The Department began its Aviation Unit on October 23, 1970 with the appearance of FH 1100 helicopter, which was purchased from a federal grant. The helicopter had a hoist that could lift 300 pounds, a 3.5 million candle power spotlight, and five men were assigned to the unit. The first two pilots were, Officers Henry Lippincott and R. Scott Miskimon. The two aerial observers were Officers John Rourke and Weston Bousman. Sergeant Regis Raffensberger was placed in charge of the unit at the time of its inception. In April 1971 the Department opted to go with another style helicopter, Hughes 300-C, which were flown from California to Baltimore by the three Baltimore Police Pilots, Flight Officers James Vincent Daly, Henry Lippincott, and R. Scott Miskimon. The 300-C was a smaller class helicopter, weighing in at 1900 lbs, equipped with spot lights, and a P/A system.
In 1977 the Aviation Unit set a National Safety record by flying 20,000 hours of accident free operations and would remain that way for years to come. In the history of the Aviation Unit the Helicopter has only crashed 4 times, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1998. In 1998 we lost Flight Officer Barry Wood when the helicopter had a catastrophic engine failure. Officer Wood maintained control of the helicopter for as long as he could and guided it away from citizens and took the brunt of the crash on his side saving his aerial observer, Officer Mark Keller. After this accident the Helicopter stopped flying until 2001. In 2001 the Baltimore Police Department bought four new aircraft. They were the American Eurocopter Model EC-120-B, which was equipped with video cameras, F.L.I.R., GPS navigation tool, LoJack tracking device, and a spotlight the ranges from 15 to 60 million candlepower. The Helicopter unit is station at Martins State Airport where regular maintenance is conducted. This unit has numerous assist in arrest during its tenure. It is truly a great asset for the citizens of Baltimore to have in fighting crime.
Community Collaboration Division
Community Collaboration Division Mission
Community Collaboration Division’s mission is to develop strategies that produce collaborative partnerships between law enforcement, Baltimore City residents, faith-based organizations, businesses, schools, media, other government agencies and non-profit organizations. The mission involves assuring asset mapping of resources throughout the city are made known and available among all community partners and members. The mission is to build a healthy two-way dialogue with and within the community. Finally the mission for CPD is to assist in the nurturing of strong relationships, define a clear vision for the communities and to implement strategies to reduce crime, blight, grime and crime.
Sector Community Teams
We know through years of implementation that absolutely an "Engaged Presence Produces Reduction (EPPR)." We have discovered that is just isn’t a police presence, but any positive non-confrontational force that makes itself visible in any stressed area of any neighborhood will in fact reduce negative activities. Negative open spaces such as Open Air Drug Markets, Illegal Dumping, Illegal Gambling, etc can be eliminated by the implementation of an engaged presence. We have also discovered that well placed EPPR also reduces incidents like homicides, shootings, aggravated assaults, burglaries, larcenies etc. Finally we know that EPPR increases the quality of life and overall public safety for any community that it’s deployed. We want all our community shareholders to become a part of their local Sector Community Team by contacting their local district community officers to get more information.
First Response Compassion Team
This is an initiative that will be comprised of community officers, community residents, faith-based leaders, clinical and social workers. This effort will address, console, and see to the special needs of our community members that face loss of life tragedy in our community. This initiative is being built out with our partners Roberta’s House and the mayor’s office. More info will be coming. For anyone wishing to get more information or volunteer to be a part of this initiative please contact The CPD at 410 396-2526.
The BPD Explorers Program falls under CPD and as such CPD seeks to open doors of opportunities for youth to experience law enforcement work and ultimately usher them into a career with The BPD. The Explorers Program will bring together youth from across our diverse city into teaching environments. This will afford youth the opportunity to better understand each other and coexist productively across all cultural, race, gender and class lines. The Explorers Program will grow to have strong representation throughout Baltimore City High Schools to bring another positive influence and youth leadership presence in the one place that our youth come together by the thousands almost every day. BPD CPD understands that who better to preserve law and order in the streets and advance the city to even safer heights than by those who were reared in Baltimore City.
Is currently being re-assessed and expanded to build out a chaplain teams for every sector of the city, to increase certified training for the chaplains, to re-configure and develop a greater rank and structure amidst the chaplains and to expand the duties as well as obtain a monthly 20 hour a month volunteer engagement commitment from every chaplain.
