it being done so long ago. This pic was taken by Eli Alaman

Strike Baltimore 1930s 3

Courtesy Eli Alaman
22 February 1941 Strike, Baltimore Police

Taking a look at the motor's officer walking toward the right side of the pic, he is holding the stick at the bottom of the shaft, with the barrel head out front and away from his hand, looking close you can see, he is one of the guys that carved the barrel head so it was no longer convex, a lot of guys would reshape their espantoon to make it unique to them.


Courtesy Robert Oros
Nice espantoon picture showing a nice Baltimore Police issued espantoon.
Looking more closely we can also see he had a swivel added to the thong.

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ESP held in check dropped shadow 72

This is a most commonly used "Striking-position," it is also a catch, and or release position of holding the stick when spinning/twirling the espantoon.

The Evening Sun Wed Jul 5 1961 pink ribbons and Espantoons 72

1861 Baltimore Police dressed in plain clothes and were distinguished by 
a pink ribbon on their left lapel, and an espantoon in their hands 


The Baltimore Sun Fri Jun 28 1861

This clipping was taken from a 28 June 1861 Sun paper. Notice it says
"New Police force was appointed in the several districts, under military authority..."  
"Newly appointed policemen were designated by a Pink Ribbon, and
they carried the usual Police Club" which in 
Baltimore is the Espantoon


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Reverend McKenney and Reverend Longenecker

This is a vintage espantoon from the Baltimore Police Department that was produced between 1937 and 1977 by either Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney or the Rev. John D. Longenecker. An interesting meeting took place when the elder reverend [McKenney], who had spent years turning police sticks for Howard Uniform to be given to men of the Baltimore Police, decided to retire. When the second reverend [Longenecker] saw the listing, the tools were already gone. Reverend McKenney had already decided to give his tools to a boy’s school, but he told the second reverend that if he was interested and could gather the necessary tools, he would help get him the Howard Uniform Espantoon Contract. Soon after, the two reverends were together, with the senior reverend teaching the junior reverend his tricks for turning the Baltimore Espantoon. Since he was a young child working at his family's furniture manufacturing company in Pennsylvania, the younger pastor had been turning chair parts on a lathe (it was his job to turn the rails for the chairs his father, and older brothers were making.) He quickly learned the pattern, and best of all, he could turn them from memory. According to a family relative, he simply put the one stick he received from Reverend McKenney on a wall nearby his lathe, and all of the sticks were quite similar. If I recall correctly, the second Reverend claimed that turning a stick initially took him an hour, but that once he was ready to begin, he was able to turn three or four sticks in the same hour.

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27 Mar 1995 copy 72

Click HERE or the above Article 27 Mar 1995 72 pt2

Click HERE or the above Article 

Sun Mon Mar 27 1995 copy 72

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ESP means to Carry at the ready labled 72i

Look at where the stick is most frequently held, and we'll see why the handprints are where they are and how this is a Baltimore thing. We have and will continue to see this photo on the site. Go get your stick, or the next time you pick one up at a flea market or antique shop, search for these telltale indicators. If we read our general instructions, we see numerous paragraphs explaining the several batons allowed in use by the department. When they describe the espantoon, they describe it as follows. After all, no other agency had their officers turn a nightstick around and use the handle as the business end. The espantoon is a wooden baton that is between 22 and 25 inches long, with a striking end that is 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches in diameter and a grip end that is 1-3/8 inches in diameter. Only an Oak, Ash, Maple, Hickory, or Rosewood finish may be applied to this baton due to its color restrictions. Decorations are not permitted.

NOTE: We are not claiming that we won't find marks where officers from other agencies didn't carry their batons at the shaft; rather, we are claiming that, in most cases where the stick is not straight and does have a handle, the handle will not be as clean as the Baltimore Espantoon's Barrel head or Burl-head.

To further appreciate what makes a Espantoon, a Espantoon, we must evaluate the differences between a nightstick carried in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, or by any other police officer in any other police department anywhere in this country. In essence, a Chicago stick could be distinguished from other sticks by the distinctive turning pattern of its handle. Baltimore may not have a pattern for optional officer self-purchased sticks, but the provided sticks were the same style from 1937 until 1992. The sticks weren't all that different before 1937; nevertheless, the quality was a little more appealing. A Baltimore baton might be easily selected from a throng of sticks if either the older versions or the more contemporary variants were placed on a table with other batons from across the world.

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Below are Some Baltimore Police Issued Espantoons


1920's Baltimore Police Issue

21317920 10211220883901382 1881911624495296007 n

Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker

Stick 1

Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Courtesy David Eastman

Look at the officer's espantoon seen on the right side of this pic, and notice how it is carried, held in his right hand with the thong ran through his fingers, and the barrel head out as he is gripping it by the shaft of the espantoon. This pic is taken in the early 1900's but we can clearly see he carries it the way it is carried today, indicating the striking end back then, was as it was in the 1960's and 1970's when Ken's uncles walked a beat in Baltimore, and the 1980/90's when Ken walked a beat in Baltimore. The striking end in Baltimore would be considered the handle to all other jurisdictions, and if other departments used it the way Baltimore did, it was only Baltimore that had it in the officer's general orders that the striking end was the wider end of the baton, the handle in Baltimore is the thinner end, the end known here as the "Shaft."


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker - This has one edge shaved flat so it would stay in place without popping out every time we turn a sharp corner or hit a pothole. The flat spot helps keep it in place when it's forced between the dashboard padding and the transmission hump.


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker - There was a time in the mid 50's that officers would shave the Barrel Head of their Espantoon Taking it from convex to flat/straight then add or re-cut grooves in the new Barrelhead 

72 DSC5243

Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker  - This is another case of someone attempting to straighten the convex, "Barrel-Head" 


Issued Stick 1987 

This was issued to me on 17 June 1987 when I was hired and sworn in


 Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker 


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker Model Circa 2015 

 DSC5183 Non-Issue Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker

Stick 2

Non-Issued Stick 1937 - 1977

Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Rev. John D. Longenecker


Carl Hagen turned sold through Howard Uniform
circa 1965


Carl Hagen

This is an early Carl Hagen Stick, it came while he was still turning them to the size of an issue stick, and isn't too far off of the standard issue stick, he just added a few things to make it stand out from the issue stick, the barrel-head is a little over sized and it is turned from an oak. 


P/O Raymond Wheatley holding a Carl Hagen stick, notice how Carl rounded the tops of his sticks, this is a nice old stick. Also, notice how Officer Wheatley picked up a small child to help him better see a parade that he had attended, but couldn't enjoy over the crowd. Officer Wheatley not only gave the kid a lift, bought him a cup of soda too. 


Carl Hagen
1955 - 1979

This is one of Carl's first unique designs, it was done solely by him and became a popular design from his sticks. In the next pic, we'll see Officer Ray Wheatley holding a Carl Hagen Espantoon, it is more of an issue cut, but with a modern (at the time) cut, the cut that ended up being refined into the sticks we saw turned by Ed Bremer and Joe Hlafka.


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection
Carl Hagen Model
Circa 2015


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection Thin Blue Line Stick
Carl Hagen Model
Circa 2015 


Prior to Issued Sticks 1954 - 1960
Rev. W. Gibbs McKenney & Carl Hagen

At some point when McKenney had retired from turning sticks, he had donated his lathe and tools to a boy's school out west, and before meeting Reverend Longenecker, McKenney he had met Carl Hagen and showed him how to turn sticks, for whatever reason, Carl turned some sticks for Howard Uniform, he just didn't get the 500+ stick a year contracts from Howard Uniform that the Reverends McKenney & Longenecker received.


Carl Hagen
1955 - 1979 


Jim Brock
Perfection Collection Lignum vitae #001 Stick 

Lignum vitae is on top 10 lists of hardest woods depending on the list it is either 2nd or 4th One might be how dense the wood is, while the other might be how dense the guy/gal is that is trying to spelling Lignum Vitae Joe Hlafka Model Circa 2015 


Ed Bremer
1974 - 1977


Jim Brock
Edward Bremer Model
Circa 2015  


1977 - 2007
P/O Joe Hlafka 


Joe Hlafka

1987 - I bought this from Joe Hlafka direct, apparently someone ordered it, paid half down and before it was done they found their stick and told Joe, they didn't need it anymore, could he sell it to someone for the remainder of the balance, I was the lucky guy that talked to Joe about a stick, and he gave me the stick for $12.50. I have replaced the thong twice, had it, "I say" stolen once, the guy that took it, called it, "found". How you can find an espantoon in the trunk of a patrol car, and not think it must belong to someone. Not to mention DRISCOLL is written around the stick in blue sharpie by the Ring Stop - Anyway, it is a 30 plus-year-old stick. BTW I stopped the kid as he was going out to his post, so I loan it to him for the shift, and told him to get it back to me, "in my hand," the next day. I couldn't send him on the streets without a stick.


I Turned this Myself 

1990 - I put the extra groove on the shaft because after carrying it for a day or two I realized the stick felt good, weight was nice, but the shaft was too think to hold on while swinging it, So I taped the thong to the barrel-head with Duct tape, and put the stick back on the lathe and shaved a hand-grip in the shaft. After shaving the shaft to a comfortable grip, I was done, pulled the tape, and it was a spinner, or umm, I mean a winner, 

72 irish DSC5119

Irish Shillelagh

This is to point out the striking part of this weapon, that blunt looking rock, or fist shaped portion at the end of this weapon, and any blunt force weapon is called the "Burl-Head". On the Espantoon the blunt striking end resembles, and is often mistaken for the weapon's handle is called the "Barrel-Head." Most likely stemming from a misunderstanding caused by Baltimore's southern drawl, or bad "accent," causing a listener to misunderstand what a speaker may have said, Burl-head to thinking the speaker said, "Barrel-head." In 1987 when an old timer told me, he even pointed to the shape and, said, this is because this looks like an old wine barrel. Truth be told, it wasn't a barrel at all, it's a burl.

Carl Hagen 1957 77s

Barrel Head

This is the Barrel-head of one of Carl Hagen's early sticks - This Rounded off top end was exclusive to Carl Hagen, and was found more on the West side of Baltimore than the East. The East-side Espantoons saw more of a two or three tiered layers each with a hard edge that sat atop the espantoon like a crown on top the barrel head end of the stick. If we look at Carl's earlier stuff, he had a two or three-tiered top edge also, but it wasn't a hard edge. Carl had a super soft, smooth transition going tier to tier on the barrel head.

Ed Bremer 1974 77s

Barrel Head

This is the Barrel-head from one of Ed Bremer's early sticks, he put what he called a "Nib" on the top of all his Barrel head. Mr. Bremer felt he saved lives, both of Officers and Suspects because as he once said, "Nightsticks Save Lives, Preventing Officers from a need to escalate from hand-to-hand combat to the use of a firearm." The faster we can get a suspect into cuffs the safer it is for both the officer and the suspect. This stick is turned from Lignum vitae, a wood that was banned by the department as it was too heavy, hard and they felt could cause serious injury or death.

 7 grooves Espantoon

The Barrel-head of Baltimore's Issued Espantoon 

Interesting Theory – In 1957, when Reverend John D. Longenecker began producing them for Howard Uniform, the espantoon issued by Baltimore adopted its final design. If we look, we can see that the Reverend gave his version of our Espantoon’s barrel-head seven grooves. While there is no proof and it cannot be verified, some officers at the time of the change noticed and believed it was because there were only seven districts at the time. Since the Southeastern District wasn't added until 1959 and the Western District was closed in 1951, we only had seven districts in 1957. The Southeast District opened around the same time that the Western District did. As a result, we only had 7 districts for a long time. We only had 4 districts when we first started, and over the years, that number changed several times. If we go back far enough, we can see this. Therefore, during the course of our department's history, the number of districts has fluctuated. But there were just seven districts when Reverend Longenecker began rotating the Espantoon. Was it just a coincidence, or could that be the reason he made the barrel-head of his rendition of Baltimore's Espantoon out of the seven grooves? 

Our Espantoon Collection


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December 12, 1987

Vol. 12, No. 10, August 2002, Revised/Reviewed

ESPANTOON HISTORY – According to Webster's Dictionary, an espantoon is "a policeman's nightstick in Baltimore." The name "Spontoon," from which the phrase derives, refers to the weapon and badge of power that Roman Legion officers carried. In 1784, Baltimore hired paid police officers. The officer "walking the beat" was a familiar sight until the department shifted to motorized patrol units in the middle of the 1960s. The ability of a foot patrol officer in every significant East Coast American city to spin the "nightstick" until it practically danced was one of their most distinctive qualities. The espantoon is unquestionably a defensive weapon, both then and now. The goal of whirling the espantoon was multifaceted. Before the portable two-way radio, the officer was alone, and the "twirling" formed and safeguarded a "personal zone." The familiarity with the "stick" that came from spinning the espantoon helped to build confidence in carrying it. The espantoon was also utilized for communication. A quick touch on the espantoon indicated a warning or a request for assistance. A distinctive "ring" was made when the espantoon was flipped and fell away of the hand, striking the concrete. This method is still used by foot patrol officers to communicate with one another today. On calm evenings, it is very powerful. Even when "tapped" in a crowded area, another officer is typically the only one to notice. Training Guideline Vol. 12, No. 10 Page - 2 - Departmental regulations permit an officer to replace a department-supplied espantoon with one they individually purchased as long as the replacement is comparable to the issued equipment in terms of size, composition, and design. The department's provided espantoon is made of solid wood and measures 22" long by 1 1/4" in diameter. On one end, there is a handle with a groove where a leather strap or thong can be fastened. From the groove to the Espantoon’s base, the thong stretches.

COME-ALONG AND HANDCUFFING ASSIST TECHNIQUE – The espantoon can be used as a come-along or to help handcuff an arrestee. Most are too complex to briefly detail here. The officer must always maintain control of the espantoon as a crucial component of all of these strategies. The espantoon is primarily used as a lever to add power (torque) to the officer’s hand and arm movement. The speed of the Espantoon’s top is crucial. Slash forward while holding the espantoon (with one hand) in a cocked position. For greatest power, make sure the wrist is snapped forward to accelerate the top two inches of the espantoon. After impact, do not jerk back. Follow through all the way around your body. If a second strike is needed right away, use your back hand and snap your wrist again for maximum force.

JABBING AREAS AND TECHNIQUE – Another way to stop an attack and regain control is to jab the attacker with the espantoon. Jabbing is particularly effective in close quarters encounters like those in a narrow hallway or a crowded area. This would include any circumstance in which "swinging" the Espantoon would be ineffective or dangerous to others. The stomach region is the best place to use a jab. When used in a single-handed, short-reach position, the espantoon jab is particularly efficient at deterring an unexpected attack. A jab in the single hand long reach position has few uses, such as distancing a target or attacker. Using both hands to jab is the most efficient method. With the gun pointed away from the attacker and one hand near the top and the other towards the bottom of the espantoon. The process is the same as bayoneting a rifle. Approach the attacker, who is prodding the victim's stomach with the end of the espantoon while pulling it higher. Both movements are performed with force. Training Manual, Volume 12, Number 7, Page 3. Most officers have traditionally created or bought their own Espantoons. Each one is different even though they must all be built entirely of wood and be roughly the same size as the given model. They are particularly individualized due to the variances in wood sizes, shapes, and tones. Frequently, a single espantoon is worn throughout a career, independent of rank or duty assignments. The espantoon has occasionally been passed down to younger generations of officers as a family relic. The phrase "nightstick" was derived from the need that police carry the espantoon during the "night-time" hours, i.e., 4 x 12 and 12 x 8 shifts. Throughout the day, it was optional. Whilst on duty, police officers are advised to carry their Espantoons. In the escalation of force, the use of espantoon is a step below the service revolver. The espantoon gives the officer options and more security when using force. The espantoon can be used to gain control if the attacker is thwarting the officer's attempts to defend himself. The alternatives for self-defense are significantly constrained if the espantoon is left in the automobile or otherwise ignored.

DEFENSIVE USE – The right way to carry the espantoon is with the index or middle finger through the leather thong in the weak (non-gun) hand. When interviewing one or more potentially hostile suspects, the espantoon may be placed under one arm. This permits the officer to write with both hands.

STRIKING AREAS AND TECHNIQUES – Do I strike with my strong hand? is a common query. Though it is a natural tendency in high-stress situations, the majority of officers will use their strong hand, but using your weak hand is equally appropriate. Use the hand that will be used to strike when spinning or twirling your espantoon. You can determine the exact length of the espantoon by spinning it. Like an extension of your arm, this understanding will improve familiarity and confidence. When and where you should "twirl the stick" should be well thought out. To prevent the danger of harming other people or causing property damage, the espantoon should not be spun in close quarters. The espantoon might look nicer in some circumstances if it is left in the ring. The officer should get a lighter espantoon if it feels uncomfortable or is too heavy. The speed of the espantoon, not its mass, determines its power. An espantoon that is too heavy for the officer will be ineffective. When an officer is compelled to strike someone, he is only allowed to strike as hard as is required to subdue the attacker and make an arrest.

Vol. 12, No. 7, Page 4 of the Training Guideline The legs are the best target locations. Around four inches above the knee, the point of impact should be on the outside rear quadrant of the upper leg. The sciatic nerve splits off there to form the common peroneal nerve. When this area is struck, the leg will unconsciously bend in a reflexive motion. The opposite leg will "buckle" in a sympathetic nerve reflex, which will likewise cause the attacker to tumble to the ground. Upon the calf has the same breathtaking impact. Strikes to the knee joint can permanently harm muscles, tendons, and bones. The ideal target locations are the legs; however, an officer is not just confined to the legs. Any head contact must be avoided. Judges have ruled that employing an impact weapon to strike someone in the head counts as utilizing lethal force. An officer should hold the espantoon in the "long reach" stance before striking. The index finger should be inserted through the leather thong while the hand is at the base. The top two inches of the upper part should be the most noticeable. These techniques provide the espantoon rapid access while freeing up the hands. These methods aren't harmful, but they do give the officer more assurance and better situational control. Drawing the espantoon from the ring when the officer is in a scenario where the use of force is likely to escalate is usually provocative and makes things worse. Neither "slapping" the free end of the "stick" into an open hand nor pointing the espantoon in a menacing manner is advised while attempting to manage a person or a situation. These behaviors arouse suspicion and put the officer in danger.

Typically, these are referred to as "Bog Sticks." According to Gary, when the Irish began to fill many of the positions in American police service sometime between 1890 and 1910, they weren't fond of the nightsticks that were in use at the time. So, they requested bog wood be brought to them via letters sent home to Ireland, their homeland. Bog wood resembles petrified wood in many ways. After spending many years immersed in Irish bogs, the oak had turned to stone. The timber is practically unbreakable. Craftsmen in Ireland would carve pictures of things from home, such as shamrocks, dogs, cairns, etc., on the sticks if you were one of the "favored sons." These sticks, which are often from the New York City region, are quite uncommon and genuine pieces of art. Gary Provenzano has had these 2 in his collection for a long time.


