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"EVER ON THE WATCH"
City police planning new suspect identification process As police propose changes, prosecutors say they are working to build careful cases
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
7:21 PM EDT, March 28, 2013
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Thursday that he is planning to change the way police get eyewitnesses to pick out suspects, citing research that shows current techniques can lead to cases of mistaken identity.
Batts said he wants officers to show witnesses one picture of a possible suspect at a time, instead of in groups. He said the change, along with a few others. could significantly improve the reliability of the identifications that police use to make their cases.
"What I'm going to introduce to the Baltimore Police Department … is to continue to bring cameras into interview rooms and make sure that we document and we record those interviews so there's no mistakes there," Batts said.
Batts made the comments while participating in a panel discussion at the University of Baltimore Law School with his predecessor Frederick H. Bealefeld III and State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.
Bernstein said eyewitness testimony is a powerful element at trial, which is why it is so important that investigators get the initial identification right.
Identification policies have changed over the years. Bealefeld said in the 1980s officers were drafted to participate in live lineups — a practice police here have abandoned.
Witnesses in Baltimore are shown a group of pictures, known as a "six pack", containing the suspect and five other people, and asked to pick out the person they believe committed the crime.
But Rebecca Brown, a policy advocate at the Innocence Project, said police practices have not kept up with research that shows witnesses make more reliable picks if they are shown the pictures one after another, rather than all at once.
Police and prosecutors have not always seen eye-to-eye on how identifications will stand up in court. Col. Dean Palmere, Baltimore's chief of detectives, said at a recent City Hall hearing that he had met with prosecutors to get authorization on four cases that police wanted to move on.
Bernstein said in an interview that his office recently indicted a homicide case involving a single witness. He declined to name the defendant, and his spokesman Mark Cheshire said that's because he is personally involved in the case and does not want to prejudice it.
During the panel, Bernstein said prosecutors have to be careful about how they approach cases with just a single eyewitness.
"If you have a case in which your only evidence … is one witness identifying a stranger … I think you have to be very very careful about that kind of case," he said. "When you have that kind of situation … you need to really look hard and make sure you have corroborating evidence."
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.
"The WHITE HOUSE"
Photo courtesy of Officer William Painter
2003 snow blizzard brings the Maryland National Guard help with Humvees
COURTESY DETECTIVE LES STICKLES
Officer Owen O’Neill
Entrance On Duty : June 27, 1935
Retired from Duty : June 27, 1956
21 Years of Honorable Service
EMERALD SOCIETY PHOTO
Certificate of Accomplishment
50th Anniversary of Officer Owen O’Neill’s
Retirement from the
Baltimore City Police Department
Awarded by the
Police Emerald Society of Baltimore, Maryland
Courtesy Lt. Tom Douglas
Agent Edward William Eldridge,Jr
To the men and women in blue. Thursday last, at 0914hrs. retired Baltimore City Police Officer Edward William Eldridge Jr. passed from this earth. Edward was 62 yrs. old and had been retired 10 years. The very tragic sad part of this, is that Edward took his own life. It seems that following his retirement in 1998, Edward lost touch with his brothers and sisters in blue. To the point, that it appears that he did not have anyone to call for life’s emergencies. On the day of his death, he was to under go arthroscopy surgery on his knee. At the Hospitals request, Edward needed to be accompanied to the Hospital by someone who would stay until his release. Edward apparently did not have anyone to call. Edward did make arrangements with the NE District where he lived for a ride to and from the Hospital. However he was concerned that the Hospital might not be satisfied with that arrangement. Unfortunately he opted to take his life instead. Edward never married, had no children, no siblings and his parents were deceased. Edward lived alone and died alone. Edward was brought up Catholic. A neighbor of his for the last 20yrs. expressed her dismay and recounted the following: When her children were youngsters, Mr. Ed would fix all the kids bikes in the neighborhood and would give them money to buy candy. Records were located that showed that each Halloween, Edward would spend as much as $ 153.00 in his purchase of candy and would keep track each year how many children came to trick or treat. At the height of his records, 61 children would knock at Mr. Ed’s door. Your thoughts and prayers for the departed would be much appreciated. Edward Eldrige will be buried next week from Rucks Funeral Home in Towson Md. The only family Edward has to attend his interment and memorial service are his brothers and sisters in blue. I know we all have hectic lives these days. However, if you knew Edward or not, he served 26 years in our uniform and deserves an abundant showing from the Baltimore City Police Department.