Day of Hope
Day of Hope is an annual summer outreach series that serves the most challenging communities in Baltimore City. It is where CPD partners with non-profit organizations The Transformation Team and Somebody Cares Baltimore along with dozens of city agencies, churches, businesses, service providers, entertainers and hundreds of volunteers. The community is met with a plethora of services, empowering information, groceries, haircuts etc. all free and all wrapped in a care free afternoon filled with music, food and the sound of hundreds of children laughing and playing. Call CPD at 410 396-2526 for more information.
Cyber & Electronic Crimes
Criminals today are more high tech, using cell phones, computers, and the internet to commit their crimes.
The Cyber & Electronic Crimes Unit has assisted with investigations in the following incidents: Homicides, Shootings, Child Pornography, Robberies, Aggravated Assaults, Arsons, Credit Card Fraud, Cyber Stalking / Bullying, eBay Fraud, Cyber – Terrorism, CDS, Email Harassment, Identity Theft, Missing Person, Sexual Child Abuse, Internal Affairs, Intrusion Detection, Theft, High Profile Cases, Malicious Destruction, and assisting WATF.
- Internet / Email Investigations
- Computers / Cell Phones / related digital media forensics
- Video Evidence Recovery
- Internet Public Education / Awareness
- Maryland ICAC Affiliated Agency
Internet / Email Investigations:
- Harassing / Threatening emails to Mayor and other city Dignitaries.
- Identify theft of several prominent sports figures and members of our command staff where their credit card information was used online for purchases.
- Online Solicitation of minors / sexually exploited children
- Cyber Bulling
Computers / Cell Phones / GPS / related digital media:
- Forensic analysis of suspect and victim’s computers for evidence (the average time to complete a forensic analysis of a computer is two months, that is based on the size of the computer's hard drive and how many hard drives)
- Forensic analysis of suspect and victim’s cell phone for evidence (the average time to complete a forensic analysis of a cell phone is two weeks, depending on our software and the phone)
- Forensic analysis of suspect and victim’s related digital media (camera, USB, flash/Sim cards, ect.) average time to complete forensics on the above listed items is one week.
Office Telephone: 443-984-7135/7136
Office Fax: 410-528-1266
Evidence Control – How to Claim Your Property
The Baltimore Police Department has property that was originally seized as evidence for court. If any citizen feels that they are entitled to any seized property, please call the Baltimore Police Evidence Control Section Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at 410-396-2048 before responding to the Baltimore Police Department at 601 E. Fayette Street. Bring a valid picture identification car and proof of property ownership. All unclaimed property will be sent to public auction. The items that are sent for auction will appear on the Propertyroom.com web site.
Forensic Science and Evidence Management Division
The objective of the Crime Laboratory Section is to provide the Baltimore Police Department with the highest quality, most accurate and efficient forensic science support available. The Laboratory Section will continually strive to ensure the quality and reliability of its laboratory data through the use of approved methods and procedures, which are fully documented. The Laboratory Section quality assurance program will ensure that all functions are performed as intended, in accordance with
good laboratory practice.
History of the Crime Laboratory
In 1948, one small room was allocated for a crime laboratory as a part of the Detective Division, where then Sgt. Anthony F. Nelligan initiated the laundry and dry cleaning marks identification section which he expanded to include handwriting and documents examination. He was joined by Sgt. Joseph Litz who performed firearms examinations. This one room soon proved too small for the growing crime laboratory and on October 26, 1951 the Crime Laboratory was formally established when Police Commissioner Beverly Ober promoted Lt. Anthony Nelligan, naming him as its head. The north wing of the 4th floor of the old headquarters building at Fallsway and Fayette, formally housing the print shop, was set aside for this newly created department. By that time the Crime Laboratory included the specialties of Firearms, Chemical Tests, Laundry Marks, Documents, Photographic, Technical Arts, and Latent Fingerprints.
The appointment of Police Commissioner Donald D. Pomerleau in 1966 brought forth a reorganization of the Police Department which included a reorganization and expansion of the Crime Laboratory. By this time the Crime Laboratory had expanded its specialties to include Polygraph Examinations and Identikit sketches. In March of 1969, the Commissioner made a proposal to obtain a grant that would facilitate the construction of a new Crime Laboratory on the 5th floor of the new headquarters building already under construction. This proposal included site preparation, scientific equipment, and furniture. The proposal also was the foundation for the Crime Laboratory to perform Controlled Dangerous Substance analyses which at that time were being done at the U.S. Customs Service Chemical Laboratory.