1 black devider 800 8 72

1111 Batons and Impact Weapons 1 721111 Batons and Impact Weapons 2 721111 Batons and Impact Weapons 3 72



The Perfection Collection 

perfection collection 1

The Perfection Collection was a well turned set of sticks turned to replicate four of Baltimore's most well known nightstick espantoon turners. Department Issued were turned by one of two Reverends, then three well known highly collectable stick makers Carl Hagen, Ed Bremmer and, Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka
perfection collection

Top Down - Department Issued Turned by Rev McKenney or Rev. Longenecker 
Carl Hagen, Edward Bremmer, and Joseph "Nightstick Joe" Hlafka


perfection collection

Courtesy Gary Provenzano

These are generally called "Bog Sticks". The story Gary shares is that when the Irish started taking over many of the jobs in American Police work in this country sometime around the turn of the Century, (1890/1910) they didn't care for the nightsticks being used at the time. So, they wrote back home to Ireland and asked to have bog wood sent to them. Bog wood is basically a petrified wood. It's an oak that had turned to stone after many years submerged in the bogs of Ireland. The wood is almost indestructible. If you were one of the, "favored sons," craftsmen in Ireland would carve the sticks with images from home, like shamrocks, dogs, cairns, etc. These sticks, usually from the New York City area are pretty rare and true works of art. The 2 shown have been in  Gary Provenzano's collection for many years.


That's it for Now But with the number of sticks being sent in as gifts and those I buy, this will be continued for sure. Thanks for looking

Handcuffs and Restraints


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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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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 


39 Minutes

Baltimore City Police

 39 Minutes of Terror


Hail of sniper bullets in 1976 changed five lives forever. The incident forever changed the Baltimore Police Department One Officer dead four others shot and critically wounded A detailed account of the incident from official reports including the time line of each minute as this unfolded. Official BPD reports, photographs from public domain and news articles will give the full story as never seen or heard before. With the guidance, assistance and help of Lieutenant Joseph Key who was 1930 unit that faithful night to later assume 2501 Command Post, Incident Commander. The Command Post Unit #2501 once activated becomes the voice and authority of the Baltimore Police Commissioner. A transcript of each BPD Radio channel will be posted in its entirety. Each and every word that was spoken over BPD communications will be presented to give insight as to exactly was taking place that night.


I provided Bill Hackley with the materials regarding Lombard and Carey and the inception of the Quick Response Teams because I had them for thirty plus years and, like me, they were just getting older and not doing anybody much good. What good can these materials do? They can serve as a reminder that preserving the status quo in the dangerous business of police work can get cops killed. All of the materials concerning Lombard and Carey are a matter of public record. The documents concerning the establishing of the Quick Response Teams are not public records, but, since I wrote them and have provided them to countless other agencies, I am putting them out there. Their only relevance now is to history. The reader will note that they are signed by the, then, Acting Commanding Officer of Tactical, who believed that any correspondence from his unit should be signed by him. As long as the program was approved, it didn’t make much difference to me whose signature was on it. Regardless, they document the founding of SWAT operations in the Baltimore Police Department at a time when moving ahead with new concepts was like pulling good teeth out of a really pissed off Grizzly Bear’s mouth–a chancy business at best.

Some of the heroes in the command structure at the beginning of that process were Bishop Robinson and Joe Bolesta. Of particular note on the operational level, then and later, was Lieutenant Darryl Duggins (1901 in the City Wide Communications Tape Transcript). Duggins was a sometimes recalcitrant, always plain spoken, always forge ahead and damn the "brass," brilliant leader and implementer of the structural minutia that makes a group of diverse and resistive personalities into a cohesive unit. Darryl was a Marine at Chosin Reservoir. Nothing else needs to be said.

How do the documents concerning the founding of the QRT relate to Lombard and Carey? The one led to the other, or, rather, significantly sped up the other. In the months just prior to Lombard and Carey, Bishop Robinson, who was Chief of Patrol, convened several meetings of Tactical supervisors and the Commanding Officer of Tactical, Joe Bolesta. Bolesta was, and is, a more refined version of Duggins; i.e., a man that had the fortitude to stand up to command, but could do it without making unnecessary enemies that could hurt

his goals and those of his unit. I was a sergeant in Tactical at the time (1930 and 2501 in the City Wide Communications Tape Transcript) and was assigned the task of writing the general order for the resolution of sniper, barricade, and hostage situations. I completed that assignment by January of 1976. With Captain Bolesta’s permission, I began training my squad in SWAT procedures. We worked mostly on our time with equipment we bought and used tactical procedures I had acquired from military tactics manuals, Los Angeles SWAT (In operation, by contrast, since the late 60's), New York SWAT, and other similar programs. We did all of the physical training on our own time, although the effort was something like filling up a balloon with mud. In February of ‘76, Captain Bolesta sent my squad to the FBI SWAT school. On Good Friday, April 16, 1976, my squad was the only squad in the Baltimore Police Department with any SWAT training. On that evening John Earl Williams decided to impress his girlfriend by killing a few cops.

Shortly before 7:00 p.m. on Good Friday the temperature was above 90 degrees. TAC had been redeployed to the area around Lombard and Carey because Williams had called and told Communications that he planned to kill cops. Williams was a nothing person whose girlfriend (in his mind only) had told him to get lost. His attempt to impress her landed him in prison, where, the last I heard, he has had many relationships much more "fulfilling" than the one he used as an excuse for his madness. I’m sure his role in prison is the achievement pinnacle of his pathetic life.

Williams had briefly been in the National Guard and had received some training in weapons and tactics from them. He had also stolen some equipment from the Guard and had amassed a large quantity of ammunition and long guns. Specifically, that night he was shooting a 300 Winchester magnum, an 8mm Magnum, a 30-06, a 12 gauge shotgun, and perhaps others. After ingesting some PCP, he began his shooting spree shortly before 7:00 p.m.. His first targets were TAC officers, who, ironically, became his targets because of their redeployment to the area in response to his threats.

As for the rest of the story, the transcript of the tapes and photos will tell it. All of the officers were shot within the first nine minutes of the inception of the incident. They were removed from the line of fire within forty minutes and the

incident was over in less than an hour. There were numerous heroes on that night, starting with, of course, Jimmy Halcomb, a decorated Marine Vietnam veteran. A hero not just because he gave his life, but because he, like nearly two hundred other cops, responded to the call of cops taking fire. He and the officers who were wounded (Jimmy Brennan, Art Kennel, Neal Splain, Calvin Mencken, Roland Miller) were trying to stop Williams and did what cops do by profession and calling–they ran into the mouth of the dragon when others were running away. Also, off duty Homicide Detective, Nick Giangrazo (forgive the spelling), who ran from a position of safety across Lombard Street into the killing zone to help put Jimmy Brennan in a van and drive him from the scene. Brennan had been dragged behind the van by his friend and fellow Western District Officer, Doug Bryson, during a hail of gunfire. He had lain there bleeding from the time the incident began, but was kept alive by Bryson who had applied direct pressure to Brennan's gaping, gushing wounds in his elbow and side. Then there was Mike Hurm from TAC and Frank Stallings from the Western who pulled Halcomb out during the barrage of cover fire. It was, unfortunately, too late because Officer Halcomb had died instantly, but their effort was no less courageous. The reality was that all of the officers who responded that night did so selflessly and without concern for their personal safety and with the one overriding motivation of helping brother officers.

The entire incident lasted a little more than thirty-five minutes, but its repercussions still linger through today. I was scheduled to start training other TAC squads in SWAT tactics on Monday, April 19th. Lombard and Carey had been the first incident where members of the, then, nonexistent QRT had been deployed. Members of my squad were assigned as observers for the counter-sniper, an evacuation team, a gas deployment team, and entry team for 1303 Lombard after Williams was forced out by the cover fire fusillade. Those roles had been learned and practiced primarily on their own time. Lombard and Carey would lay the groundwork for ensuring that training and equipping the QRT became a mandated, on-duty, part of the Department’s response to sniper, barricade, and hostage situations.

There were many flaws in the Department’s response to Lombard and Carey. Communications’ discipline was practically nonexistent. Officers gave conflicting information concerning the location of Williams, which resulted in

officers firing on officers. Contradictory information concerning the removal of wounded officers resulted in Jimmy Halcomb being left where he fell for over twenty minutes. Again, Halcomb was killed immediately, but that didn’t change the fact that his location should have been identified and a rescue effort mounted much more quickly. The command post, 2501, was implemented and manned only by a rookie sergeant who gave all of the orders until 1303 Lombard had been declared secure by the entry team. Two colonels were on the scene, but neither gave orders, responded and/or stayed at the command post until after Williams came out.

Over the years there has been much criticism concerning the handling of Lombard and Carey. The main reason why it occurred the way it did, however, was the failure by the Department to recognize the need for a specialized team and disciplined response to such incidents well before the efforts of Bishop Robinson and Joe Bolesta. After all, there had been many similar incidents around the country and several such incidents in Baltimore prior to April 16th. Old line thinking, petty interdepartmental rivalries, and a drag-them-out-by-their-hair mentality dictated the entire response spectrum to situations like Lombard and Carey. I wish that I could say that Good Friday, April 16, 1976 changed all of that, but it would take many years for any true change to occur and, even then, not a whole hearted change. In addition to honoring the cops that were there that night, the posting of these materials is meant to stand as a stark reminder of what can happen when a police department loses, or, more accurately, never finds its ability to give the same weight to issues vital to officer safety as it does to its crime reduction mission. In the past crime reduction has trumped all other concerns. Today, the certain eventuality of terrorist attacks in this country should compel the Baltimore Police Department to ensure that all of its officers are well prepared to meet such challenges. It is an absolute that Baltimore Police Officers will thrust themselves into the breach, with or without proper training, with or without appropriate guidelines, and with or without necessary equipment. They will do so and some will pay the price like Jimmy Halcomb, Jimmy Brennan, Roland Miller, Art Kennel, Neal Splain, and Calvin Mencken did on that hot night in April. It is incumbent on the Baltimore Police Department to provide them the tools, guidelines, and training they will need. The tragedy of Lombard and Carey demands that.

Finally, I didn’t know what I was going to do with the documents that I had until I came across Bill Hackley’s website. I was much impressed by his sole dedication to memorializing the Baltimore Police Department’s rich history and the huge amount of work he puts into the effort. Although retired from active service, his exemplary service to the Department and its officers continues today. I can think of no better way to have the story of Lombard and Carey told than to entrust it to Bill Hackley. I know he will do it justice.

Charles J. Key
Lieutenant, Baltimore Police Department (Retired)

po Halcomb

Baltimore City Police Officer Jimmy Dale Halcomb age 31, E.O.W. April 16, 1976, an 8 year veteran of the Western District and a former Marine. He was married, the father of two children and his widow Angela was expecting their 3rd. child within the month. His badge number is 293 and he was the first BPD Officer to die in the line of duty in 1976. - Jimmy died on Good Friday and his killer was born on Christmas Day, 18 years earlier.

officers wounded

Officer James A. Brennan, 25 years old assigned Western District, wounds on the left side and right shoulder. - Officer Neil C. Splain, 28 years old assigned Southern District, shotgun wounds in the face. - Officer Roland W. Miller, 23 years old assigned Southern District, shotgun wounds left arm. - Officer Calvin L. Mencken, Jr. Assigned to the Southern District, shotgun wounds in the face. - Officer Arthur E. Kennell,Jr. shotgun wounds in the face and eyes. - Civilian: George Weaver 23 years old, bullet wound in the hand.

This sketch is slightly off scale as you can clearly see in the aerial shots. The BCFD house should be where the two cars are sketched. As officers reported on the air that they were on the roof of the firehouse and were looking down on where the injured officers were pinned down.

Officer Jimmy Halcomb and the other officers were shot within six minutes of the start of this incident, avery warm evening with 90+ degrees at the time of this operation.

When cover fire was ordered for the attempt for officers to reach the injured officers 487 rounds were fired in sixty seconds as determined by reports written by each officer involved.


Police Department

Baltimore, Maryland
16, April 1976


City-Wide Dispatcher



CAR: 1933. We have shots fired.

DIS: Unit in reference to the shots being fired. No. the unit with the shots fired.

CAR: 1933 in the unit block of South Carey, we got somebody shooting at us.

DIS: Unit South Carey. 10-4


DIS: Unit Block of South Carey,1933 says someone is discharging firearms at that location. Unit block of south Carey.

FT: Foxtrot responding.

DIS: Okay. 1933 are they shooting at you.

CAR: 10-4, they shot the radiator out of the car.


DIS: All units be advised they are shooting at 1933 car, unit block of south Carey SIGNAL 13, time 1900

CAR:__?___ responding to South Carey.

CAR: 1933- advise them not to come up Carey Street. They're gonna get shot.

DIS: all units all units 10-6 1933 only.

CAR: Tell them not to come up Carey , they're gonna get shot.

DIS: Don't come up Carey Street.


DIS: All units be advised do not go up Carey Street. Do not go on the unit block of Carey.

CAR: Keep 'em off Lombard. 1901 in reference.


DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: Ascertain if 1933 can operate his vehicle and if so, get it out of that area.

DIS: 1933

CAR: 1912 in reference.

DIS: Go ahead

CAR: Be advised the third floor house on the corner. The man is armed with a shotgun.
DIS: Third floor house on the corner Unit block Carey?

CAR: __?__ hundred block of South Carey.

DIS: Cruising Patrol Eleven.

CAR: C.P. 11.

DIS: Okay you respond to the unit block South Carey, don't go on Carey Street at this time.

CAR: Negative on Carey Street 10-4, sir.


CAR: 1914. Advise Fox Trot it sounds like rifle fire.

DIS: All units 10-6 1914, go ahead.

CAR: Sir, advise Foxtrot it sounds like rifle fire.

FT: Fox Trot OK, we'll leave the area.

DIS: OK, I got rifle fire, is that the unit block South Carey on the corner; can you give me a house number or something better.

CAR: --?---?---- House.

DIS: The third floor the corner house. Can you give me the corner? What's it, Northwest, Southwest corner.

CAR: Southwest corner second house from the corner.

DIS: Southwest corner, second house.


DIS: Ok, in reference to this shooting, the subject is in the second house from the corner, Southwest corner. He's on the third floor. He may have a rifle. Fox Trot use caution.


FT: Fox Trot OK we're a good distance away, and we still have it under observation.

DIS: 10-4

CAR: Cruising Patrol Eleven --?--. CP 11.

CAR: 1924---have our units switch to City-Wide so we can control --?--.

DIS: KGA to unit 9


CAR: 1919- we still got gun shots. Have them get these people in the house.

CAR: Cruising Patrol 11.

CAR: Have all units clear these people off the street.

DIS: KGA to unit 9.

CAR: 1912 to Fox Trot. Leave the area.

FT: Fox Trot OK.

CAR: CP 11.

CAR: 1912


DIS: Attention all cars, information from Unit 9, stay out of the Unit Block of South Carey Street. Try to get a location.

CAR: 10-33, 10-33.


DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: 793- My partner's hit down here. Get me an Ambo.

DIS: What location?

CAR: Please get me the ambo down here now.

CAR: 10-33

DIS: Where's 793 at?

CAR: Unit South Carey Street; Unit South Carey.


Car: C.P. 11- Ascertain where they want us to move into for a command post?

DIS: KGA to Unit 9.

Car: Unit block of South Carey, pedestrians are still coming in this area.

DIS: All units 10-6 on this channel in reference to the 10-33. 10-6. 793 can you give us an exact location?

CAR: Yes Sir, right in front of the fire house on Carey Street. Don't let these come in here. And if you could have some of these police return fire to that guy so we can get this officer out of here.

CAR: 1912 with a 10-33. 1912.


DIS: 1912.

CAR: Be advised Sir the subject is on the third floor and it's the second house in from the store. There's a pocketbook on the front steps and information from the neighbors, this guy's got arsenal in there. Better get E.V.U. over there.

DIS: Ok, see if you can ascertain from a neighbor or somebody, get us an exact address.


Attention all cars in reference to Carey Street. We have second house from the store. He's in the third floor: he's heavily armed.

CAR: 1944.

DIS: 1944.

CAR: Can you have a unit respond to----ah, correction, the truck. The sniper equipment on it---ah, stand by. I'll give you a location later.

CAR: Is the E.V.U. unit responding?

DIS: Cruising Patrol 11's on the way; where do you want Cruising Patrol 11 to go?

CAR: 1930- Did anybody establish a command post?


DIS: KGA to Unit 9.

CAR: 1901

DIS: 1901, can you set up a Command Post?

CAR: 10-4, when I arrive on the scene. But in the meantime can you have 1910, 20 and 30 cordon off the area, don their jump suits and stand by?

CAR 1930; I have set up a Command Post at Baltimore and Carey, a block away from it; have CP 11, 10-11 me here. We're moving people back.

DIS: Cruising Patrol 11.

CAR: 10-4 Baltimore and Carey.

CAR: I'm on the eastern side of Carey Street at Baltimore and Carey, a block from the shots.


CAR: 1919.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: Advise those units not to walk down Carey. Gunshot fire, is coming straight up Carey. Clear shot.

DIS: The Command Post is at Baltimore and Carey, East of Carey.

CAR: 10-4.


DIS: ALL Units be advised the Command Post is at Baltimore and Carey, east of Carey. Do not go on Carey.

CAR: 1912- have all units in the Carey and Baltimore Street area 10-26.


DIS: Ok, cruising patrol 11 be advised that officer is supposed to be hit in the chest. He's on Carey Street. 793 unit. Ambulance is responding.

CAR: 10-4 Do you wish us at Baltimore and Carey?

DIS: They want you at Baltimore and Carey, East of Carey; do not go on Carey at this time.

CAR: 10-4 Baltimore and Carey.

CAR: 1930-have all units stand by until CP 11 reaches the Command Post. Seal off the perimeter, we've moved the perimeter back from Baltimore Street and Carey; Have them do the same thing down on Hollins Street.


DIS: The Tactical supervisor is on the scene and they're keeping the people and the officers away from the unit block of Carey.

CAR: Can you get the street lights off down here? Get the street lights out.


DIS: All units on the scene at Baltimore and Carey or in the vicinity, switch 10-26. Stay on the City-Wide channel.


CAR: 1914. Can I lateral with 1930?

CAR: KGA advise all units the subject is also firing into the rear of the building.

CAR: 1930 is 10-4. 1930 to 1910.

CAR: 1910.

CAR: Do you have any units that can seal off the back of that building?

CAR: I have several units right here on Lombard Street and they can't move. They're not in a position to get out of the way of the guy's gunfire.

