Before 1970, The Baltimore Police Department didn’t have a police flag. It was rumored that then-Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau wanted an Honor Guard, and having seen other Departments with Honor Guard Units carrying, American flags, State flags, City, or County flags and their Departmental Police flags. The Commissioner knew to look our best, we would have to have a police flag of our own. So he had someone work on a Baltimore Police flag, and by the end of 1970, the 3rd of December, to be exact we had our flag. A little more than a year later. Pomerleau would also have his Honor Guard. It should be noted that prior to the 1972 Honor Guard, we had a kind of Honor Guard within our Mounted Unit, but the official Departmental Honor Guard wasn't founded until 1972. Mounted has always added a certain touch of class to our department, and their Honor Guard was not lacking. However, this is more about the Baltimore Police Flag, a flag that didn’t have the kind of thought or time put into it that it deserved. The 1970s much like today for Baltimore were busy and violent, we had large numbers of loss within our department, and commissioner Pomerleau felt our fallen should be sent off in honor, he wanted the best Honor Guard he could form; had he put the time into, seeking a flag that would represent more than just getting our police; after all, our police represent our city, and the people that live, work and spend their recreational time in it, as well as the tourist that come to visit. Baltimore is a beautiful city, with outstanding dedicated police and as such, it deserves a well throughout, well-designed flag.
Proposed BPD Flag
On 3 December 1970, Commissioner Pomerleau unveiled his flag, a simple light blue field with BALTIMORE in an arched ribbon above our insignia and POLICE in an arched ribbon below our insignia. That's it, light blue, Baltimore Police and the Maryland Flag embossed in our 4th issue badge. ( FOR MORE INFORMATION - SEE OUR PATCH HISTORY ). The flag had the Department’s name embroidered in a ribbon on a light blue hunk of flag-shaped fabric. What our. 1970 police flag failed to offer was something other agencies seemed to have overflowing, from their departmental flags, cities like the New York, Boston, and Chicago just to name a few had meaning in their flags. Flags that connected with the police, and the community they serve. Our flag was lacking significance, with no ties to the police, and the communities, or people we serve.
We are hoping to correct that with this proposed Baltimore Police Flag, a flag that serves to remember our past, our present and our future. it will represent our fallen, our injured, our retired, our active, and our future police officers. But not just police officers, this flag represents those we serve, those we protect, the neighborhoods, and communities of Baltimore. It is important that Baltimore's history is represented in our police flag.
First, let's take a look; this is our current flag, as mentioned above, it has a light blue field with no stripes, it holds our police emblem, an emblem that has meaning, but shouldn't stand alone. Having the shape of our 4th issue Baltimore Police Badge, embossed with our State flag, the State flag holds meaning, as it is a quartered flag that represents the Calvert, and Crossland families' coats of arms. Over the badge-flag, combo, is the Battle Monument, again full of Baltimore City's rich history. Above and beneath this are two simple banners, telling those viewing it, that it is our, Baltimore Police flag. It could and should say more.
In looking at the Baltimore Police Flag compared to the NYPD flag, it is obvious our flag was just slapped together.
The New York Police Flag and ours; as we already discussed there is no significance to our flag. But take a look at the New York Police flag, The official flag of the New York City Police Department was created in 1919. It is flown outside precincts and other NYPD buildings. It bears five alternating green and white bars, representing the five boroughs of New York City; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. There are 24 stars on a field of blue in the left upper corner of the flag. The blue field represents the Police Department. Twenty-three of the twenty-four stars represent the separate towns and villages that became part of New York City under the Consolidation that took place in 1899. The 24th star represents New York City itself. Of those towns and villages that became part of New York City in 1899, eighteen of them had separate police departments that joined together to become part of the NYPD.
Let’s take the Baltimore Police flag, strip it down to blank, and build a flag that has meaning.
To start we need a simple white flag, which by the way, even a simple white flag has meaning; but we are not ready to wave that flag just yet... First, we'll need to include what is called the "HOIST," normally the hoist is made of canvas, or nylon material doubled or even tripled over and sewn onto itself, with two or more grommets added for strength, and as a way to attach it to a flagpole. After the hoist, we’ll add a vertical stripe about the thickness maybe a little wider than that of the hoist, but not as wide as any of the nine horizontal stripes we'll be adding in a moment. Next to the vertical stripe, we'll add nine horizontal stripes, one for each of our nine districts, lastly, we'll add a field in the upper left-hand corner of the flag. We'll also make a vertical flag version for special events and displays.
Next to the Hoist, we'll add a Vertical Stripe
From there we'll include 9 Horizontal Stripes
Then we'll add a Field to the upper left corner
Now we'll start adding color, and explaining what these things mean. Let's first talk about something this flag should represent; Since a flag should have meaning, it should tell about Our Past, Our Present, and Our Future. To represent Our Past, maybe we can take the color from the 1970 flag, and use it in four of the stripes on our proposed flag.
The Past - As mentioned the light blue comes from our old flag and will be used on four of the nine stripes, not just to represent our history, those who have served, those who have retired, and, our old flag, but our department initially had just four districts.
The Present - The next four stripes, will alternate in with the light blue and will be dark blue, two down from the top, and two up, from the bottom. The dark blue stripes about the shade of our uniformed pants will represent our active police and those that will someday wear that Baltimore Police Blue
After this, we'll fill that 9th horizontal stripe with black to represent, and never let us forget our Fallen.
Now for the vertical stripe, that we put next to the hoist; we'll color that one red for our injured
To start work on designing the "Field" in the upper left corner of the horizontal flag, or the top center of our vertical flag. We'll use the same dark blue that was used for the active officer's in the horizontal stripes, The "Field" will blanket the city with our motto. A motto that we have had since 1880 and whether you knew the words, or just what they stood for, our officers since day one, have always lived by a code that has had us Ever Ready, Ever Faithful and Ever on the Watch
As important to a flag as colors, and the stripes; are the stars. We'll initially add 14 large stars representing our 14 Seats of City Council, those who took an oath to serve and protect those Council Districts, Past Present, and Future.
Then we'll add our Baltimore Police patch, and a banner with our 1880 Motto, Ever on the Watch. This is so people will recognize right off the bat, that this flag is the flag of their Baltimore Police Department.
Now going back to the stars, and our Baltimore Police History, the 20 point badge aka the 3rd. ISSUE was first worn in 1862 and had 20 points to represent the 20 Wards our police served and protected. Here we'll add 14 large stars for the 14 Council Seats. We want to add smaller stars to represent the people that live in our city, those that lived in the city, or those that someday will live in our city. Again we need to focus on the Past, Present, and Future. It is not just the Past Present and Future of our police; but should also include the Past, Present, and Future of our city's residents.
An this, if approved, this would be the New Baltimore Police Flag; a flag that as we have shown will represent Our Past, Our Present, and Our Future.
Further Flag Research
During our research, we also learned that when hanging a horizontal flag, vertically, someone will almost always hang that flag backward, or it will just naturally become backward through a window, or door opening. So we made a vertical version of our proposed flag that can be used if needed. We just figured for the sake of completeness it might be worth presenting, with this design giving us a version of our flag that cannot be hung wrong, and would also serve our Honor Guard in a way that other flags have failed.
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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