Over the next several decades the Crime Laboratory expanded its services and staff while limited to the 5th floor location it moved into in 1972. The Crime Laboratory, moved to the renovated facilities on the 1st, 8th, 9th and 10th floors of the building in 2000. The Crime Laboratory now has over 100 employees in several different job titles in nine separate disciplines (an area of forensic science).
In 2014 the Crime Laboratory hired its 4th Director, Steve O’Dell, since Lt. Nelligan in 1951 and the laboratory formally achieved its first International Organization of Standards (ISO/IEC) accreditation. This laboratory continues to explore and adopt new technologies as they evolve. Some older methodologies have been improved or replaced as the science improves.
The Baltimore Police Department’s Crime Laboratory Section provides forensic services to many law enforcement agencies within and outside of the City of Baltimore. The Crime Laboratory continues to be dedicated to providing the highest quality, most accurate and efficient forensic support available to the Baltimore Police Department, the criminal justice system and the citizens of Baltimore.
The Crime Laboratory Section is licensed by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of the State of Maryland. The DNA Laboratory was certified by Forensic Quality Services (FQS) in 2001. The analytical component of the Laboratory Section was accredited to the Legacy program by ASCLD/LAB in 2006 and later accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FSQ in 2014. The Mobile Unit (i.e., Crime Scene) Forensic Facial Imaging and Photographic Sections were accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board/FSQ in 2014 as well. The laboratory continuously strives for improved quality services and pursues the most advanced technologies.
Crime Laboratory Components
- Mobile Unit (i.e., Crime Scene)
The Crime Scene Division processes crime scenes and administers the Intoximeter test for DUI. Crime scene responds to scenes of crimes to identify, test, and collect evidence to be analyzed further by the disciplines described below in the Crime Laboratory. Crime Scene also completes finished diagrams and is implementing advanced technology such as the Leica C-10 360 degree photographic mapping and imaging unit, a laser scanner that extends 300m (~900ft), to capture crime scenes and conduct full scale 3D animations and reconstructions. As part of a broader overhaul, Crime Scene and the Photography Unit are transitioning out of film photography and into advanced digital photography with the newest available digital SLR’s. The Photography Unit develops film, performs digital enhancement, and completes video capture. The Photography Unit, through the years, has developed hundreds of thousands of photos each year and has been a staple of the Crime Laboratory since the very beginning.
- DNA Analysis
DNA analysis, using outside vendors began in 1987 completely replacing conventional serology in 1996. In 1999, the Crime Laboratory received a grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) for a DNA facility using RFLP technology to be housed in the newly renovated 10th floor of the Headquarters building. Staying abreast of current technology DNA analysis uses Short Tandem Repeats (STR) technology and is exploring Next Generation Sequencing. As of mid-2014 the DNA laboratory has achieved over 900 DNA hits from CODIS, including many cold case hits and case linkages previously unknown to investigators. The Unit uses robotics to be one of the most efficient DNA Units in the state of Maryland.
- Drug Analysis
The Drug Analysis Unit identifies controlled substances, such as cocaine and heroin, and utilizes Gas Chromatographs, Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometry, UV and FTIR instruments in its analyses. It is the most productive Drug Analysis Unit in the state of Maryland as of 2014. The Drug Analysis Unit began using automation to expedite drug analysis on the Gas Chromatographs and Mass Spectrometers in 1980.
- Latent Print Examination
The Latent Print Unit processes evidence for latent prints and compares and identifies the resultant prints. The Unit began the use of Printrak in 1984, which enabled the department to use computerized fingerprint searches to identify potential latent print identification for the examiners. This system was replaced in 1991 with Morpho possessing new and improved capabilities and again replaced in 2009 with the COGENT system. In 1988 the Latent Print Unit and the Mobile Unit began the use of Lasers for the identification of latent fingerprints and body fluids at crime scenes and on evidence. The Latent Print Examination Unit is one of the most productive Units in the United States, has employed only professionally certified latent print examiners (International Association for Identification) for decades, and by far is the most effective Latent Print Unit in Maryland.
- Trace Analysis
The Trace Analysis Unit, whose range of analyses includes Gunshot Residue, Flammable substances, Low Explosives, Glass, and Physical Matches, employs a wide range of analytical equipment including Scanning Electron Microscopy, Comparison Microscopy, Glass Refractive Index Measurement (GRIM,), Microspectrophotometry, and FTIR. Gunshot Residue Analysis (GSR) using Scanning Electron Microscopy began in 1991. Trace analysis is one of the most challenging disciplines and broadest with numerous subsets of testing that requires years of training to establish competence.