CAR: 10-4. I have Baltimore and Carey Streets sealed off. If you can insure the back of the house, we've established a perimeter up here. The Command Post will be on the Eastern side of Carey at Baltimore and Carey.

CAR: 10-4. I am at Stockton and Carey.

CAR: You 10-4 on the Command Post?

CAR: 10-9 the location.

CAR: The east side of Baltimore Street, At Baltimore and Carey.

CAR: 10-4

CAR: 830 in reference to this call.

CAR: 926- 10-33

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: Give me an ambo.

DIS: Unit with the 10-33 only, please.

CAR: 926,-I'm shot Get me an ambo.

DIS: Where are you at, 926?

CAR: In the rear of Lombard Street, behind where the sniper is.

DIS: Rear of Lombard near Carey?


DIS: All units stay out of range of the house, this subject is armed with a high powered rifle. Stay out of range the unit block of south Carey Street. We have several officers who have been shot at this time. Do not respond to Baltimore and Carey unless you're going to the command Post or nearby.


CAR: 830

DIS: 830

CAR: I'm on the second floor of the fire house here. And the suspect is I believe at 1303 West Lombard Street on the third floor, the house with the third floor window open.

DIS: Ok, 830, give me that address again.

CAR: 1303 West Lombard Street. I think that's where he's firing from. I'm on the second floor of the firehouse on Carey Street.


DIS: Ok, all units be advised- we have information from 830 this subject may possibly be at 1303 West Lombard in the rear, third floor.

CAR: 1914.

DIS: 1914.

CAR: 1914 to 1930.

CAR: 1930 go ahead.

CAR: Sarge, we're directly across the street, there's an abandoned building; when CP 11gets here, you may send him up here. It'll be a clear shot if we have to take this guy out.

CAR: 10-4. Give me an exact location of where you are?

CAR: I have no address, I'm in the back; I'm staying out of the --ah, out of the line of fire here. I'm directly across the street.

CAR: 901, 901, 901 to the Command Post.

DIS: Ok, the unit for the Command Post.

CAR: 901 car.

DIS: You're not at the Command Post, are you?

CAR: Negative. I'm at Carey and Lombard. Have one of those men with gas, report to Carey and Lombard; we may not be able to put gas in this house.

CAR: 1930 10-4. We have the CP here, we're setting up. We'll send it down by foot. I'm gonna leave the CP, the cruising patrol here.

CAR: 10-4

DIS: Ok, 901 can you give me a safe location for an ambulance to stand by there near there?

CAR: 10-4

DIS: 901 go ahead.

CAR: Have an ambo meet me at Carey and Lombard.

DIS: Carey and Lombard, 901; 10-4.

CAR: 935.

CAR: They'll be right in the line of fire.

CAR: 1930 all units at the shooting scene 10-6. We're getting CP 11 in position, we'll have it shortly, just 10-6, seal the perimeter.

CAR: --?-- with a 10-33.

DIS: Unit with a 10-33.

CAR: On the northeast corner of Lombard and Carey I have an officer shot in the arm, needs immediate attention. They can come in behind the bar in the alley.

DIS: Is this Carey and Lombard in the alley on Lombard?

CAR: We're on the northeast corner.

CAR: Be advised if they come in from that direction, they're gonna have to have somebody with armor protection because he's got that whole side of the street covered.

CAR: 2245 in relative to the sniper.

DIS: 901 . All units 10-6. All units 10-6. 901. KGA to 901. 901. 901.

CAR: 901

DIS: They're gonna send the ambulance to Carey and Lombard. You can either intercept them or pick 'em up at that location and then dispatch 'em as you see fit in a safe manner from that location.

CAR: Carey and Lombard is good. Have 'em stand by there.



Lombard Carey sniper incident

Police officers take shelter behind parked cars at Lombard & Carey streets as they exchange gunfire with the sniper

CAR: 942 for the ambo, 942 for the ambo.


DIS: 942.

CAR: Bring it to Pratt Street. The officers are going down to Pratt Street.

DIS: All units 10-6. 942 you're gonna have to repeat.

CAR: The two injured officers that are shot are going to Pratt Street. Have the ambo respond to Pratt street.

DIS: 901 you Ok?

CAR: 10-4

CAR: 2245 KGA

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: In relative to the shooting, 935 and myself are on the third floor directly across from the sniper. It's 1306 Lombard. Will you get somebody up here with a rifle he could probably fire in that direction, 10-4. We have a shotgun only with the shells itself, no slugs or anything.

CAR: 1930, give me your exact location?

DIS: What is your exact location?


DIS: All units please stay off the air. All units wait until you're acknowledged. Too many units are calling 10-33 and you are over ridding each other. 901 is on the scene, we have a Command Post established; please get on City-Wide and wait until you're acknowledged before you give your message.

CAR: 1912 with a 10-33.

DIS: 1912.

CAR: Be advised he's on the second floor. He's breaking the second floor windows out now.

CAR: 1930.

DIS: he's in 1306. He's in 1306, is that correct?

CAR: 2245 - It's either four or six, there'll be an officer in the rear waiting for somebody to come with a rifle.

DIS: Also 901. Give that to Cruising Patrol 11. He's either in 1304 or 6. He has moved to the 2nd. floor at this time.


CAR: 2501.

DIS: 2501, go ahead.

CAR: 2501. I have Unit 9 on the scene with me. The Command Post is at Baltimore and Carey. I have CP 11 responding with one man with a rifle, one man with gas. Give me the exact location to send them.

DIS: 901.

CAR: 901- have them report to Pratt and Lombard.

DIS: Send them to Pratt and Lombard, Sir. Pratt and Lombard.

CAR: 2245 in relative to that man with the rifle and gas. 2245 in relative to the man with the rifle and gas. If he comes to where my 10-20 is, 1304 or six Lombard, he'll have a perfect shot in the direction where the sniper is. 10-4?

CAR: 2501. 10-9 that----

CAR: 2245 I'm at either 1304 or six West Lombard. I'm directly across, I'm on the third floor across from where the sniper is, if the man with the rifle and gas would come to this 10-20 he would have almost a perfect shot into the dwelling.

CAR: 10-4, I'm sending 'em down. You're at either 1304 0r 1306; the sniper man is at 1303 or 1305 is that 10-4?

CAR: That 10-20 is 1303 the sniper. I'm in, I think I'm at four. It might be six. First come to the rear. There'll be an officer to show you, I'm on the third floor.

CAR: 10-4.

CAR: 901 in reference.

DIS: 901.

CAR: Can you send another unit with gas to Pratt and Carey? Report we may pour gas in the rear besides the front.

DIS: That's Cruising Patrol 11 you want at Pratt and Carey

CAR: 1912.

DIS: Go ahead, 1912.


DIS: Sir, be advised we're in the adjoining house directly behind the suspect's house. There are two officers on the second floor, They're in plain clothes.

CAR: That's smart.

CAR: 10-9 that in reference to the police officers, 836 10-9 that message about the police officers being on the roof.

DIS: The unit calling in reference to the two plain clothes men, where are they at?



CAR: 1912 in reference; we're in the house directly behind the suspect house. We're on the second floor rear.

CAR: 901.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: 962 in reference to that sniper.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: 962 in reference to that sniper.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: Be advised, he's on the second floor. Second floor.

CAR: 814 in reference to the sniper.

DIS: 814.

CAR: The sniper..firing at the house on the even side of the 1200 block. He just fired four shots, anybody with a loudspeaker better start yelling for those people.

DIS: Unit 9 switch to channel 9.

CAR: 901 car.

DIS: 901.

CAR: Have all units hold their positions until they can move in with the gas.

DIS: Attention all cars on the scene of the shooting, hold your present position, stay in your present position until Cruising Patrol 11 has established a position.

CAR: 930 in reference, please.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: We have a witness that has an eyewitness view of that sniper shooting, he's in the first house next to the store in the 1300 block of Lombard and that would be on the south side.


DIS: Ok in reference to this Carey Street, please wait until you are acknowledged before you go ahead with your message, unless you have an injured officer.


CAR: 901.

DIS: 901 go ahead.

CAR: Ascertain if all the injured have been cared for.

CAR: 2501- 10-4.

DIS: Ok, has 973 been taken care of?

CAR: 2501 to 901.

CAR: 901.

CAR: Do you have the injured officer in sight down there?

CAR: 10-9.

CAR: Do you have the injured officers in sight down there?

CAR: I had two injured officers, they have been taken away in the ambos.

CAR: 2501, 10-4; the injured officers have been taken care of.

CAR: Is that also the one that was on the corner of Carey and Lombard?

CAR: Negative. Negative.


CAR: 943 in reference.

DIS: All units 10-6. 901 I have information ---this is Radio---I have information that two officers, one from 793 and one from 926. Have they been cared for?


CAR: 926's been cared for---unknown on 793.

CAR: 1930 in reference.

DIS: Go ahead, 1930.

CAR: I escorted two officers; one in two different radio cars, to University Hospital. That's two officers went to University.

CAR: Where they plain clothes?

CAR: No one was in uniform. I couldn't tell if the other one was in plain clothes or uniform. They went in two different radio cars.

CAR: 793-A. My partner was down at Lombard and Carey behind the parked cars. He took a direct hit. Did anybody get him?

DIS: 793, was your partner in plain clothes or uniform?

CAR: Plain clothes, Sir.

CAR: 711 in reference.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: We're at the Northeast of Carey and Lombard. We got two officers down; one hit in the arm and one got hit in the chest. We are pinned down; we can't get out.


CAR: 2501 to all units---10-6. Give me your location again. 2501 to that unit, what is your location exactly?

DIS: Lombard and Carey, northeast corner. On Carey Street just north of Lombard; we can't get anybody in or out.

CAR: 10-4.... 10-6, we have help on the way.

CAR: 732 in reference to the ambo.

DIS: 732.

CAR: I got an ambo at Carrollton and Lombard. I think he's on standby.

CAR: Try and get an armored car?

CAR: 1914

CAR:1951 to 2501... 1951 to 2501.

CAR: 830 to 2501 in reference to the injured officers. 830 in reference to the injured officers.

CAR: 747.

DIS: 747

CAR: Be advised I've got four officers in a house directly across the street. We've got a clear shot right into his second floor window if you want to have that EVU wagon come up here, he can gain entrance to the vacant house by coming down Hollins Street in the back.

DIS: All units 10-6. All units. 747, give me the exact location.

CAR: Either 1304 or 1306 Lombard. It's a vacant building and we're on the second floor----no, third floor----- we got a straight shot into his second floor window.

DIS: 2501, you copy this information? They state they have three officers available at 1404 or six West Lombard. They have a direct line of fire for this suspect. They need the EVU Unit at that location.

CAR: 2501 be advised the EVU Unit is en route to that location with gas and a rifle. Have them 10-6; also have they cleared the other side of the two buildings on either side of the building where the sniper is cleared?

DIS: 901.... 901.

CAR: 795....795.....795 in reference to the injured officers.

DIS: 901, do you know if they cleared both sides of that building?

CAR: Uncertain on that Sir.

DIS: What unit has the Cruising Patrol 11?

CAR: 2501 Cruising Patrol 11 is here. We have two Cruising Patrol people on the way down with 1951.

DIS: 747, you are at 1304 or six West Lombard? Is that correct?

CAR: 10-4. We got a shotgun in the building and if they are gonna come down they can get in the back way. There's an officer gonna show 'em the way in.

DIS: 2501, they want Cruising 11 to respond to the rear of, it's either 1304 or six, there is an officer in the rear; he will show 'em where to come in. They come in the rear, they're directly opposite 1303 where that subject has now went back to the third floor.

CAR: 1914 in reference.

CAR: 830 in reference to these injured officers.

DIS: Go ahead, 830.

CAR: They're on the northeast corner of Carey Street and Lombard. They're behind the blue and white van. Now we got to get these men out of here somehow or another.

DIS: 2501.... All units 10-6. The Command Post will handle this. 10-6.....2501.


CAR: 2501.

DIS: The injured officers are trapped, the northeast corner of Carey and Lombard. They're behind a blue and white van; they can't get 'em out at this time. Can you handle this?

CAR: 2501... I am sending a team down. The team is en route now.

DIS: Ok, all units be advised. There is a team en route to Carey and Lombard to assist the injured officers.....10-6 unless you have emergency information.

CAR: 801.

DIS: Go ahead, 801

CAR: 801 -----10-32 this location. Information from the duty officer we have enough men present.

DIS: You want to 10-32 Carey and Lombard, you want no more units to respond?


DIS: Be advised we getting more injured officers

CAR: 1917 to 2501 be advised one block west the 1300 block civilians are still getting through. They're still coming down here.

Can you seal it off? we had a guy ride down the middle of the street on a bike.

DIS: All units, special attention to 2501 and 901. Any injured police you can get 'em, take 'em to Carrollton and Lombard. There's a Battalion Chief there with ambulance crews to transport same.

CAR: 830 in reference to this sniper.

DIS: Go ahead, 830.

CAR: I'm going to the firehouse and I have 1964 unit from Tactical here with me. And they have a clear fire of the window where the sniper is. And we're over-looking the two injured officers here.

CAR: 2501 to 1951....2501 to the C.P.


CAR: Are you with the man with the rifle?

CAR: 10-4...Permission to fire when ready.

CAR: Permission is granted. Unit 9 has granted permission, fire when you have a clear field to fire.

CAR: 1940, He's moved to the third floor again.

CAR: 2187 in reference.

CAR: 2501. All units 10-6. 2501 to 901.

CAR: 901.

CAR: The people that are sealing the perimeter on Lombard Street. as I understand there was a bicycle that came down the middle of it. Can you send a couple more people to see that that doesn't happen?

CAR: I just sent another man up there on that.

CAR: 10-4 Thank-you Would you report that to the Command Post?

CAR: 10-4

CAR: 2187.

DIS: 2187.


CAR: Be advised sir, I'm positioned up high and in the back alley. There is glass breaking out of the back part of one of those buildings; it may be him in one of those buildings. Glass just broke up there.

CAR: 836 in reference.

CAR: That's me. That ain't him, that's me.

DIS: That's 836 car, use caution; be aware of other officers and several plain clothes men are on the scene.

CAR: Don't go into that building unless cleared from the Command Post.

CAR: 1901, do you have a landline you can get me a number on, Joe?

CAR: 10-6 for a minute.

CAR: 1914.

DIS: 1914.

CAR: sir, we're in the building directly across the street, we have a shotgun and a clear line of fire. did you say permission to fire was granted?


CAR: 2501... That is 10-4. Permission to fire is granted when you have a clear field to fire. We're trying to establish land line communications with 2284.

CAR: 10-4. We're directly across the street with a shotgun, clear line of fire and when we get a target we're gonna open up.

CAR: That is 10-4.

CAR: 2501 to KGA.

CAR: 830 to 2501.

CAR: 2501.

CAR: On the roof of the firehouse with 1964 unit. When the other unit opens fire we can open fire. You can send an ambulance to get that other officer out of here. This guy is gonna die.


CAR: 2501. 10-4 we'll have an ambulance standing by. KGA, have an ambulance 10-11 2501 at Carrollton and Baltimore Street.

CAR: 962, get someone to fire on that dude.....he is tearing up the car with this officer hiding behind it.

CAR: 901.

DIS: 901.

CAR: Advise any units if they have a clear shot, to fire at him. He's firing at the police that are pinned down.

CAR: 2501to all units. The only unit that is to fire is the sniper.....?...10-6 all units.

DIS: 2501 advise all units do not fire. Only the sniper units.

CAR: 830 to 2501.

CAR: 2501.

CAR: I have a unit up on top of the firehouse here. 1964 has got rifle slugs. How about permission to put 'em in there?

CAR: 10-4.

DIS: All right, all units, 10-6 on the fire. Do not fire until 2501 gives the word. They want to make sure they get the injured officer. They're sending in a team at this time and when they're in position they'll give you the information.


CAR: 2501 to KGA......2501 to 1956.

CAR: 830 to 2501.

CAR: 830.

CAR: The officer that's hit in the chest is lying beside a yellow Pinto wagon. Negative, alongside the blue and white van.

CAR: 2501 to 1956.

CAR: 1956 standing by.

CAR: What is your 10-20?

CAR: We are at the alley, 1200 block of West Lombard, waiting for instructions.

CAR: Can you see the injured officers?

CAR: 830 in reference.

CAR: 2501--go ahead.

CAR: All right now, this officer that's shot in the chest, he's in front of a green Dodge. It's the third car up from the corner on Carey Street. There's a blue and white wagon with two officers behind it. A blue and white van and there's a yellow Pinto station wagon with one officer behind it and the next car up is a green Dodge with a black vinyl top and that officer's lying alongside it. That's the one that's hit in the chest. Also they think he is dead at this time.


CAR: 2245 to KGA. 2245 KGA.

DIS: 2245.

CAR: If you have a unit with a shotgun...shoot that street light out, and it'd give us some darkness maybe to get that officer out from there. The street light is too light. Have 'em shoot that light out.

CAR: 1951. Negative. 10-6,....10-6---?----He's blowing that light out.

CAR: 2501. 10-4. All units disregard the last. All units disregard the last.

CAR: 830, have 'em hold their fire.

DIS: All units, 830 advises do not fire at this time.

CAR: The lights are out now, but there's a lot of people down on the corner.

CAR: Let's get the officers out, for Christ sake.

CAR: 2501 to 1956.

CAR: 1956.

CAR: Do you know where the officers are now?

CAR: 10-4.... On Carey Street up on Carey. Three cars up.

CAR: Can you see them? Can you reach them?

CAR: We cannot see them from here. We have to change our location to an alley up the street here.

CAR: 10-4. 2401 to 1956.

CAR: 1956 standing by.

CAR: If I give you cover fire, can you reach those officers?

CAR: 10-6.... I'll go around there and determine that.

CAR: 1901 to the Command Post.

CAR: 2501 standing by.

CAR: Joe, I have the gas man with me; we went across Carey Street. Can you get a couple of those guys to give me a burst of fire so we can get across?

CAR: Lieutenant, you're giving me too much radio. I can't hear anything you said.

DIS: All units 10-6. They want you to repeat slowly, please.

CAR: 2501 to 1901, give me that again.

CAR: Just a second, Joe.

CAR: Cut one of the radios off. Lieutenant and I can't hear you.

DIS: 1901, can you repeat your information to 2501?


CAR: 1901. I need a base of fire for a couple guys to throw a few rounds, at the front of that place so we can get across Carey Street and have a better shot to throw some gas in there.

DIS: 2501.

CAR: to any unit across the street from 1301 Carey-----{ERROR}

CAR: 1912 and 1340.

CAR: Put down some cover fire when I give you the word.

CAR: 10-4, we're ready.

CAR: 1901.

DIS: All units 10-6 till 2501 gives them word for cover fire.

CAR: 830 in reference.

DIS: All units 10-6

CAR: 10-33 in reference to the sniper.

