Ret P/O Calvin McCleese

Retired Officer Calvin McCleese

Retired Officer Calvin McCleese

On March 5, 1989, retired officer Calvin McCleese would die, effecting an arrest in his neighborhood. For years, the toll bridge at the end of Dundalk Ave. in Baltimore County was closed; it sat unused and inoperable. Even longer than that, it was under the watchful eye of one of our department’s finest. Southeast District’s Officer Calvin McCleese lived on the corner of Dundalk Ave. and Bullneck Rd., just across the street from the bridge and Watersedge Park. The ladies and gentlemen that collected tolls were safe from anyone trying to bring them harm. Even though its location is in the county, like his family and his post, Officer McCleese protected his neighborhood. He had two sons, Michael and Jeff, who would also grow up to be police officers.

Calvin McCleese worked his entire career with the Baltimore Police Department, all in the same area since his joining in 1957. He started out in the Eastern District's Southeast Substation until 1958/59, when Southeast Station House on Eastern Ave. opened. The kind of police Calvin was; on January 22, 1970, while patrolling in Highland Town, he grew suspicious of a car parked around the corner from The Chesapeake Federal Savings and Loan. Officer McCleese approached the car just as the car’s tag number was broadcast over his radio in a report about a bank robbery at The Chesapeake S&L. Officer McCleese pulled his handgun and single-handedly captured the two men in the car, one of whom was armed with a sawed-off shotgun. But that was 1970, and that was the way Officer McCleese worked.

He retired from the department in 1985 and went on to be the typical retired police officer. He still looked out for his family and his neighborhood… until this day in 1989, when a vehicle being operated by a drunk driver, either not knowing the bridge was closed or just plain losing control, hit the bridge embankments, had an accident and his car burst into flames. Retired Officer McCleese ran to the driver’s aid; after breaking the windows and getting the driver out, the driver woke up. Fearing he would be arrested for DWI and an out-of-state warrant, he decided he would fight the man who just came to his aid and saved his life. Having just fought his way into a burning car and got a man out, then realizing the man was drunk, Officer McCleese wasn’t about to just let him go. So he fought back, subduing the individual until Baltimore County Police would show up on scene, laying on top of him and pinning him down when police arrived and took over the arrest. Officer McCleese had had a heart attack, which he would succumb to on the scene. Officer McCleese had held on for as long as he could. His last action in his life was to first save a life and then to effect the arrest of a drunk driver and wanted fugitive.

Those that knew him knew how much he loved being a Baltimore Police Officer and the pride he had in wearing our badge. While he had already been retired for a few years, he died on this day in 1989 doing what he loved best: serving his community. BTW, one of the ladies P/O McCleese was intent on guarding at that toll booth was his wife, Rebecca McCleese, the mother of his two sons.

May he never be forgotten as "His service "Honored" the City of Baltimore and the Police Department." God bless and RIP

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