- Firearms Examination
The Firearms Unit identifies and compares firearms evidence (i.e., expended cartridge casings, projectiles…), performs serial number restoration, completes toolmark examinations, and evaluates distance determinations. The unit obtained Drugfire in 1991 which allowed the Firearms Examiner to store thousands of images of fired cartridge cases for comparison at a computer station. Its bullet counterpart, Bulletproof, was obtained in 1997. Continued improvements to this technology lead to the replacement of this unit with the ATF system of IBIS (Integrated Ballistic Identification System) in 2002.
- Questioned Document Examination
The Questioned Documents (QD) Unit examines and compares various document types as well as shoe and tire print impressions. The majority of QD work is handwriting comparisons. The QD Unit employ various technologies including microscopy, Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA), Solemate and Treadmate. The senior examiner in the Questioned Document Unit has over 40 years of experience and is one of the best examiners in the United States.
- Forensic Facial Imaging
The most recent new discipline added to the Crime Laboratory is Forensic Facial Imaging. The forensic artist conducts cognitive interviews, draws composite sketches, performs facial reconstructions, and performs age progressions. The Baltimore Police Department is lucky to employ the preeminent Forensic Artist in the United States. The Unit is making the transition from traditional techniques and structure of a “sketch unit” to a technically advanced, technology enhanced, unit with biometric capacity. It is an extremely effective and productive unit, and is the most productive unit in Maryland and one of the most productive and effective units in the United States.
The K-9 Unit received its first dogs on December 18, 1956 after Police Commissioner James M. Hepbron read a newspaper article about police dogs in London England. By 1947 the experiment was off and running. The two dogs were named "Turk" and "Major V. Gruntz." In the first year of service the K9 unit made over 500 arrests which showed the unit was not just for show, but for crime fighting. Since its inception there have been two dogs that have been killed in the line of duty. In June 1971 Officer David Stuller lost his dog, Shane, in the line of duty. Officer Vernon Holley lost his dog, Sultan, on July 12, 1982. He was shot with a shotgun in the unit block of N. Bruce Street.
The K-9 Unit today is tasked with a multitude of things including locating guns, drugs, people, and explosives. They conduct building searches along with looking for missing people.
The Marine Unit was initiated in 1860, when the city harbor was a bustling port. The main purpose of the Marine Unit was to patrol the harbor and suppress crime. Some of the crime that occurred during this time was thievery form the ships bringing in goods to the docks. The first boats that patrolled the harbor were row boats, officers had to use these to get around the ships and docks. This became a problem in the winter time when the harbor would freeze over. This way of policing the harbor lasted until 1891.
In 1891 the Marine Unit was assigned the police boat, The Lannan, named after Deputy Marshall John Lannan. It was the first steamed powered boat the Department would have. The Lannan would prowl the waters of the harbor to quell shipboard fights, extinguish fires, check for smugglers and stowaways, remove injured seamen from ships, and to assist stranded vessels. The Lannan was the only boat in the unit at that time. In 1917 the Lannan was given a companion, The Robert D. Carter, named after the last Marshall of Police. The Lannan was retired in 1928 after accumulating an estimated mileage the equals going around the world eight times. Over the years, the Marine Unit had the following vessels; The George Henry 1928, The Charles Gaither 1940, and The Beverly Ober 1946.
As of today the Marine Unit is tasked with patrolling 7.7 square miles on waterways, checking large freighter ships, conducting search and rescue of missing boaters, locating missing or stolen boats, and assisting boaters on the water. The Marine Unit is constantly on the go.
Records Management Section – Police Reports
The Records Management Section is the central repository for the collection, analysis, and timely distribution of motor vehicle accident and crime offense reports. Every year, the Baltimore Police Department processes approximately 200,000 police reports.
Obtain copies of accident reports through PoliceReports.us at a cost of $14.00.
Police/Crime Incident Reports
Obtain a copy of a police/crime incident report by completing this form (English) or (Spanish) and submitting it to the address below with a check or money order in the amount of $10.00, payable to the Director of Finance (This fee is not refundable. Do not send cash). Your cancelled check and validated request will be your receipt.
Baltimore Police Department Attn:
Community Correspondence Unit
242 W. 29th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211-2908