CAR: 2501 to 1901.

DIS: All units 10-6, until 1901 and 2501 get their cover fire.

CAR: 2501 to 1901. I will give the word for cover fire. When you hear the fire proceed.

CAR: 10-4 ready.

CAR: 2501 to 1912. 1914 throw in fire in that location.

CAR: Right now?


CAR: 10-4 NOW.

CAR: 2501 to 1901.....2501 to 1901....2501 to 1901.....2501 to 1956.

CAR: 1956.

CAR: 1956, what's your location now; can you get down to the officer?

CAR: 2501 to all units on the scene, 10-22 any further firing, 10-22 any further firing.


CAR: 1901 to Command Post.

CAR: Command Post.

CAR: Can you give us the location where those Western officers said they had a good shot at the front of it?

CAR: Talk slower, Lieutenant; I can't understand you.

DIS: 10-6 a minute. 1901, is that in reference to 1304 or six West Lombard?

CAR: 10-4.

DIS: I believe that was 747 unit. He said they have an officer in the back that will show 'em where to go.

CAR: They got all the wounded officers.

CAR: 1956 to 2501.

CAR: 2501.

CAR: Be advised, Sir, I'm with one of the injured officers now; there's another one we have to get to, it's about one car further south than I am.

CAR: 10-4, advise me when you can evacuate those officers and I'll throw in cover fire for you; can you do that?

CAR: 10-4. We can get one out right away. If you throw fire as soon as I get another officer to help me drag him out.

CAR: can get the officer out, if you have cover fire?

CAR: 10-4.

CAR: 10-4, advise me when.

CAR: 2501 to 1912.

CAR: 1912.

CAR: 10-6 there, when I give you the word, throw in more cover fire. Do you need ammunition?

CAR: 10-4, Sir.

CAR: Is that officer right in front of the house across from that car? I'm close.

CAR: 2187, 2187; be advised I'm directly across the street right above the guy too, right across Lombard Street.

CAR: Is he behind that blue car?

CAR: He's behind the blue car across the street.

CAR: 2187....I'm above him on top of the house.


CAR: 830 to 2501, they got a couple of the officers out.


CAR: 836 in reference.

CAR: 2501. Go ahead.

CAR: All right, we got 'em in a green, a green van. And the rest of 'em are still over here.

CAR: 2501, you're gonna have to slow down and talk so that I can understand you.

CAR: 1956 to 2501. We have one officer out, still one down.

CAR: 2501, 10-4. Can you get the officer out with cover fire?

CAR: 10-4, if you got plenty of it.....10-6 a minute, we'll give you the word when we're ready.

CAR: 830 to 2501.

CAR: 2501.

CAR: 830; I have three Tactical officers up here on top the firehouse. Now let us know when you want cover fire, and I have a clear view of the other injured officer down there.

CAR: 10-4-----?--- I'm sending ammunition down to 1306.

CAR: 1107.

DIS: 1107.

CAR: 1107 to Homicide Unit. I got the man shot in the chest. I'm gonna need an ambo to take him to the hospital. We are now clear at Pratt and Carey. Now clear at Pratt and Carey.


DIS: 1107 has the officer clear with the shot in the chest. You're taking him away now?

CAR: ---?---, the officer's clear.

CAR: Get to Hollins and Stockton. Send him to Hollins and Stockton.

CAR: 746......(several cars talking, unable to understand anything)....An officer hit down at Stockton Street. Stockton and Lombard,

DIS: Stockton and Lombard; you have another injured officer?


CAR: Stockton off of Hollins, have 'em come to Hollins Street. I'll get---?---?----

DIS: All units 10-6, we have the information, Stockton and Lombard, we have another injured officer.

CAR: 795 in reference, have that ambo come to Stockton and Hollins. I'll direct him in, just get him up here.

DIS: Be advised the man now using the radio; we cannot understand you. Your gonna have to speak slower.


CAR: Ok....Direct that ambo to Hollins and Stockton. I'll direct him in, Hollins and Stockton.

DIS: Ok, we realize the situation at Hollins and Stockton for the ambulance for the injured officer.

(Several cars talking)

CAR: 2501 to all units, 10-6....... 2501 to the officer at Stockton and Lombard......2501 to any officer at Stockton and Lombard.

DIS: The officer on the scene is that Hollins and Stockton you want?

CAR: 10-4..... Hollins and Stockton Street, this man is hurt bad.

DIS: KGA to 2501, All units 10-6,....All units 10-6. ...2501 only.

CAR: 2501 to the unit at Stockton and Lombard Can that abbo get in there without going under fire?

CAR: We got him now, we got him now.

DIS: KGA to all units,...10-6....All units,...10-6, Stay off the radio.....2501 ONLY.

CAR: 2501.

DIS: We have a subject on the phone, states he is the suspect, his name is John Williams, he says stop firing, he wants to surrender. He's at 1303 West Lombard, His name is John Williams.

CAR: 2501 to KGA......Advise that suspect to come out of the house with his hands up in the air, absolutely no weapons in his hands. Advise any units on the scene to 10-22 any firing. Let that suspect come out of the house.


DIS: All units.......All units hold your fire. ...All units hold your fire.

CAR: (unknown): Shoot him.

CAR: (unknown): Waste him.

CAR: 2187 in reference to that, please.

DIS: 2187.

CAR: 10-4, I have information from a citizen, this man's name was Jimmy Burrough..... This is at 1306. All units use Caution.



CAR: 2501 to all units; stand by until we get in position.

DIS: KGA to all units; be advised, this subject is supposed to be a John Williams, he's at 1303 West Lombard. He states that he's now in the basement, he wants to surrender; 2501 advises all officers hold your fire.

CAR: 2501 to KGA.

DIS: 2501 Only.

CAR: You still have land line with that man?

CAR: 1901 to Command Post.

CAR: Command Post 2501 standing by.

Car: We're in a position to throw some gas in there, Joe.

If you can, give us a base of fire to give us some cover for the man to get over the edge of this roof.

CAR: 10-4....10-6 ....just one minute, Lieutenant....10-6....2501 to KGA.

CAR: Unit 9, will you tell 'em to keep the line clear.

DIS: We have an officer on the telephone that states this is the suspect and he's gonna advise him to come out of the building with with his hands raised, nothing in his hands.

CAR: 2501.....10-4, advise him to lay down on the street when he comes out of that lay down on the ground.

CAR: Cover the rear door, Joe.


CAR: 2501 to KGA......Have him come out of the building.

DIS: 10-4

CAR: All units...10-6 on any fire...All units

CAR: 748

DIS: 748.

CAR: Have CP 11 come down Stockton Street to Lombard. The Command Post wants him down here.

CAR: 1951 to 2501... Be advised the man's out of the house, two officers have him in custody, have all other men stay away from the house.


CAR: 2501 to all


DIS: Attention from the officer, there's two officers have the suspect in custody

Two officers have the suspect in custody, all officers are to stay away from the scene. All weapons are supposed to have been left on the third floor of 1303 west Lombard.




Officer Robert Brown, Western District, was off duty and sitting on his porch when the shots rang out that night. He responded to the sounds of the shots being fired to assist with the incident. The suspect Johnnie Earl Williams was taken into custody, and Motor Officer Pete Richter lead the way to the paddy wagon for transport to the Homicide Unit.




Communications Division


450 Mhz

Western District Dispatcher
16 April 1976
Time: 18:59:40

DISP: {SIMULCAST by City-Wide}

CAR: ----?---- 10-23

CAR: 793.

DIS: 793.


CAR: We're responding to that 13 on Carey Street.

CAR: 714 get some shotgun units down here.

DIS: Any units responding stay off Carey Street.

{SIMULCAST, same, City-Wide}


CAR: 713

DIS: 713. Units on the scene, it's supposed to be on the southwest corner, the second house.




CAR: 746-- I'm going on City-Wide for Carey Street

CAR: 710.

DIS: 710.

CAR: Advise the units on City-Wide and direct traffic going eastbound on Baltimore. Also have one at Carrollton, direct westbound traffic. We also need another one at Carey and Fayette diverting southbound till this thing's clear. 10-4?

DIS: I don't have anything to send there now, they're down there on Carey.

CAR: 772. I'll take Calhoun and Baltimore.


( SIMULCAST, City-Wide, ....of Unit 9)


CAR: 713 with a 10-33.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: 713 with an officer shot; an officer has been shot at the unit block of Carey Street.

DIS: That's in front of the engine house on Carey Street?

CAR: The officer's shot bad.

DIS: Ok, an ambulance will be notified. All Units 10-6 until we get Carey Street cleared up. All Units 10-6

19: 04:10

CAR: ---?--- in reference.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: ---?--- the subject is supposed to be in an alley close to the firehouse.

DIS: Give that information to City-Wide, for a City-Wide broadcast, also.

CAR: 710, see if you can ascertain who it is.

DIS: We don't mention any name on the air.

CAR: 762's on the scene.

DIS: 10-9.

CAR: 762's on the scene.

DIS: Any unit on the scene at the firehouse on Carey Street.

CAR: ---?---

DIS: Let me have the ranking officer on this channel.


CAR: 703.

DIS: 703

CAR: I'm the ranking officer Sir, do you have any ambo on the way?

DIS: That's correct, an ambo's on the way. If you have any information in reference to the subject's.......?


DIS: (SIMULCAST "heavily armed" info)


DIS: 703

CAR: 703.

CAR: 713.

DIS: 713

CAR: I'd like permission to throw a large amount of fire to evacuate this wounded officer.

DIS: 713 car.

CAR: 713.

DIS: Have you got the officer out of the area?

CAR: We're pinned down; anybody can get a clear shot at the building, start taking it, so we can move that officer.


CAR: 713.

DIS: 713.

CAR: We're pinned down in front of....

CAR: 711.

DIS: 711.

CAR: Advise I'm pinned down in front of the fire station. I've got an officer here, he's been hit in the upper part of his chest. He's bleeding very badly. We can't get anybody in or out right now.


DIS: 711.....711 car.

CAR: 711.

DIS: Are you able to get to the officer?

CAR: 10-4.

DIS: Do you have the officer?

CAR: I'm holding his arm.

DIS: 10-9 the message.

CAR: He's holding his own, now.

CAR: 710.

DIS: 710.

CAR: Ascertain from 11 if he's got that officer.

DIS: 711 car.

CAR: 10-4, keep everybody out of the unit block of Carey.

DIS: Ok, all units.

(SIMULCAST to 10-26 City-Wide)


DIS: Any units on the scene in the unit block of south Carey clear the alley, clear the alley.


(Simulcast -- same)


(Simulcast-- same again)


DIS: 745....743....746.


(SIMULCAST, "stay off air")


CAR: 745.

DIS: 745.


CAR: 745....746...748...will be on City-Wide.

CAR: 732.

DIS: 732.

CAR: We're also on the scene, we'll be City-Wide.

CAR: 770.

DIS: 770.

CAR: Have 771 and 781....10-11 Baltimore and Carey to direct traffic.

DIS: DIS: 771 and 770.... They probably back to City-Wide now. We broadcast any units in the area to go City -Wide.


CAR: 10-4

CAR: 783.

DIS: 783

CAR: Hold me 10-7 Fayette and Calhoun.

DIS: 10-4


CAR: 761

DIS: 761


CAR: Sir, in reference to the shooting incident, there is two officers in uniform that are going up on the roof on the even side of South Carey Street.

DIS: Give that info to City-Wide.

CAR: 10-4

CAR: 713.

DIS: 713.


CAR: I cannot get through on City-Wide. Have 714 unit ---?--- at Lombard and Carey on the northwest corner. He needs an ambulance.

Northeast corner, northeast corner..He needs an ambo.

DIS: Northeast corner of Carey and Lombard, you need an ambo?

CAR: 10-4, I can't get through on City-Wide.

DIS: Ok. 19:23:20


DIS: 713,....713, any unit on the scene at Carey and Lombard....713....713, any unit on the scene at Carey and Lombard, is it safe for that ambulance to come through?

CAR: 761 in reference.

DIS: 761.

CAR: 10-47. (negative)

DIS: You say it's negative, you say it's not safe for him to come through.

CAR: 10-4. it is not at this time, this guy's still shooting.

CAR: 795.

DIS: 795.

CAR: See if 793-A is on this channel.

DIS: 793,...793.

CAR: We can't get in on City-Wide. We got an ambulance crew standing by at Pratt and Carey, and they are wondering how they can get up to the injured officers. Is there any way possible to get up there.


DIS: 10-6 a moment, we're trying to find that out now....761,...761...795.

CAR (7)95.

DIS: Where do you have the ambulance?

CAR: Carey and Pratt Street.

DIS: 10-6 on this channel a moment.

DIS: 795....795.

CAR: (7)95. I got the ambulance crew, we walking up towards Lombard; we'll be standing by Lombard and Carey with the ambulance crew.


DIS: Ok, use extreme caution up there.

CAR: 10-4... Can you tell me where the officer is?

DIS: The information we have, the officers are behind a blue and white van on the northeast corner of Carey and Lombard. Use extreme caution, though, that subject is still firing up there.


DIS: 745, 746, 743, 742 (all called , no response)

CAR: 795.

DIS: 795.

CAR: See if you can locate an ambo crew. I think we can get 'em in there if you can locate one ---?--- at Lombard and Carey.


DIS: 795, 795.

CAR: 795.



DIS: 795, 795 go ahead.

CAR: 795, 795.


DIS: Unit calling 10-9.

CAR: ---?--- we got the officer.

DIS: where do you want the ambo?

CAR: Have the ambo come down Lombard Street, Pratt Street. Have 'em come down Hollins Street. Hollins and Stricker.

DIS: Any unit can make the officer out, 10-9.

CAR: 795, Dispatcher, dispatch the ambo crew to Stockton and Hollins. On the double, on the double.

DIS: What's your 10-20, 795, I can't make you out.

CAR: Stockton: Stockton and Hollins. I'm gonna transport one officer myself. Have 'em get here to Stockton and Hollins......


DIS: 795, be advised the ambo is en-route....795 the ambo is en-route.


(SIMULCAST, Surrender, City-Wide)



The foregoing five pages were reduced to typewritten form by Lieutenant Herbert F. Armstrong, after data was taken from tapes by Officer Ignace Thibodeaux.

Lombard Carey aa



Communications Division

Southern and Southwestern District Dispatcher

450 Mhz

16, April 1976

Time: 18:59:00

CAR: 1924, 1924.

DIS: 1944.

CAR: Be advised we got shooting at police cars in the area of Boyd and---?----.

DIS: Boyd and what?

CAR: 2245. It's Carey and Lombard. It appears to be on Lombard Street. I believe it may be on the 2nd. floor.

DIS: Lombard. Ok, what hundred block of Lombard?

CAR: Carey and Lombard.

CAR: It's Lombard by the confectionary store.



CAR: 962 responding. 31's on the way, 922 right around the corner.... 926 we're responding.



CAR: 926; 812.

DIS: All units 10-6........ anyone injured?

CAR: 2245...... I'm there too......2245. Advise those cars they are in the line of fire.

CAR: 930's on the scene. 19:00:30

DIS: 901,...901.

CAR: 901.

CAR: 922. Get 'em out Carey and Lombard.

CAR: 901's responding.


CAR: 922.....I'm at Carey and Lombard...That's------?------ off-duty Western Man...He's in the 3rd. floor second house from the corner.

CAR: 2246 responding.

CAR: Information coming from a's supposed to be a broken up on top the second or third floor...----?--- they're coming from.

CAR: 922.....on the way, he's supposed to get the shotgun.

CAR: 935's got a shotgun.

CAR: 912 responding with a shotgun.

CAR: 912 responding with a shotgun.

CAR: 930 in reference.


DIS: Go ahead, you have the airway.

CAR: 930....Be advised we have a situation down here in the unit block of south Carey Street...We have shots being fired from ----?--- ----?---- west side of Carey Street, unknown right now.

DIS: Ok, 10-4...901's responding also, we're trying to get CP 11 also to responding. Also be advised City-Wide advises a plain clothes car radiator has been damaged to that shooting.

CAR: 830's on the scene. 19:02:00

DIS: Ok.


DIS: All units keep the air waves clear in case of an emergency, if you need assistance, use the airways...All units 10-6 till the emergency is clear.

CAR: 931....


CAR: 922...----?----.

DIS: 10-4.

CAR: We got an open door we can almost see into the house. Is anybody in the back?

CAR: 31 and two other units back here with a shotgun, they ain't going nowhere.

CAR: 962 with a 10-33; he's shooting out the window.

CAR: 911. We got an injured man here; he's been shot.

DIS: What's the location?

CAR: In front of the fire station.

DIS: Ok, 10-4 19:03:20

CAR: 926. Any unit on the scene, do you know where they're shooting from?

CAR: 922. It's the house right next to the grocery store. There's a pocketbook on the porch.

CAR: Is that by----?----?



CAR: ........ and Carey at the Gulf Station.

DIS: Ok, where's the injured officer, where's the injured officer?

CAR: Pratt and Carey. Get the ambulance down here.

DIS: Give me a location.

CAR: 962.

DIS: Go ahead 962.

CAR: There's somebody else shooting around here other than this guy.

DIS: yeah.... You got 930 set up a command post... 930 set up a command post and give me a location.

CAR: ---?--- Hollins and Carey Street, Hollins and Carey Street, in the ah-- the ah-- gas station lot.

DIS: The command post is located at Hollins and Carey You have gulf Station Lot.... Where's the injured officer?

CAR: ---?--- at Lombard and Carey, we can't get close.


DIS: You say the officer is pinned down?

CAR: 901 in reference.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: 2245, stand by, because I'm directly across from the sniper. I'm up on the north side of Carey Street, directly across from his firing. If you can have someone with a rifle come up here, they might be able to get him out.

DIS: 2245 are you injured?

CAR: 2245. Be advised I'm directly across the street from the sniper; I'm about even with his line of fire. We need somebody with a rifle. I only have a revolver.

DIS: Do you know the address, 2245, where the sniper's at?


CAR: 1303 Carey Street, on the 3rd. floor, there's a window open.

CAR: 901. CAR: 962.

DIS: All units 10-6. 2245, can you give us more information?

CAR: Negative. I can't look outside. I'm right in his line of fire, but the address that I can see is 1303 Lombard Street.

DIS: 10-4

CAR: 901.

DIS: 901, go ahead.

CAR: ---?--- on the scene switch to City-Wide. I'm going to City-Wide.

CAR: 962.

DIS: Go ahead.

CAR: Be advised it sounds like he possible has a rifle type weapon here. It's a possibly a Winchester he keeps reloading.

DIS: 10-4.

CAR: 831. Advise those units he's got the whole unit block of Carey covered up there from that roof top.

CAR: 901.


DIS: 901, go ahead.

CAR: Advise that we have all streets blocked off, now.