To those who read this, I personally thank you for your time. Edward was a Central District wagon man for a number of years.
Entered BPD 1972.---------- Retired 1998. Date of death 29 January 2009, 0914hrs. - Det. Randy Wynn Homicide
Let his death be a reminder that we are family, renew a friendship of a past side partner
By Peter Hermann
February 9, 2009
Edward William Eldridge Jr. took his own life at the age of 62. He lived alone in a small semidetached, red-brick house on Daywalt Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. He had no wife, no known children, no brothers, no sisters, and his parents died years ago. He listed his only aunt as a beneficiary, but she, too, had passed away. He had no friends, at least none close enough or willing enough to stay with him at the hospital for a few hours so he could undergo the arthroscopic knee surgery he was scheduled to have on the day he died. He had nobody he could talk to or who could help him when he lost $100,000 of his retirement savings to the faltering stock market. Now Eldridge's body lies at Ruck Funeral Home in Towson - a viewing is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow, memorial service at 11 a.m. Wednesday - his earthly remains saved from becoming a ward of the state and from a pauper's grave by the Baltimore homicide detective who got the case, went to the house and recognized the dead man as a colleague and an old acquaintance. He had "shot the breeze" with Eldridge years ago when the detective walked a foot post and the now-dead officer was the Police Department's Central District wagon man. His name, with rank attached, was Agent Edward William Eldridge Jr. He joined the Baltimore Police Department on Aug. 4, 1972, and retired Aug. 6, 1998. He had earned a degree in business and public administration from the University of Maryland, was drafted into the Army and sent to Okinawa to guard underground missile silos. "He served his country for two years and he served this city for 26 years," Detective Randy Wynn said after he claimed the body at the morgue. "At the very least he deserves a proper send-off." The detective is trying to get current and retired police officers to come to services for Eldridge, and he plans to display nearly two dozen certificates and commendations he found after spending days digging through boxes and bags at the house where Eldridge grew up and died. Wynn found a neighbor who told him Eldridge fixed bicycles for the kids - there were parts scattered in his basement - and gave them money for candy. There were 40 names in Eldridge's address book, and Wynn called them all. Every single number went to a business where people had dealt with Eldridge but didn't really know him. Only his retired accountant thought Eldridge's demeanor had soured - "that he didn't seem the way he used to be," Wynn said. He had lost contact with the cops he had worked with, most recently in the Northeast District. He was so alone that he worried nobody would find his body after he died - maybe they wouldn't care enough to even look. It was Jan. 29, a Thursday, at 9:09 in the morning, the day his surgery was scheduled, that he called 911 and told an operator, "Ma'am, I'm planning to shoot myself." His voice was as steady and cavalier as someone ordering a pizza. He was polite, not a trace of urgency or hesitation. "I don't want the body to stink up the neighbor's house," he said into the phone. The operator asked whether he had any weapons, and he said he had two. She asked where he was, and he told her he was in his upstairs back bedroom, and that he had left the front door unlocked so officers could get inside. He had a .40-caliber Glock and a .38 Smith & Wesson revolver. Eldridge chose the Glock - the kind of gun carried by city police - to end his life. The operator was still on the line when he pulled the trigger. It's hard to imagine being so alone, and the extent and reason for whatever emotions caused him to take his life may never be fully known or understood. For Detective Wynn, who gets paid to immerse himself in this city's overabundance of death and despair, this case is a stark reminder that people need to help each other and ask for help for themselves. Wynn could have shoved this file aside, written a perfunctory report and moved on. But he is driven to get others to care about a man who should not have been allowed to die as he lived - without family, without friends, without someone knowing even a little about him. For the detective, who has spent 40 years on the city force, it's a lesson to get friends outside the job. "When you're in uniform, everybody knows who you are," he said. "Then all of a sudden you retire, and nobody knows who you are. After being in his house and reading his stuff for 12 hours, I realized he didn't have a friend in the world." Eldridge was born June 27, 1946, at Union Memorial Hospital and grew up on Daywalt Avenue. His parents were both from Philadelphia; his father worked as a clerk at Sparrows Point. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1964 and headed off to the University of Maryland. Wynn made a list of Eldridge's varied and prodigious studies: introduction to business; introduction to philosophy; public speaking; introduction to world literature; general chemistry; Western civilization; social psychology; principles of government and politics; accounting; marketing principles and organization; auditing theory; income tax accounting; business statistics; and civil rights law. The Army drafted him the year he graduated, 1968, but he was spared Vietnam and sent to train for a year at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, where he earned a marksman's badge for the M-16 before heading off to Japan. While on duty there, he had a security clearance, studied the Japanese language, attended a law enforcement program and rose to the rank of sergeant. Wynn found Eldridge's honorable discharge papers, dated June 14, 1971, along with two letters of appreciation signed by President Richard M. Nixon and Army Gen. William C. Westmoreland.