DIS: Ok, all units be advised all streets in the unit block of Carey Street vicinity are blocked off.


Car: 930.

DIS: 930.

CAR: Have CP11 respond to Hollins and Carey, 10-4?


DIS: 10-4.

SIMULCAST re: Command Post broadcast


CAR: 972,...972.

DIS: Go ahead 972.

CAR: He just fired up Carey Street toward the firehouse, the shots are going up that way.

DIS: 10-4, where's the exact location of that injured?

CAR: 972.


DIS: Go ahead 972.

CAR: He just shot a police car in the unit block of South Carey.

DIS: We're aware of that 972. Where's the injured officer? We want to know where the injured officer's located?


CAR: 10-33, 10-30.

DIS: Go ahead with the emergency.

(Several units talking re 10-33 in 100 block south Carey)

CAR: A Police hit over here.

CAR: 941.

CAR: There's two officers hit. 100 block South Carey, Carey in the rear of that house.

CAR: 921, 921.

DIS: 921.

CAR: The suspect across the street on top of the roof, behind squashing the firehouse. He went back behind his squashing the firehouse; the other officer's in the alley; you better have 'em clear out.

DIS: The suspect's on the roof across the street from the firehouse. All units, the suspect is on the roof across from the firehouse. Any units in the alley clear.


(SIMULCAST, "STAY out of range......")


CAR: 836.

DIS: 836.

CAR: Have all those other units switch to City-Wide. We have some still on this channel. Ok.

DIS: Ok. All units on the scene at Carey Street, 10-26, 10-26.



CAR: 847.

DIS: 847.


CAR: I got a shotgun. I'm at Pratt and Monroe. You want me go to the Command Truck?

DIS: Go ahead, 847. Go ahead to the Command Post. On the way, stay off of Carey Street.

CAR: 10-4, I'm going down Pratt.

DIS: Be advised that suspect is armed with a high-powered rifle...Stay out of his range.

CAR: 922.

DIS: 922

CAR: Have the Ambulance come down.

DIS: 10-9 unit reference to that ambulance.10-9 your information.

CAR: 910.

DIS: 910.

CAR: I'm responding. I have a carbine and a shotgun.

DIS: Be advised stay away from Carey Street. The command post is at Carey and Hollins.

CAR: 10-4.

CAR: Injured Officer.

CAR: 831,...831.

DIS: 831.

CAR: Be advised 830's on the scene. Could you ascertain from him if he can meet us at the command post?

DIS: 830, 830. All units are on City-Wide Channel. 831.

CAR: 10-4.

CAR: 933. I'm transporting an injured officer to University. Notify them.


DIS: Ok, 10-4, 933.

CAR: 962.

CAR: 962


CAR: Be advised that sniper's on the second floor now. Second floor.

DIS: Ok, give that 10-26, give it to City-Wide.

CAR: 943.

DIS: 943.


CAR: Be advised there's two officers injured from that skirmish at University.

DIS: 10-4. 943 go back to City-Wide and advise them.

CAR: 10-4


CAR: 933.

DIS: 933.


DIS: They still have two officers pinned down. Right now there's none on the way to University. They're still pinned down. They can't get to them.


CAR: Ok, I'll advise the hospital and have a team stand by. Ok?

DIS: 10-4.

DIS: Ok, we got a person injured in the street, 1521 W. Pratt.

DIS: 922. 923.

CAR: 923.

DIS: Ok, 1521 West Pratt advise how close that is to Carey.

CAR: About three blocks.

DIS: We have a person lying in the street at that location. See how close you can get to it. 922 advise if you can't make it.

CAR: 10-4.




DIS: .....Hold your fire.




* END *

The foregoing seven pages were reduced to typewritten form by Lieutenant Herbert F. Armstrong after data was taken from Communications Division tapes by Officer Ignance Thibodeaux.         





16, April 1976

Telephone Position No. 19



CENTREX: Police Department.

CALLER: Ma'am?

CENTREX : Police Department.

CALLER: Listen: they're shooting at me.

CENTREX: Who's shooting at you?

CALLER: The police.

CENTREX: Where are you?

CALLER: I'm the person at 1303, just tell 'em I'm coming out, just don't shoot me.

CENTREX: Oh, come on.

CALLER: I'm not playing, Miss.

CENTREX: You are, cause I hear people talking in the background.

CALLER: Miss.......

CNTREX: Well, let me give you the Sergeant in Radio, then.

(Telephone Position No.13. 396-2284)

OIC: Communications, Officer Arnold.

CALLER: Call 'em up, just do anything, tell 'em to quite shooting at me. I'm coming out of the house peacefully.

OIC: Who is this?

Caller: 1303West Lombard Street.

OIC: Where? You're coming out peaceful?

CALLER: YES, they were shooting at me 'cause I was firing back; but gonna surrender, I'm giving up. They won't listen to me.

OIC: Uh-huh.

CALLER: Just tell 'em to let me come out by myself, please.

OIC: All right, what's your name, Pal?

Caller: Sir?

What's your name?

CALLER: John Earl Williams.

OIC: John Earl Williams?

CALLER: Yes, Sir ALL youse gotta do is get on the phone but do something, contact 'em.

OIC: uh-huh, I'll contact 'em all right, what's your address there?

CALLER: 1303. They're all around me, I just give up. West Lombard.

OIC: All right, you just stop shooting now. I'll take care of it.

CALLER: just tell 'em, tell 'em to yell, tell me to come out. I'm coming out, please.

OIC: All right. How many shots did you fire?

Caller: Oh, my God, I don't know. I'm giving up.

OIC: uh-All right, John. I'll take care of you. Hold on the line, here.




OIC: You still there, John?


OIC: Huh?

Caller: Yes, Sir.

OIC: Ok, go out the front of the house.

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: Put your hands in the air, no weapons.

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: Dump all your weapons.

CALLER: Yes, Sir, I ain't got nuttin.

OIC: All right?

CALLER: I ain't got nothing, they're all on the third floor and I'm in the basement.

OIC: You're in the basement?

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: hold on.


OIC: All right, go ahead out, John; put your hands in the air.

CALLER: Please don't tell me a lie. I don't want to get shot.

OIC: They won't shoot you.. You got my word it they won't shoot you.

CALLER: They are firing at me.

OIC: What's the phone number there, John?


OIC: What's the phone number there?

CALLER: 752.

OIC: 752--Huh, what's the number?

CALLER 7646.

OIC: 7646.

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: All right, John, go out the front door. Go out the front door, put your hands in the air, leave all your weapons.

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: And you are in the basement?

CALLER: Yes, Sir.

OIC: All right, go ahead, John

CALLER: Officer, Officer.......

OIC: Go ahead, John, you won't be shot.

OIC: John......John.....John......(He ain't on there any more).



(Taken off tape by Officer Ignace M. Thibodeaux, Communications)

Reduced to typewritten form by Lt. Herbert F. Armstrong 4/17/1976

NOTE- Centrex operator was Senior Telephone Operator Betty Linn; O-I-C on position 13 was Police Officer Richard Arnold.

For a Detailed History of QRT / SWAT Click Here


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

QRT History

Quick Response Team
We Were Cops Once . . . and Young

Brief History of the Baltimore Police Department Quick Response Teams
By Ret Lt. Joe Key


The history of QRT is written large by many of its members then and now. Contributing to that history and to the writing of this history were: (In alphabetical order) Doug Bryson, Steve Coughlan, Paul Davis, David Datsko, Steve Kuhn, John Maguire, Mike Mulligan, Ed Schillo, Sam Tress, and Curtis Willis. These men took time out from very busy schedules to provide their recollection of milestones, salient events, dates, and photos of that history. Each contributed mightily when they were in the teams and did so as well to this writing. Also, others I couldn’t contact deserve recognition for their contribution to bringing the teams and their equipment into the 21th century. Eventually, through the determined efforts of men like John Christian, Jerry DeManss, Bob Edwards, Don Healy, Ray Jones, Bob Letmate, John Lewandowski, Jan Richmond and unsung others, the Baltimore Police Department’s SWAT teams were turned into an internationally recognized, professional unit worthy of any police department in the world.

My own efforts in starting QRT were minimal in comparison to some, if not all, of these men. I just happened to be in the right place and had, according to some supporters and opponents alike, the bullish temperament and unyielding nature that was required at the beginning to keep the sometimes square wheels from totally falling off the QRT machine long enough for the program to endure. The aforementioned men took that humble start and turned it into what it has become today. It was an honor to have worked with them and a privilege to write about what their efforts have achieved.


With apologies to Lt. General Harold Moore for co-opting, in part, the title of his book about the 7th Calvary’s insertion into the la Drang Valley in Vietnam in 1965, the nearing of the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Baltimore Police Department’s Quick Response Teams has caused me to reflect back on that time and the good men who went above and beyond the call of duty to drag the department into a new and necessary element of policing in the 20th Century. I’m certainly not comparing the sacrifices of the troops of the 7th Calvary on the battlefield to the trials and tribulations of those first QRT officers. While those first officers did face dangerous situations with inferior equipment and minimal training, their main battle was one of survival in a department which was staffed by a command element, except for an important few, and rank and file officers who became apoplectic at even the whispered thought of SWAT being amongst them. Those men’s willingness to train in their off-duty time, spend their own money to buy equipment, and suffer the constant derisive comments by brother officers laid a foundation for the outstanding unit QRT/SWAT has become. The following quote from Theodore Roosevelt’s "The Man In The Arena" speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910 applies to those men and to their critics as well:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

One factor that caused a measure of resentment/jealousy by command and the rank and file was the portrayal of SWAT cops in the 70's television program “SWAT.” Even the name connoted violence; i.e., to crush a fly with a single swat. The program exaggerated the image of the operators as being glory boys whose main job was to lift weights, run endless loops through obstacle courses, jump off of buildings or out of perfectly good helicopters, suck down copious amounts of CS gas without blinking, play with various guns, and generally look good for the cameras when they leaped out of the back of a large, black, armored, very menacing looking, truck with guns blazing. Admittedly, some of those activities–excluding jumping out of trucks with guns blazing, etc.–were a necessary part of the job and attracted candidates who were drawn to those types of endeavors. That image, however, served to heighten the intensity of the already very intense interdepartmental power struggles, political patronage, and turf protecting in the command ranks, which made launching the QRT program damn near impossible. Finally, limited funds and the necessity of committing manpower to street crime reduction operations determined the nature, quality, and quantity of equipment that could be purchased; the time and manpower that could be committed to the training program; and the deployment operational strategies of the teams on the street.

Although the “SWAT” television program is no longer on the air, the image it perpetrated still survives to a limited extent and still affects the public’s image of SWAT. As proof of this, consider that any nationally televised SWAT type incident will invariably result in outcries from various and sundry community “leaders” regarding the militarization of police departments. Interdepartmental power struggles, patronage assignments, and turf protecting, however, are very much reduced, albeit not absent, in today’s department. This positive change is due in part to the record of the QRT’s performance over the years; in part to the ascension to command ranks by officers who came on and worked with officers who were assigned to the teams; and in part to the increasingly violent situations occasioned by the prevalence of narcotics driven crimes, mass murders by active shooters, and the very real specter of terrorism. Limited funds and the requirement of committing manpower to street crime reduction operations will, by necessity, always affect SWAT training, operations, and the purchase of equipment.


By emphasizing the resistance of many of the command staff to the idea of having SWAT in the department, the door is opened for the reader to wonder how I, a brand new sergeant, came to be exposed to the inner workings of the top levels of the department. In the police totem pole, I was down around the toe level. In the early summer of 1975, I was assigned by Colonel Bishop Robinson, Chief of Patrol, to write the General Order authorizing SWAT and the regulations pertaining to the resolution of sniper/barricade/hostage situations. That assignment morphed into writing the justification for SWAT, its operational procedures, training program, and selection protocols. I didn’t have any operational background that qualified me to undertake those tasks. I spent countless hours studying foreign and domestic terrorist incidents, military manuals, other agencies’ SOP’s, General Orders, and training programs to try to put it all together into a cohesive program. Doing that research and finalizing the program meant that I was frequently involved in strategy sessions in the Tac Commander’s office, Captain Joe Bolesta, a strong advocate for the teams. He was a man who was not always completely circumspect in describing the efforts to stymy the founding of the teams by a well entrenched opposition faction in the department’s command staff. Those meetings, and having numerous training sessions cancelled, sometimes after they had begun, because the Deputy Commissioner of Operations thought they were a waste of money, gave me a unique perspective of the breadth of the opposition to starting the program and the determination of its supporters to overcome that opposition.

At the very top of the totem pole of supporters was Commissioner Donald Pomerleau. Those that worked under him or knew him by reputation would assume that if he wanted it done, it would be done. When it came to implementing his policies, however, just below him was Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Frank Battaglia, a man with the reputation of being a tough, old line, street-smart cop. Battaglia was adamantly opposed to SWAT and, at the very least, was not overly disposed to support requests for money for training, equipment, etc. DC Battiglia was a very powerful political figure in the police department and the direct superior of Colonel Robinson. Battiglia’s political ties stemmed from the Italian community and particularly to the former Mayor of Baltimore, Tommy D’Alesandro, the father of current California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. The “Sons of Italy” social club, of which Battiglia was the head, contained many members who were command officers in the Baltimore Police Department and many local politicians.

To illustrate the sometimes visceral nature of the opposition the majority of the “Sons” held for the SWAT concept, one of those command officers, a district commander who was a large man known for his pugilistic abilities and proclivities, called Captain Bolesta and told him that if Key kept criticizing how his troops performed in an armed man barricade in which a cop was shot by other cops, he was going to “punch his lights out.” While I took the threat seriously, I had no choice but to continue talking about the incident and the cluster-foul up it was. The incident involved a shooter armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle knock-off. It had occurred a couple of months prior to the Lombard and Carey debacle and was a major part of the rationale I was using to convince the upper echelon that a special unit was needed to handle those types of situations. The major’s threat indicated to me that I was pushing the right buttons, so I continued talking about the incident with renewed gusto. I also told Captain Bolesta that, in accordance with the law, if confronted by someone who I reasonably believed posed a threat of serious injury or death, I would use whatever weapons necessary to vigorously defend myself. Those weren’t the exact words I used, but close enough.

Colonel Robinson, who was also a very powerful political figure within the department, was a strong supporter of the SWAT concept and worked diligently to implement the program. The two factions were sometimes engaged in a struggle for control of the department and QRT was frequently caught in the middle. QRT would never have gotten off the ground when it did without the efforts of Captain Joe Bolesta and Colonel Bishop Robinson.

The Quick Response Team, now SWAT, began its storied journey in 1976. Prior to that, dynamic entries and other SWAT type procedures were undertaken by members of the Emergency Vehicle Unit, available officers assigned to the Tactical Section, and/or various district personnel, none of whom had any meaningful training in carrying out those kinds of functions. The primary method for going in and getting an armed bad guy was for whatever cops that were on the scene to shoot the house full of holes and then the EVU guys would knock the door down and drag said bad guy out. Sometimes they would be accompanied by members of the command staff, particularly if the news media were present. The concept of QRT, modeled after other cities’ SWAT, was conceived to institute control of those types of incidents with well trained and disciplined officers.

The acronym QRT didn’t come about until shortly before Lombard and Carey, which occurred April 16th, 1976. The name was chosen by Colonel Robinson after suggestions from TAC personnel were solicited. The name was chosen partially because of the aggressive SWAT image portrayed on the television program. The QRT opposition faction and some city government officials thought the name SWAT conjured up all kinds of potentially evil and horrendous acts by trigger happy warrior wannabes. On a more practical level, Colonel Robinson wanted to distinguish the BPD from LAPD, NY, etc.; thus, QRT. In 2007 the team members voted, as was their right, to finally be called SWAT.

There were no SWAT units, formal training by the Baltimore Police Department, or SWAT operations until 1976. Once I had been given the job of writing the G.O., etc., in early summer of 1975, my squad and I began physical fitness and some operational training on our own time. Lieutenant Daryl Duggins put together a rappelling program, which he gave to various members of his A Platoon, including my squad, A-3. That training was also conducted off-duty. Duggins was, and still is, a much revered leader; a back to basics, no nonsense former Marine who did not tolerate hijinks from the sometimes rowdy youths under his command. One of the first rappelling training sessions he arranged was an approximately seventy foot drop from the Cedar Avenue Bridge. Lieutenant Duggins had tried two methods of rappelling–the single rope favored by the Marine Corp and the double rope favored by sane people. Several of us tried the single rope first, including one or two former Marines. As we were blowing the fire out on our leather gloves we reached the unanimous decision that the double rope was best. Of course, this was all well before fast roping techniques were developed.

The first approved on-duty training occurred in July of 1975. Members of A and B platoons were sent down to Fort Meade to be trained by Army Marksmanship Training Unit 1 for a two week counter sniper course. It was the first training in which the M-16's were used. Although some of the days were twelve hour days, the troops were delighted to have any training and participated with gusto. The next scheduled on-duty training was in February of 1976. A-3 squad was sent to the one week FBI SWAT school. It was held at Gunpowder and had one day of entry problems down at the Army’s Ordnance Road facility. It involved several other police departments and was well presented by the local FBI SWAT team. The attached photo is A-3 squad during that training out at the Gunpowder Range. The two EVU men did not participate in the training. From left to right (standing) are: EVU Officer Roland Andrews, EVU Sgt. Dave Bryant, Officers Roger Rose, James Siebor, Gary Green, Mike Speedling, Kelly Allen, Lee Baker, Norm Bleakly, Andy Gersey. From left to right (kneeling) are: Sgt. Joe Key, Steve Grenfell, George Smith, Mike Hurm, Lenny Rummo, Ed Schillo, and Bob Letmate. Roger Rose broke his arm badly doing a forward roll with his rifle trying to take a cover position during the training and wasn’t able to continue in the teams.

I was scheduled to begin training an A Platoon squad in the first departmentally sanctioned SWAT training on Monday, April 19, 1976. The date is etched in my memory because the worst shootout in the Department’s history occurred on Good Friday, April 16, 1976. In that incident one officer, James Halcomb, was killed and five others were seriously injured. It would be repetitious to go into any detail about the incident in this writing. For further information click on link: 39 Minutes of Terror The most important result of the fiasco of the department’s response to the sniper, John Earl Williams, was that it very much softened, at least for a period, the opposition to SWAT and the necessity for having a SWAT unit. The incident also served to awaken in some members of Tactical the realization that being an operator in a SWAT team required a great deal of work and personal sacrifice. After the dust had somewhat settled, Commissioner Pomerleau made it very clear, very clear, that he wanted the program to proceed.

Another outcome of the incident that was relevant to the history of the QRT was that it was the first time any squad had ever functioned as a SWAT team. A-3 squad was working that night. The training they had done on their own time and the FBI training permitted them to carry out SWAT functions, although they had no standing as a Quick Response Team because the order had not been signed and, as a result, they had not received QRT certification. The SWAT functions carried out that night were: support and observers for the counter sniper, EVU Officer Bob Powell; a gas delivery team headed by Lieutenant Duggins; an evacuation team to retrieve Officer Halcomb (one squad member and a Western District officer, Frank Stallings, were able to retrieve him, while the others provided cover fire); and, once Officer Halcomb was out of the line of fire and Williams had been forced out of the house by a barrage of suppression/cover fire, the evacuation team members entered and cleared the house. The only names of A-3 squad personnel that were there that night that I’ve been able to determine to a certainty were: Gersey and Green, CS support; Rummo, Schillo, Seibor, Hurm, evacuation and entry teams.   Given the team members minimal training and lack of SWAT operational experience, they performed well in an extraordinarily difficult situation. Their performance demonstrated that SWAT training, even if rudimentary by today’s standards, and SWAT teams were a necessary element in handling this type of critical event.

The first Tactical officers to receive QRT certification did so in October 1977, the same time the General Order was finally signed and published. The attached photo shows the members of that group. The members shown in the photo are from left to right: Colonel Ron Mullen, Captain John Schmitt (Colonel Mullen and Captain Schmidt did not undergo the training), Steve Grenfell, Bob Letmate, Neal Hairston, Dave Hollingsworth, Burch Schwabline, Denis Dean, Jim Giza, Bob Franklin, John Maguire, Bob Foltz, Doug Bryson, Matt Immler, Mike Mulligan, Al Erhardt, Tony Garcia, Lt. Joe Key, Lt. John Wagner.

The selection process to become a functioning member of the teams included passing a minimal physical fitness test, a forty hour training course, an interview with current team members, and a psychological exam. The first operational members were picked from existing Tactical Section personnel. None could be eliminated because of failing any part of the selection criteria, including the psychological exam. This was not my decision, it came from on high against my strenuous objection. In those first days, a number of the men assigned to Tactical were there because some higher up put them there as a reward for extraordinary performance above and beyond the call of duty in the fine art of ass kissing and/or being related to said higher-up. They weren’t there to do the job, nor, in many cases, could they. Those men that were issued the first QRT Certificates and Pins qualified in all of the categories and marked the beginning of what could be considered, at the time, a reasonably trained and operational SWAT team. As the teams progressed, men came to Tactical because they wanted to be members of SWAT and wanted it badly enough to meet the standards. As the SWAT concept matured, the selection process became more selective and the team members more capable.

The physical fitness test was loosely modeled after the Marine Corps Squad Leader training program. The minimum number of pull-ups to qualify was five, which received twenty points. Each additional pull-up resulted in three points up to a maximum of fifteen pull-ups, which was awarded fifty points. The minimum number of push-ups and sit-ups (no time limit) was twenty and the maximum was fifty. Twenty of either exercise garnered twenty points with each additional repetition earning one point up to a total of fifty points for each exercise. The final physical requirement was to run one mile in eight minutes or less. The maximum score of fifty was given for running the mile in six minutes or less, with one point added for each four seconds under the eight minute minimum. To qualify for the training program a candidate had to achieve all of the minimums and have an overall score of one hundred points. As I said, in the beginning no member of Tactical was excluded from operating on a team because of failing any of the selection requirements. Some of the initial teams, prior to the certification in 1977, were staffed by personnel who could only hang on the pull-up bar and barely eke out as few as ten push-ups or sit-ups. They functioned but certainly not anywhere near the level of current operators nor the level that should have been mandated for their safety and the requirements of the missions they undertook.

My criticism is not of the courage and dedication of most of those officers. After all, they undertook the same kind of dangerous situations that later teams would face and they did it with woefully inadequate equipment and minimal training. Any criticism is directed solely toward those members of command that were protecting or attempting to increase their personal fiefdoms by insisting that everyone needed to have a “slice of the pie.” Lt. Duggins and I were told that specifically by a Tac captain, who replaced Captain Bolesta as the Commanding Officer of Tactical. Duggins’ response was classic Duggins: his jaw tightened, his eyes narrowed, his voice became gravelly, and through clinched teeth, he said, “I will run my platoon the way I see fit. The day I’m told to put some do-nothing, tub of s..t into an operation, somebody’s going to get his badge shoved up his ass.” That account is accurate in all aspects. My response to the comment and to the captain’s sputtering, whining reaction was to laugh, which did not endear me to the good captain. The captain’s reason for his slice of the pie philosophy was that, by letting everyone in Tactical function as an active QRT member regardless of competency, he lessened the chance of offending some departmental or political VIP who was responsible for assigning his/her protégée slug to QRT.

That captain was constantly in the business of advancing his fine self up the departmental ladder by any means necessary. He imagined that his journey up that ladder somehow included taking the programs or justifications I wrote and having his secretary retype them for his signature. I never protested because my concern was that the program advance and, if having the captain’s signature on those documents, assisted in that process, it was fine with me. In the end, none of that helped him advance, he retired as a captain. As for Duggins, he didn’t care about advancing his career. He was assigned to Tactical based only on his reputation and merit. Command officers took him on at their peril: he was a brilliant writer and fearless. Commissioner Pomerleau, himself a retired Marine Colonel with a well deserved reputation of being a hard charger, admired and respected Duggins. This was, in part, because of Duggins’ stellar reputation in the department and, in part, because of Duggins’ service in the Marines, including surviving the Chosin Reservoir Campaign.  

The slice of the pie the Tactical captain was talking about was a very risky, dangerous business in both street operations and training. The slices were being handed out, in some cases, to men who had no interest in being genuinely qualified and capable of undertaking the hard work necessary to become even minimally proficient in the job of a SWAT operator. One such individual, who personified the captain’s flawed slice of the pie theory, was the sergeant he picked to replace me as the supervisor of A-3 squad, when I was transferred to the EVU section to train and run QRT full time. He was selected to increase the arrest statistics of the squad. He later distinguished himself by jack-potting not only himself but several members of the squad. He accomplished this by implementing a contest wherein squad members who made the most arrests received time off. The contest was found to have racial overtones, in addition to the obvious violations of departmental regulations. The sergeant was eventually forced to resign because of allegations that he was selling arrest record information to a local company in violation of federal law. From the beginning, he had zero interest in becoming a member of SWAT and even less desire to pass the minimum physical fitness test. As would be expected, he miserably failed all of the physical fitness qualification tests.

One training incident that sergeant was involved in serves to make the point about the necessity to select the best of the best as team operators. I had the pleasure of “rescuing” his fine, fat self in a rappelling exercise out at the Gunpowder rappelling tower. To his credit, he forced himself off the simulated helicopter pad even though he was scared of heights. He was prompted to take the plunge by being told he had to do it or he would be sent back to Tac. I referred to him as being fat because that fact was part of the reason he became hung up five feet under the pad and forty-five feet from the ground. I was alerted to his situation by his squeals and hurled obscenities decrying his unpleasant, to him, circumstance; said circumstance was mildly amusing to the rest of us. He was, contrary to specific instructions, wearing a loose sweatshirt to cover his very prominent mid-section. The sweatshirt got caught in the carabiner and twisted around the line; thus, locking him on the line and leaving him dangling above the ground. I told him that it was time for lunch and that I would think about how to get him down over lunch, but he loudly and emotionally insisted that I get him down. His actions and volume while screaming invectives at me and others, some of whom were displaying a lack of sensitivity by openly laughing at his situation, convinced me he was, indeed, in mortal peril from the immediate potential of suffering a stroke. I then dropped down next to him with knife in hand. I told him that the only way I could figure to get him to the ground was to cut the line. Again, he very loudly and emotionally told me that he just didn’t think that was the best option. As I recall, in expressing his opinions about his predicament and my response to it, he actually used some obscene language directed toward me, which included statements regarding the legitimacy of my birth. Having a thick skin, I ignored his misdirected and undeserved insults and tied him off with another carabiner and line. He was then lifted up enough by several team members, who pulled mightily on the secondary line to achieve that result, to take the pressure off the original line. When they had pulled him high enough, I was able to cut the sweatshirt away from the line. He then completed his trip to the ground. Duggins and I used that sweatshirt in training future classes to make the point that wearing non approved clothing had potentially dangerous consequences.

On a serious note, while we had some fun at the chunky sergeant’s expense, it was just a training exercise. In a real situation his failure to abide by basic safety rules and his lack of the physical wherewithal to climb the rope back to the point he could have freed the jammed shirt would have endangered himself, his team, and the operation. This incident demonstrates the folly of the theory that everyone should have a slice of the pie, regardless of their inability to fulfill the absolutely necessary requirements to become a member of a SWAT team. Further, it determines to a certainty the potentially catastrophic consequences of that theory.

The first certified QRT member’s training course was based on a program that was a patchwork of a combination of one week courses I taught combined with the course taught by the FBI. The course included: team composition and functions; individual functions within a team; necessary equipment; basic room entry techniques; scenario practical problems; and first aid. Rappelling and weapons familiarization training and qualifications were taught separately in one and two day programs. The day began at 0700 hours with calisthenics. Classes began at 0800 and continued until 1600 with a half hour for lunch. At 1600 hours troops suited up and ran to the gas chamber, where they had to put on their M-17 masks after two mini CS grenades were ignited. They stayed in the chamber until it was certain that the masks had been put on correctly and that they worked properly. Each member was then required to take off the mask and clearly recite his name, entry on duty date, sequence number, and, depending on how anxious he was to exit the chamber, his social security number, birthday, number and names of children, etc. After the gas chamber, the squad would run the military’s obstacle course and then back to the classroom. Usually, clock-out time was around 1800 hours.

On one occasion when we were running the obstacle course, the skies opened up and it started pouring. Additionally, thunder and lightning settled right on top of us. As we started running back to the classroom, Bob Letmate remarked that the good news was that it couldn’t get any worse. He picked a terrible time to say it, because the words were no more out of his mouth than what had been merely pouring became buckets and two lightning strikes hit trees within fifty yards of us. They were so close that the hair on my arms and head stood up. The strikes had a very positive effect on those members who were normally somewhat reticent about running. It was a full out sprint back to the classroom and not accomplished in a military manner.

The interview process was not in place when the first Tactical officers were SWAT trained and became operational. As new officers were assigned to Tactical, the process was implemented and became more refined as time passed. The interview had the same questions asked of every candidate. The questions ranged from why the person wanted to become a member to technical questions involving knowledge of weapons, etc. The selection board was made up of certified QRT members and a certified QRT team leader. Supervisors were not required to be certified at that time; again, not my choice. To be selected to go to the training program, a candidate had to be approved by the majority of the board. The board was still not fully operational by the time I left Tac in October 1977.

The psychological evaluation was started shortly after Lombard and Carey in April 1976. Psychology Consultants Associated was chosen to develop an evaluation for prospective members of the teams. Dr. Gill Claperton, the head of the organization at the time, Dr. Ken Sachs, the current head, and Dr. Dan Stern rode with me for a few nights to get a feel for what cops did in the city. We didn’t encounter any QRT situations, but they did enhance their understanding of the world of BPD cops by being introduced to the night denizens and life in the areas of Pennsylvania Avenue in the Western, North Avenue and Harford Road then in the Northern, and Reisterstown Road in the Northwestern District. A good time was had by all and I escaped without being committed. The evaluation, in addition to the normal battery of tests to determine potential mental problems, was designed to identify officers who could sit, stand, or lie in a position for hours in weather varying from blistering hot to sub-freezing cold without losing concentration and, at the same time, being prepared to jump into the middle of a catastrophe in a split-second while exhibiting absolute control.

As far as equipping the teams, members from both A and B Platoons chipped in and bought the rappelling lines and gloves with which we trained. Later, when the teams became operational, they bought surplus canteens, a small pack, web gear, and the dark blue “bread truck driver” overalls that became the first uniforms of SWAT. They had to sew on the BPD shoulder patches and color them with permanent, black magic markers. The BPD did supply the team members with baseball hats with the BPD emblem on it, but, again, they had to color it black.

Regarding other equipment, the only protective vests available were WWI era Spooner Flack Jackets. They didn’t stop bullets, but, if someone heaved a low powered WWI type grenade that hit far enough away, the vests offered some level of protection, ditto for a sniper throwing rocks but hopefully not shooting them out of a slingshot. The firearms the teams were initially equipped with were .30 caliber Plainfield carbines which, according to a study done by Paul Davis, had a one in eight failure rate. My requests earlier and Davis’ request, accompanied by his study, to replace the carbines were rejected by Commissioner Pomerleau who reportedly said he had carried one in WWII and Korea and it had served him admirably. The Plainfields issued to QRT were cheap imitations of the Winchester carbines the military carried. In addition to the carbines, QRT cops carried their issued revolvers and at least one team member would have a Remington 870, 12 gage shotgun. M-16's could be checked out from the EVU on approval of the On Scene Commander and dependent on his/her assessment of the severity of the incident. The first actual deployment of the M-16's occurred on July 4, 1975. Sergeant Frank Russo and I were deployed as overwatch and security on the Domino Sugar towers across from Fort McHenry where President Gerald Ford was addressing the fifth annual “Our Country” celebration. I have no records as to when they began to be used in SWAT street situations. The 5.56mm Mini-14's were introduced in 1981 and replaced the carbines.

As written earlier, the first actual SWAT type operation wherein small units were deployed for specific missions occurred at Lombard and Carey and was carried out successfully by a team with minimal training and no SWAT operational experience. After finishing with my debriefing by Colonel Robinson and Captain Bolesta at approximately 2:00 a.m., I was ordered to be back in Tac Headquarters by 7:00 the next morning to put together two cars which would begin patrolling that day from 1800 to 0200 hours. The cars were designated as 1991A and 1991B. They were outfitted with a WW1 footlocker type box that contained one .30 caliber carbine with two loaded magazines and a carton of .30 caliber carbine ammunition, two Spooner Vests, a box of 12 gage .00 buck and a box of 12 gage rifled slugs, six CS mini-grenades, a first aid kit, and sundry other items that I can’t recall. There was also a box that contained a shotgun. The officers were to be deployed only to sniper/barricade situations. The duty was performed by A-3 squad members exclusively for a month or so, until other members of A and B Platoons completed training and were qualified, albeit not certified. The cars were phased out around 1986. A large van replaced them, but it had to be picked up at headquarters and brought to the scene of an incident. According to current SWAT operator and trainer, Steve Coughlan, the cars became operational again in 1995 after the North Hollywood, CA shootout at the bank. They were phased out again in 1997, at which time the teams went back to the large van/truck concept.

The next and much more successful SWAT operation occurred two weeks to the day after Lombard and Carey. A recently released inmate from an Illinois prison came home on Ann Street and found his partner in the arms of another man. He went berserk and started shooting up the neighborhood with a .22 rifle. Southeast District officers secured the outer perimeter and called QRT. The 1991 cars responded along with other members of A Platoon. Captain Bolesta was On Scene Commander and set up his command post at the corner of Fleet and Ann Streets. He deployed a counter sniper with a spotter, gas teams, and an entry team. CS gas was deployed from shotgun launchers and a 37mm gas launcher. The gas eventually drove the subject out of the house. When he came out, he had the rifle. He pointed it toward the counter sniper position and was shot by said officer with a .243 Winchester model 70 rifle. The officer that fired the shot a member of EVU CP11. An evacuation team went down and carried the individual from the scene. An entry team, made then made entry, and cleared the house.

This was a text book operation that deployed every Tactical asset in the way they were meant to be used. The G.O. was still more than a year away from being implemented, but Lombard and Carey had taught hard lessons to both command and district officers. Commissioner Pomerleau was quoted in the Sun as saying that the shooting was the way the BPD would handle such incidents, “. . . one shot, one kill.” The Fleet and Ann Street incident served to convince some of the doubters and nay sayers in the department, command and officers alike, that the SWAT concept could work and could save police officers’ lives. The journey forward would still be extremely difficult and fraught with roadblocks erected by members of command who saw SWAT as infringing on their territories and/or potentially reducing their time in the spotlight. Regardless, SWAT was on its way and the two incidents in the spring of 1976 provided a solid foundation as to why the concept was necessary and how well it could work when implemented correctly.


In doing research for this writing, I spoke to Dr. Ken Sachs, President, Psychology Consultants Associated, who said that the evaluations PCA still does for potential SWAT candidates show that they exhibit the traits of elite professionals, that they want to be part of the best of the best, that they like the program’s tough, enhanced training, and are very physically fit. He went on to say he is very impressed by their quality and that he admires them. As written earlier, the intent of the evaluation, in addition to the normal battery of tests to determine potential mental problems, was to identify officers who could withstand extreme conditions for long periods of time without losing concentration and, at the same time, being prepared to jump into the middle of a catastrophe in a split-second while exhibiting absolute control.

Those are not routine qualifications nor are they the traits of ordinary men. As an example of an incident that showed the absolute necessity for those traits, the longest lasting barricade/shooting incident in the history of the Baltimore Police Department occurred on May 11 and 12 of 1987. Team members Bob Edwards, Ray Jones, Steve Kuhn, Bob Letmate, Lee Towers, and Sam Tress confronted an armed, coke snorting, bad guy named Jarrod Clayton, who had taken several hostages in an incident that came to be known simply as Chase Street. Clayton had been stopped by an Eastern District officer at around 4:00 p.m. on the 11th for a field interview. He had drugs and two guns on him. He ran from the officer, firing a shot as he escaped. He broke into 1703 Chase Street and took eleven people hostage. Sam Tress, who had been switched from running QRT to supervising the Hostage Negotiation Team, began negotiations shortly after the command post became operational. QRT entered the house at approximately 7:30 p.m. The operation ended in a gunfight and fire, which destroyed the house a little after 7:00 the next morning.

The high temperature on the 11th was 89and the building was a three story row house with no air conditioning. The team was fully suited up with heavy vests that contained front and back ceramic plates, M-17 gas masks, CS mini-grenades, and extra ammunition. Tress, Towers, and Edwards were armed with shotguns and Letmate had a Mini-14. Jones and Kuhn carried their issued .38 caliber revolvers and recently purchased ballistic shields. The team spent the next approximately twelve hours in the miserably hot house until the gunfight and a fire ended the operation.

Regarding the bunker, Sam Tress, when he was the QRT supervisor and trainer, had ordered two ballistic bunkers for the teams some months earlier. He received some push back from a City Hall bean counter, who told him that he, the bean counter, had found some bunkers that were cheaper. Sam asked him if they met the specifications he had submitted and, when the man said no, Sam told him pointedly to buy the ones he had ordered. The bunkers had arrived a month or so before Chase Street. One of the bunkers took two hits and another took one, saving team members’ lives. It was the first recorded incident in the U.S. where a bunker had taken fire in an actual operation.

The On Scene Commander, Major Barnes, gave the green-light for the sniper, Dave Gunter, to take a shot when he could. Gunter, who knew the man was reportedly armed and had fired a shot at a cop, had seen the man moving around in the house, but could not take the shot because he did not have the green-light at that time. After he received the go ahead from Barnes, Deputy Commissioner Ron Mullen, who called the command post from his home, restricted the order to fire only if the man appeared in a window with a gun in his hand. Gunter never had a clear shot after that. Had the green-light been issued earlier, Pomerleau’s previously stated “one shot, one kill” policy could have ended the affray fairly quickly. The team was ordered in at 7:00 p.m. Tress became part of the team in an attempt to conduct face to face negotiations after the team was fired upon early in the evening. His negotiations resulted in the hostages being released throughout the night and early morning until the last hostage was set free at approximately 4:00 a.m. The EVU began deploying gas after the last hostage was freed. A total of approximately twenty-five to thirty rounds of both ferret and 37mm CS gas munitions were lobbed into the house. The CS had no effect on Clayton, who had ingested approximately 80 caps of cocaine during the night and morning. The team assaulted the third floor, where Clayton was barricaded in the bathroom, at approximately 7:00 a.m. Clayton fired continuously through the walls at the team. At one point he appeared, said he had been shot, and fired directly at them. The team returned fire, hitting him several times. Kuhn threw one CS mini that hit the bathroom door frame, where Clayton was holed up. It bounced down the hallway into a pile of trash and clothing, which ignited the fire that eventually burned the house down. The fire forced the team to exfiltrate the house. They had to run past the bathroom where Clayton was and used the shields and suppression fire to execute their exfiltration safely. The gunfight lasted on and off for approximately fifteen minutes. Clayton fired approximately forty rounds throughout the event. Even though they had been fired upon earlier, the team had not returned fire until they engaged Clayton directly during the last effort to take him into custody. Clayton was struck numerous times, but, thanks to the ballistic shields, no operators were hit.

The burning of the house resulted in the department banning the use of incendiary chemical munitions. Also, the department refused to reimburse team members for the speed loaders they had used, because they were not departmentally issued. If Pomerleau’s “one shot, one kill” policy had been in effect from the beginning, Chase Street would have been over before the team was deployed. All of the team members were awarded Silver Stars for their courageous actions. The memo from Tac Commander, Major Regis Raffensberger, recommending them for the Medal of Honor is attached.  

Another example of team operators working for a long period of time in extreme conditions, which were the polar (pun intended) opposite of the those existing during Chase Street, occurred on February 16, 1994. Counter snipers Mike Mulligan, a QRT plank holder from 75, Bob Foltz, another plank holder from 77, and Jan Richmond lay prone in the snow in freezing temperatures in a hostage situation taking turns off and on their rifles from approximately 10:30 p.m. to approximately 3:30 a.m. At that time the bad guy held the baby he had been holding hostage in front of the apartment window and was attempting to put a pistol in her mouth. Mulligan fired a single shot from a position approximately seventy-five yards away and at a steep downward angle from the suspect. The man was hit in the center of his face, but, because his face was slightly turned, the bullet exited below his ear. After Mulligan fired the shot, the suspect got back on the phone with negotiator Sam Tress and said, “you m.....f...ers shot me.” He made the statement with half his jaw shot off. His voice reflected that, for him, unpleasant circumstance, because his words were, in Tress’s description of the call, quite “jumbled.” John Wagner, On Scene Commander, then ordered the QRT operators, previously deployed at the suspect’s door, to make an entry. The team breached the door and one of the entry team officers, Curtis Willis, fired two shots striking the subject twice. The subject had shot the baby, but she survived. Both Chase Street and this incident served to validate PCA’s evaluation criteria and proved the point that the requirements for being a member of the teams were not the routine qualifications nor traits of ordinary men.

I have recounted violent SWAT situations to emphasize points regarding the difficulty of overcoming departmental resistance to the SWAT concept, the consequences arising therefrom, the validity of testing procedures, the evolution of the teams, and the acceptance of the necessity for those teams. In reality the mandate for SWAT teams is that they exercise complete control over a situation in order to handle it with minimal violence. If, however, violence becomes necessary, the training of the operators and the quality of their equipment must be able to instantly bring overwhelming force to resolve the threat. Today’s Baltimore Police Department SWAT teams are more than capable of fulfilling that mandate and resolving any threat.

I spoke at length to Steve Coughlan, a member of QRT/SWAT since 1994 and a current trainer for the teams. He took a great deal of time from his busy life, including caring for his wife and brand new baby, to describe the current training, equipment, and operational strategies of today’s BPD SWAT teams. Steve Kuhn, although retired from the BPD, also provided much information. The teams are trained, equipped, and operate in a world about which us old-timers, in our wildest fantasies back in 1976, couldn’t have even dreamed.

The physical fitness test’s minimal requirements and passing the interview process are now strictly observed. No officer can attend the three week SWAT course without running a mile and one-half in twelve and one-half minutes or less, doing a minimum of five pull-ups, and fifty push-ups and sit-ups. The test is now being modified to include, in addition to the standard physical fitness measures, job related functions.

Once selected, the SWAT trainers will host a three week class that consists of five days of classroom work and ten days of various practicums, including scenario training with issued weapons using Simunitions. The majority of attendees are from the BPD, but other agencies and military personnel frequently attend. Once the attendees have passed the course, a few of the top candidates are selected to fill vacancies in the teams. Those men are then sent for a five day course to qualify them on the M-4 rifles that each team member is issued. Once they are serving in the teams, an operator can request to be trained as a sniper/observer. If selected, that member is then sent to a three week course hosted by either the Maryland State Police or Baltimore County Police. Occasionally, the BPD SWAT trainers will host the class. All sniper/observers are, therefore, also qualified as SWAT operators. To keep their skills honed to perfection, the sniper/observers practice twice monthly.

The equipment the teams now have is the best of the best. Each operator is assigned a 5.56 caliber M-4, which is a short barreled rifle that is effective both as an entry weapon and at moderately long distances. They also have their issued Glock .40 caliber pistols. They must qualify with every weapon they use at or above the ninety percentile level on advanced firearms qualifications courses specifically designed for special operations personnel. Sniper/observers must shoot a one hundred percent score on every qualification course.

In addition to firearms, the teams now have other state of the art equipment, including bullet resistant vests, which are considerably lighter than the old models, Kevlar helmets, and, recently, green uniforms that are designed specifically for SWAT operators. Members who are assigned on a rotating basis to respond to critical incidents from home are provided with take home cruisers. There are two equipment vans, which are being replaced by top of the line Mercedes Benz Sprinters. These are specifically designed for special operations use. These vans are kept in a secure location and are picked up when a SWAT type incident occurs and/or when they are conducting a raid. Finally, they have a Lenco Bearcat Armored Rescue Vehicle, which can be deployed very quickly when needed.

Operationally, the teams, for the most part, work only on SWAT related activities. They frequently conduct raids which involve the potential for extreme violence; i.e., raids where the presence of a firearm(s) that is(are) likely to be used is an element, and/or raids involving gangs. Of course, their duties also include response to all hostage, barricade, sniper, or active shooter situations. The teams are particularly proud of the fact that they haven’t had to fire a shot since 2008. Considering the potential for violence and number of incidents they handle, that is truly a record of which to be proud.

A quote that is attributed to George Orwell describes the mission and character of the SWAT teams: “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” Rough describes their dedication to the hard work necessary to achieve the status of a SWAT operator and ready, although not anxious, to do violence describes the grueling training they have undergone in becoming one. They are superbly trained and equipped, and are the epitome of professional SWAT operators. They are more than any of us, who were involved nearly forty years ago in trying to get the SWAT albatross off the ground, could have imagined.   The teams have grown up indeed.


The writing of this has been a labor of love. Although I have tried to give proper credit to all of those I could remember that contributed to making the teams what they are today, I’m certain that I have left some out. I apologize for that. That the Baltimore Police Department now has such men in its SWAT teams to protect the citizens of Baltimore, is a credit to the administrations and the SWAT members, told and untold, that made it so.

Today’s world presents challenges to police departments that were unheard of at the time of the teams’ beginning. Active shooters killing dozens in malls or schools will require the best of the best to stop them. On the horizon is the certainty that this country will suffer attacks from rabid, religion driven, zealots. The attacks will be horrendous and, unless stopped immediately, result in terrible losses. While the main effort of law enforcement has to be directed towards preventing such attacks, the men who respond to those that are not prevented will have to be very “rough” and “ready” indeed. The men they will face may have undergone rigorous military training and will possess a furor to carry out their missions that is beyond the capability of normal people to understand. SWAT trainers and supervisors will have to constantly confer with intelligence assets, departmental and otherwise, to foresee when and where the attacks might come. Those likely locations will have to be constantly monitored and plans developed to respond effectively in case of a critical event. This adds an intelligence element to the SWAT concept. It also follows the military model for creating contingency plans to respond to any threat to the security of this country.

In the world of today, there are many critics of the perceived militarization of police departments. It is unfortunate that some incidents have occurred where law enforcement special operations units and their equipment have been used inappropriately. Regardless, given the state of affairs as they exist today, police departments must have special operations units that train in conformity with military models and use equipment that the military uses. The qualifications and training of SWAT operators cannot be lessened and, in fact, may have to be intensified. The police department is the first line of defense against those that would kill the citizens the department is sworn to protect. There is no alternative to having SWAT teams that are capable to meet all threats, even if they work in the manner and look like they are a military unit in doing so. There is, also, no alternative but to have sufficient controls in place, which will clearly distinguish between what SWAT teams can do as law enforcement officers and how that differs from the role of the military. Finally, to ensure the citizens’ confidence, the department should reach out and educate them as to the rationale and operational protocols of the SWAT concept. In the tough times ahead, the department will need to have the complete support of the citizens to address the critical incidents of tomorrow. Given the outstanding performance and professional quality of the current SWAT teams, there is no doubt that the Baltimore Police Department will be able to meet and overcome all of tomorrow’s challenges. I pray it will be so.

Chase St. Hostage Incident Commendation 1Chase St. Hostage Incident Commendation 2Chase St. Hostage Incident Commendation 3Chase St. Hostage Incident Commendation 4Chase St. Hostage Incident Commendation 5

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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.

Devider color with motto


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. 

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


Quick Response Team
"Quick Response Team"

QRT - Baltimore's "Quick Response Team" began forming in 1976; shortly before the Lombard and Carey St. sniper incident, members of Tactical Units realized a need for better training, and better equipment, to handle riots, barricade and hostage-type situations. Following in the footsteps on other agencies, they were going to name their team SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) But the department (Frank Battaglia, to be more precise, didn’t think any sort of "S.W.A.T." function was necessary and tried to stop the program at every opportunity.) They found the word “SWAT” to be too harsh (Political Correctness circa 1975/76) QRT was the name eventually chosen by then Col. Robinson after suggestions from TAC personnel were solicited on top of the political correctness, Robinson also wanted to distinguish BPD from LAPD, NYPD, etc.; thus, he went with QRT over SWAT The following pictures taken from the Baltimore Sun paper will show some of our earliest members of QRT, our founding fathers, you might say, of today's Baltimore SWAT team (BTW in 2006 after 20 years, the department finally gives in, and joins 1976 - just kidding, the men and women that have worked QRT/SWAT over the years have been some of the elite, in an already elite department of police that took pride in their job, and in protecting the citizens they swore to protect) 

For a More Detailed History Click Here

police epson 086 1010 QRT 1978 photo by joseph A DiPaola 72

Photo was taken by Sun Photographer Joseph A. Dialola

The QRT officer in the back might be Lenny Rummo? The first officer ringing the doorbell is John McGuire; behind John is Frank Icanvino (sp?). Officer McGuire left the BPD soon after this photo was taken to work for the State Department. photo was taken at 1010 Broadway as QRT was looking for a shooting suspect back in July-03-1978

Picture Taken by Sunpaper Photographer Walter McCardell
Left to Right Officer Dennis Dean, Officer Ronnie Hubbard, and Officer Al Erhardt

October 29, 1976, As members of Quick Response Team (QRT), suit up on Greenspring Ave. the call came out as a man with a gun in the 5800 block of Western Run Dr. - The Newspaper article said - Police don flak jackets for a foray against what turned out to be a juvenile prankster. So if you ever wonder why police approach every scene with caution, now you know, they don't know the dangerous calls, from the prank calls, the good guys from the bad guys, and just like you, they want to go home at the end of their shift.

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Quick Response Team  

Seen standing in this pic with a.30 cal. carbine rifle covering the front of the location (1500 blk Federal St) in 1978, is Jerry DeManss. This was the location where Officer Mike Casizzi was shot in the stomach. I worked Mike Casizzi years later, he was good police. 

Original QRT Squad0001 72
The First QRT Squad - A-3. 

From left to right, STANDING:  EVU Officer? and EVU Sgt. Dave Bryant, A-3 Squad Officers Roger Rose, Jim Sebore (sp.), Gary Green, Mike Speedling, Kelly Allen, Lee Baker, Norm Bleakly, Andy Gersey;  KNEELING:  Sgt. Joe Key, Steve Grennell, George Smith, Mike Hurm, Lenny Rummo, Ed Schillo, Bob Letmate.  This photo was taken at Gunpowder Range in Feb. 1976 when the squad was trained by the FBI in SWAT ops.  Roger Rose broke his arm during the training and left the squad.  The blue coveralls were bought from a company that made uniforms for bread truck drivers.  A-3 was the only squad operational during Lombard and Carey and for two-three months afterward.  The G.O. authorizing QRT wasn’t signed until I left QRT on Oct. 77

Original QRT Squad0001 72Sgt. Ed Schillo

QRT Sharp Shooter 
QRT Counter Sniper

To become a QRT/SWAT Counter Snipers, the marksman has to practice all the time, and their qualifying test has them shooting the .308, at targets less than half the size of a human skull, from a distance of as much as 75 yards on a timed course, and the marksman has to shoot a 100% in order to make Marksman and become a "Counter Sniper".  


Baltimore SWAT Team

QRT (Quick Response Team) is renamed SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) After 32 years, the department finally changes the name of this highly trained, elite team. Initially, in 1974 while forming the team, the department was against using the name SWAT because they felt the name was too harsh for the department's image. Political correctness circa 1974.)

qrt lyndale ave

SWAT Lyndale Ave. 2006
Basic Training Sniper School 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Basic Training Sniper School


"No matter how tired or sweaty I felt, when a situation was resolved and we (the team ) were leaving the location with the usual media crush with lights and cameras on, I would not, at that moment, trade places with anyone in the world" A quote from Jerry DeManss and all the QRT'ers


1303 W. Lombard St taken on 16 APR.76. Officer Edwin Schillo is looking out from the window. He was assigned to the Tactical Section QRT.  This was the Sniper Incident at Lombard and Carey Streets. Officer Jimmy Halcomb was murdered and four other Officers were shot. Then Officer Edwin Schillo  can be seen standing where the sniper was firing from the window. There were several rifles on the bed, with a large mound of ammunition next to them. The white pock marks on the face of the row house are bullet strikes, and there were many bullet holes in the wall and ceiling of the bedroom. The official count was 540 rounds fired. The actual number of rounds fired was much more. This was one of the most tragic incidents in the history of the BPD.

left to right Lt Schillo Lt Gutberlet Sgt. Munyan

Left to right is Lt. Schillo, Lt. Gutberlet, & Sgt. Munyan

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Baltimore Police QRT (Quick Response Team)
Pimlico infield preakness May 1995 Courtesy Lt. Don Healy
Bunker training 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Bunker training
Chuck Thompson at Training Site 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Chuck Thompson at Training Site
2003 QRT training at Gunpowderjpg
QRT Law Day 1996Courtesy Lt. Don Healy
SWD barricade Courtesy Lt. Don Healy
Tac QRT A platoon 1997Courtesy Lt. Don Healy
FBI QRT Training A 3 Squad0001 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
FBI QRT Training A3 Squad 1
5 lineup

Quick Response Team

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Tactical operation 315 E. 22nd. St. February 12, 2007
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House Entry 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
House Entry
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bpd swat5a

Special Weapons And Tactics

Kuhn Chase St 1987 Bunker Saves Life 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Kuhn Chase St 1987 Bunker Saves Life

Kuhn Chase St May 1987 2 rds 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Kuhn Chase St May 1987

2300 block Allendale Road 11 8 2007 SUN PHOTO

Police at the front door of a house in the 2300 block of Allendale Road in West Baltimore, where officers confronted an armed man who had fired at least one shot, according to officials. (Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / November 8, 2007)

Gwynns Falls Parkway Allendale Rd 11 8 2007SUN PHOTO

A police vehicle sits at the corner of Gwynns Falls Parkway and Allendale Road near a West Baltimore house where police confronted an armed man who had fired at least one shot, according to officials. (Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / November 8, 2007)

tactical training1
Photo courtesy Herb Moseley
tactical training2
tactical training3
tactical training4

Photo courtesy Herb Moseley

Kuhn Rappell Training Tie Off Cover with Long Gun 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Kuhn Rappell Training Tie Off Cover with Long Gun

Agt DeManss Agt SchilloAgt DeManss & Agt Schillo
Photo Certification
Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Photo Certification

Schmidt taylor Gilbart Thomas Williams Ellis Wocjik Rose 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Schmidt, Taylor, Gilbart, Thomas, Williams, Ellis, Wocjik, Rose

Sniper Training 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Sniper Training

Steve Woody at Camden Yards 72Courtesy Lt Joe Key
Steve Woody at Camden Yards

Quick Response Team

Paul Renaud, Brad Thomas, Mark Janicki, Guy Thacker, and Chris Timms

Quick Response TeamQuick Response Team

Quick Response Team


SWAT ("Special Weapons And Tactics") is a commonly-used proper name for law enforcement units, which use military-style light weapons and specialized tactics in high-risk operations that fall outside of the abilities of regular, uniformed police. "SWAT" is commonly-used internationally, as a colloquial, generic term for these units.

Their duties include: confronting heavily-armed criminals; performing hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations; high-risk arrests and; entering armored or barricaded buildings. Such units are often equipped with specialized firearms including sub-machine gunsassault rifles, breaching shotguns, riot control agents, stun grenades, and sniper rifles. They have specialized equipment including heavy body armor, ballistic shields, entry tools, armored vehicles, advanced night vision optics, and motion detectors for covertly determining the positions of hostages or hostage takers, inside enclosed structures.


 Some sources state that the first use of "SWAT" as an acronym for "Special Weapons and Tactics" was the Special Weapons and Tactics Squad established by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1964. A more prominent early SWAT team was established in the Los Angeles Police Department in 1967, by Inspector Daryl Gates. After that, many United States law enforcement organizations, especially the police departments of major cities, as well as federal and state agencies, established their own elite units under various names. Gates explained in his autobiography Chief: My Life in the LAPD that he neither developed SWAT tactics nor the associated and often distinctive equipment; but that he supported the underlying concept, tried to empower his people to develop it, and generally lent them moral support. Gates originally named the platoon "Special Weapons Assault Team"; however, his name was not generally favored and was rejected by his manager, deputy police chief Ed Davis, as sounding too much like a military organization. Wanting to keep the acronym "SWAT", Gates changed its expanded form to "Special Weapons And Tactics".

While the public image of SWAT first became known through the LAPD, perhaps because of its proximity to the mass media and the size and professionalism of the Department itself, the first SWAT-type operations were conducted north of Los Angeles in the farming community of Delano, California on the border between Kern and Tulare Counties in the San Joaquin Valley. At the time, César Chavez' United Farm Workers union was staging numerous protests in Delano, both at cold storage facilities and outside non-supportive farm workers' homes on city streets. The Delano Police Department responded by forming ad-hoc units using special weapons and tactics. Television news stations and print media carried live and delayed reportage of these events across the United States. Personnel from the LAPD, having seen these broadcasts, contacted Delano and inquired about the program. One officer then obtained permission to observe the Delano Police Department's special weapons and tactics units in action and afterward took what he had learned back to Los Angeles where his knowledge was used and expanded on to form the LAPD's own first SWAT unit. John Nelson was the officer who conceived the idea to form a specially trained and equipped unit in the LAPD, intended to respond to and manage critical situations involving shootings while minimizing police casualties. Inspector Gates approved this idea, and he formed a small select group of volunteer officers. This first SWAT unit initially consisted of fifteen teams of four men each, making a total staff of sixty. These officers were given special status and benefits and were required to attend special monthly training sessions. The unit also served as a security unit for police facilities during civil unrest. The LAPD SWAT units were organized as "D Platoon" in the Metro division.

Members of the San Bernardino Police Department SWAT team on September 23, 1998.
Members of the U.S. Air Force 60th Security Forces Squadron SWAT team, Travis Air Force Base, California, practice hostage rescue on July 18, 1995.

The first significant deployment of LAPD's SWAT unit was on December 9, 1969, in a four-hour confrontation with members of the Black Panthers. The Panthers eventually surrendered, with three Panthers and three officers being injured. By 1974, there was a general acceptance of SWAT as a resource for the city and county of Los Angeles.

On the afternoon of May 17, 1974, elements of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a group of heavily-armed left-wing guerrillas, barricaded themselves in a residence on East 54th Street at Compton Avenue in Los Angeles. Coverage of the siege was broadcast to millions via television and radio and featured in the world press for days after. Negotiations were opened with the barricaded suspects on numerous occasions, both prior to and after the introduction of tear gas. Police units did not fire until the SLA had fired several volleys of semi-automatic and automatic gunfire at them. In spite of the 3,771 rounds fired by the SLA, no uninvolved citizens or police officers sustained injury from gunfire. However, all the gunmen inside were killed.

During the gun battle, a fire erupted inside the residence. The cause of the fire is officially unknown, although police sources speculated that an errant round ignited one of the suspects' Molotov cocktails. Others suspect that the repeated use of tear gas grenades, which function by burning chemicals at high temperatures, started the structure fire. All six of the suspects suffered multiple gunshot wounds or perished in the ensuing blaze.

U.S. Air Force 37th Training Wing's Emergency Services Team use a team lift technique to enter a target building during training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas on April 24, 2007.

By the time of the SLA shoot-out, SWAT teams had reorganized into six 10-man teams, each team consisting of two five-man units, called elements. An element consisted of an element leader, two assaulters, a scout, and a rear-guard. The normal complement of weapons was a sniper rifle (a .243-caliber bolt-action, based on the ordnance expended by officers at the shootout), two .223-caliber semi-automatic rifles, and two shotguns. SWAT officers also carried their service revolvers in shoulder holsters. Standard gear included a first aid kit, gloves, and a gas mask. At a time when officers were usually issued six-shot revolvers and shotguns, it was a significant change to have police armed with semi-automatic rifles. The encounter with the heavily-armed Symbionese Liberation Army, however, sparked a trend towards SWAT teams being issued body armor and automatic weapons of various types.

A report issued by the Los Angeles Police Department, following a shootout with the Symbionese Liberation A rmy in 1974, offers one of the few firsthand accounts by the department regarding SWAT history, operations, and organization. On page 100 of the report, the Department cites four trends which prompted the development of SWAT. These included riots such as the Watts Riots, which in the 1960s forced the LAPD and other police departments into tactical situations for which they were ill-prepared; the emergence of snipers as a challenge to civil order; political assassinations; and the threat of urban guerrilla warfare by militant groups. "The unpredictability of the sniper and his anticipation of normal police response increase the chances of death or injury to officers. To commit conventionally trained officers to a confrontation with a guerrilla-trained militant group would likely result in a high number of casualties among the officers and the escape of the guerrillas." To deal with these under conditions of urban violence, the LAPD formed SWAT, notes the report.The report states on page 109, "The purpose of SWAT is to provide protection, support, security, firepower, and rescue to police operations in high personal risk situations where specialized tactics are necessary to minimize casualties."

The Columbine High School massacre in Colorado on April 20, 1999, was another seminal event in SWAT tactics and police response. As noted in an article in the Christian Science Monitor, "Instead of being taught to wait for the SWAT team to arrive, street officers are receiving the training and weaponry to take immediate action during incidents that clearly involve suspects' use of deadly force." The article further reported that street officers were increasingly being armed with rifles, and issued heavy body armor and ballistic helmets, items traditionally associated with SWAT units. The idea is to train and equip street officers to make a rapid response to so-called active-shooter situations. In these situations, it was no longer acceptable to simply set up a perimeter and wait for SWAT. As an example, in the policy and procedure manual of the Minneapolis Police Department, it is stated, "MPD personnel shall remain cognizant of the fact that in many active shooter incidents, innocent lives are lost within the first few minutes of the incident. In some situations, this dictates the need to rapidly assess the situation and act quickly in order to save lives."

On February 7, 2008, a siege and subsequent firefight with a gunman in Winnetka, California led to the first line-of-duty death of a member of the LAPD's SWAT team in its 41 years of existence.

SWAT duties

SWAT duties may include:

Hostage rescue

Riot control

Perimeter security against snipers for visiting dignitaries

Providing superior assault firepower in certain situations e.g. barricaded suspects

Rescuing officers or citizens endangered by gunfire

Counter-terrorist operations

Resolving high-risk situations with a minimum loss of life, injury, or property damage

Resolving situations involving barricaded subjects

Stabilizing situations involving high-risk suicidal subjects

Providing assistance on arrest warrants and search warrants

Providing additional security at special events

Special Training


SWAT officers respond to the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

The relative infrequency of SWAT call-outs means these expensively-trained and equipped officers cannot be left to sit around, waiting for an emergency. In many departments, the officers are normally deployed to regular duties but are available for SWAT calls via pagers, mobile phones or radio transceivers. Even in the larger police agencies, such as the Los Angeles PD, SWAT personnel would normally be seen in crime suppression roles—specialized and more dangerous than regular patrol, perhaps, but the officers would not be carrying their distinctive armor and weapons.

Although due to Officers having to be on call-out most of the day, they may be assigned to regular patrol. To decrease response times to serious situations that need the direct attention of SWAT Officers, it is now a widely used method to place SWAT equipment and weaponry in secured lockers in the trunks of specialized police cruisers. Such departments that need to use this are Sheriffs due to the size of the counties and places like Los Angeles traffic may be high so LAPD use cruisers to respond with their Officers so they do not have to return to the police building. Although for heavier duty equipment they may need depending on the situation that arises.

By illustration, the LAPD's website shows that in 2003, their SWAT units were activated 255 times, for 133 SWAT calls and 122 times to serve high-risk warrants.

The New York Police Department's Emergency Service Unit is one of the few civilian police special-response units that operate autonomously 24 hours a day. However, this unit also provides a wide range of services, including search and rescue functions, and vehicle extraction, normally handled by fire departments or other agencies.

The need to summon widely-dispersed personnel, then equip and brief them, makes for a long lag between the initial emergency and actual SWAT deployment on the ground. The problems of delayed police response at the 1999 Columbine High School shooting has led to changes in police response, mainly rapid deployment of line officers to deal with an active shooter, rather than setting up a perimeter and waiting for SWAT to arrive.


SW AT officers are selected from volunteers within their law enforcement organization. Depending on their department's policy, officers generally must serve a minimum tenure within the department before being able to apply for a specialist section such as SWAT. This tenure requirement is based on the fact that SWAT officers are still law enforcement officers and must have a thorough knowledge of department policies and procedures.

SWAT applicants undergo rigorous selection and training. Applicants must pass stringent physical agility, written, oral, and psychological testing to ensure they are not only fit enough but also psychologically suited for tactical operations.

Emphasis is placed on physical fitness so an officer will be able to withstand the rigors of tactical operations. After an officer has been selected, the potential member must undertake and pass numerous specialist courses that will make him a fully qualified SWAT operator. Officers are trained in marksmanship for the development of accurate shooting skills. Other training that could be given to potential members includes training in explosives, sniper-training, defensive tactics, first-aid, negotiation, handling K9 units, rappelling and roping techniques and the use of specialized weapons and equipment. They may also be trained specifically in the handling and use of special ammunition such as bean bags, flash-bang grenades, tasers, and the use of crowd control methods, and special non-lethal munitions. Of primary importance is close-quarters defensive tactics training, as this will be the primary mission upon becoming a full-time SWAT officer.

SWAT equipment

SWAT teams use equipment designed for a variety of specialist situations including close quarters combat (CQC) in an urban environment. The particular pieces of equipment vary from unit to unit, but there are some consistent trends in what they wear and use.


While a wide variety of weapons are used by SWAT teams, the most common weapons include submachine guns, assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles.

Tactical aids include K9 Units, as well as a flashbang, stinger, and tear gas grenades.

Semi-automatic pistols are the most popular sidearms. Examples may include, but are not limited to: M1911 pistol series, Sig Sauer series (especially the Sig P226 and Sig P229), Beretta 92 series, Glock pistols, H&K USP series, and 5.7x28mm FN Five-seveN pistol.

Common submachine guns used by SWAT teams include the 9 mm and 10 mm Heckler & Koch MP5, Heckler & Koch UMP, and 5.7x28mm FN P90.

Common shotguns used by SWAT units include the Benelli M1, Benelli M4, Benelli M1014Remington 870 and 1100, Mossberg 500 and 590.

Common carbines include the Colt CAR-15 and M4 and Heckler & Koch G36 and HK416. While affording SWAT teams increased penetration and accuracy at longer ranges, the compact size of these weapons is essential as SWAT units frequently operate in Close quarters combat (CQB) environments. The Colt M16A2  can be found used by marksmen or SWAT officers when a longer ranged weapon is needed.

Common sniper rifles used are the M14 rifle and the Remington 700P. Many different variants of bolt action rifles are used by SWAT, including limited use of .50 caliber sniper rifles for more intense situations.

To breach doors quickly, battering rams, shotguns with breaching rounds, or explosive charges can be used to break the lock or hinges, or even demolish the door frame itself. SWAT teams also use many non-lethal munitions and weapons. These include Tasers, pepper spray canisters, shotguns loaded with bean bag rounds, Pepperball guns, stinger grenades, flashbang grenades, and tear gas. Ballistic shields are used in close quarters situations to provide cover for SWAT team members and reflect gunfire. Pepperball guns are essentially paintball markers loaded with balls containing Oleoresin Capsicum ("pepper spray").


Lenco BearCat owned by the Lee County Sheriff's Office (Florida) SWAT team

SWAT units may also employ ARVs, (Armored Rescue Vehicle) for insertion, maneuvering, or during tactical operations such as the rescue of civilians/officers pinned down by gunfire. Helicopters may be used to provide aerial reconnaissance or even insertion via rappelling or fast-roping. To avoid detection by suspects during insertion in urban environments, SWAT units may also use modified buses, vans, trucks, or other seemingly normal vehicles. During the 1997 North Hollywood shootout, LAPD SWAT commandeered an armored cash-delivery truck, which they used to extract wounded civilians and officers from the raging battle scene.

Units such as the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Special Response Team (SRT) used a vehicle called a B.E.A.R., made by Lenco Engineering which is a very large armored vehicle with a ladder on top to make entry into the second and third floors of buildings. Numerous other agencies such as the LAPD, LASD, and NYPD use both the B.E.A.R. and the smaller Lenco BearCat variant. Anaheim Police Department has a customized B.E.A.R. fitted with a ladder for assaulting multi-story buildings. Many SWAT teams in the states and around the world, including the LAPD, fit their armored and non-armored vehicles with the Patriot3 Liberator and 'MARS' (Mobile Adjustable Ramp System) Elevated Tactics Systems for gaining entry to 2nd and 3rd story buildings, airplane assault, sniper positioning, ship access, etc.

The Tulsa Police Department's SOT (Special Operations Team) uses an Alvis Saracen, a British-built armored personnel carrier. The Saracen was modified to accommodate the needs of the SOT. A Night Sun was mounted on top and a ram was mounted to the front. The Saracen has been used from warrant service to emergency response. It has enabled team members to move from one point to another safely.

The police departments of Killeen and Austin, Texas and Washington, D.C. use the Cadillac Gage Ranger, as does the Florida Highway Patrol.


The use of SWAT teams in non-emergency situations has been criticized. Radley Balko, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, authored Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.

Other studies include Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments by Diane Cecilia Weber from the same institute and Militarizing American Police: The Rise and Normalization of Paramilitary Units by Dr. Peter Kraska and his colleague Victor Kappeler, professors of criminal justice at Eastern Kentucky University, who surveyed police departments nationwide and found that their deployment of paramilitary units had grown tenfold since the early 1980s.

For our latest information on QRT-SWAT with information on Lombard and Carey Streets, click HERE 
For More Information On The History Of QRT / SWAT - click HERE



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.

Devider color with motto


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. 

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

Police Patrol


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.

DeviderThe Baltimore Sun Mon Apr 15 1946


Apr 15, 1946

The Sun (1837-1989); Apr 15, 1946; pg.7


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 396-2411SE 396-2422E 396-2433NE 396-2444N 396-2455NW 396-2466W 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

Police Limit 

Car Sirens

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.

Report Asked

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.


RADIO CAR 19311931 Radio-car Gets its Start

Click Here for more Information

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.

Removed Sirens

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.

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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.


Foot Patrol

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


Each of our Districts have a rich history in the number of sacrifices made by our police for the citizens of Baltimore. Throughout this site you will find some amazing stories of the men and women that have served this city. If you know anyone that has, you should thank them for their service. 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.">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 by clicking HERE pics can be mailed to Baltimore City Police History - 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222


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.  

Devider color with motto


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.

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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 

Edward Chaney

Retired Detective Edward Chaney


We are hoping to help keep Ed's Police family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate any support in the form of donations or kind words, so Ed's family can have closure, and a better understanding about who ed was when he was not with them. Monetary donations should go straight to Cindy Chaney.

Those of us that know Ed, know he has spent a lifetime helping others. He taught adults and children how to defend themselves through the discipline of karate. 

He served his community as a police detective in Baltimore for twenty years helping victims get justice and safety from those that had at one time or another harmed them. And he’s helped so many friends and neighbors with whatever they needed. 

After retiring from the Baltimore Police department Ed and his wife Cindy laid out a plan to relocate to sunny Florida. Within months of relocating he was diagnosed with metastatic head and neck cancer that started as a HPV- tonsil cancer. 

The original diagnosis was explained as a horrendous treatment but with excellent odds at beating the disease. That was more than two years ago at the time of this writing. While they briefly thought he was cancer free, it re-emerged in the lymphatic system, liver & bones.  Ed was receiving a new research treatment trial at the Moffitt Center in Tampa. 

Ed and Cindy have tried to do this financially on their own, but could use help from their families and friends.  But this fight has been longer, harder and more expensive than any they had ever imagined. Ed passed away, but the bills didn't end. The Police pension system cut in half when he passed, so now Cindy is left with the bills and only half the income she was used to whit ed by her side. This site is not about raising funds, it is about remembering Ed, but while we think of him, we can't help but think of his wife and her need for our help. So if you can give, please do we'll add a link to a PayPal where you can donate directly to Cindy. If you have nothing to give, share a story send it to us via email and we;ll add it to this page. Also share this link, so others can share stories, give donations, or pass the link on to their friends. In the end if we can think of ed keep his memory alive, give a little to help Cindy, share your memories of ed, and again share this link so others may do the same.

I know many friends and family have asked them how they can help. 

Send Pictures and stories so we can add them to this page.



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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.

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

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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 

Black Police

There are a lot of things within the Baltimore Police Department that make those of us that have served a a city patrolman quite proud. But, then, we find something like the following newspaper article, and we are completely embarrassed that our agency could have ever been like that. As embarrassed, as I can get, I find myself looking for signs that it is no longer the case, and that we have come a long way. I am thankful that in today's age we all work together, race wasn't an issue, when we got a call we went, when an officer was in need of help we went, no one ever asked the race of the officer needing help. We all ate together, played together, we had a brotherhood that made race something that was not an issue I spoke with some guys from back before black and white officers worked together, and then worked together, and they all describe it the same, and while it didn't start off good, it didn't take long for both men to realize the similarities

Bertillon System

Mr. G. M. Porteous, the agent of the Bertillon system of measuring criminals, appeared before Baltimore’s Board of commissioners yesterday and said he would begin in a few days to put up the apparatus for the introduction of this system in the police department for this city [Baltimore]. The apparatus and the photo gallery for taking the portraits for the Rogues Gallery will be in the room now occupied by the city Commissioner, located on the northwest corner of City Hall, on the first floor. Mr. Harry Bruff, the newly appointed assistant secretary to the board, will be in charge of the apparatus.

BPD Hall of Fame

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Welcome to the Hall of Fame, where we honor the outstanding men and women who have served the Baltimore Police Department with distinction, courage, and excellence. These are the officers and leaders who have made a lasting impact on the department, the city, and the profession of policing. They are the ones who have upheld the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, and service. They are the ones who have embodied the old-school Baltimore Police tradition and pride.

The Hall of Fame showcases the stories of some of the most remarkable and inspiring individuals who have worn the badge of the Baltimore Police Department. You will learn about their achievements, challenges, and contributions to the history and development of the department and the community. You will also discover how they have influenced and inspired generations of officers and citizens alike.

The Hall of Fame is not just a collection of names and faces. It is a tribute to the spirit and values of the Baltimore Police Department. It is a celebration of the dedication and sacrifice of the officers who have sworn to protect and serve. It is a reminder of the honor and responsibility of being a police officer.

We invite you to explore the Hall of Fame and get to know the heroes of the Baltimore Police Department. We hope you enjoy their stories and appreciate their legacy.