He returned to Baltimore, bought a house on Homestead Street in Better Waverly and joined the police force. Eight years ago, he moved back to Daywalt Avenue to take care of his sick mother. Neighbors said they rarely saw him and that he kept his windows covered. Wynn found piles of books, Western movies and boxes filled with documents that shed some light on Eldridge's personality, and how he kept meticulous records of the most mundane chores. There was a log of "every gallon of gas he ever bought," Wynn said. Curiously, it appears that Eldridge kept the records for records' sake and not to track mileage. He kept a similar list of visits for Halloween and how much money he spent on the small candy bars he handed out. In 2000, 52 kids came to his door; in 2001 it was 18, a year later 31 and a year after that 52. It topped 61 in 2005 and dropped to "only eight children" last year. He spent between $94 and $159 on candy each year. Why he compiled these lists might remain as mysterious as why he took his life. In a suicide note found at the foot of his bed, neatly written in cursive and taking up a full page of notebook paper, Eldridge went on at length about his surgery, scheduled for that day at 2 p.m. at Franklin Square Hospital Center. He had saved the doctor's instructions reminding him not to eat that day, and had written notes to himself about what time to call a taxi to take him to the hospital. He had later made arrangements with officers at the Northeastern District to give him a ride to and from Franklin Square, but he had nobody to stay with him during the procedure, a requirement. He wrote that he was afraid he would be sent home, and that doctors might learn his backup plan was suicide. He was afraid of being committed. Eldridge, fully clothed, lay on his back on his bed and called 911. The final sound on the tape is a gunshot followed by the operator's scream. Wynn said Eldridge actually shot himself twice, the first time through his right jaw, then in a split second he turned his head and shot himself above the left ear. His Glock was still in his right hand when police arrived. The detective has played the tape for his colleagues. "Everyone up here who has heard it has never heard anything like that," he said. "Ever." Regarding the viewing Lt. Tom Douglas arrived at 6:00 PM and there were uniformed police leaving. As he entered the second floor, the room was large and occupied by uniformed, plain clothed, young and retired officers. He said he would venture to say at one point there were over 200 police on that floor and in the room. Retired Police Commissioners Bishop Robinson and Ed Woods and current PoliceCommissioner Fred Bealefeld also came. The Northeastern District Commander came as did other Officers, Agents, Detectives, Sergeants, and Lieutenants. Several motor officers were out front and also saw retired Deputy Commissioner John Gaverelis was there as well. It was the general consensus Detective Wynn did an outstanding job on making the arrangements and getting the word out. There were photos of Ed and his family around the room, his Army duffel bag and uniform, his badge was on the coffin with a lone bouquet of flowers. There were a couple flower arrangements beside the unpretentious casket which was closed. Many officers would approach, kneel by its side and either say a prayer or their good byes. Detective Wynn did an outstanding service for this officer, our department and for the men and women that were now afforded a chance to say their good bye to this kind, yet lonely, officer that was too lonely to call for help.
GOOD BYE EDDIE, if you had only known.
KGA 161........ KGA to 161..........161 is 10-7
An outstanding piece of Police work by Detective Randy Wynn. His dedication to duty is only out weighed by his compassion. Detective Wynn’s handling of this incident exemplifies what it means to be a COP and especially a BALTIMORE COP. We are family and he took his “Brother” to his maker in the manor any family member would do. Thanks Detective Randy Wynn for bringing this tragedy to light and may this never ever happen to another one of our own. MESSAGE FROM BRPBA CHAPLAIN TIM RABBIT:
Jim was recently promoted to the rank of Major
Courtesy Det. Leslie Stickles, Jr.
He was one of the first who help guide my career in Law Enforcement.
Officer Mike Parrish standing with command staff waiting on the current academy classes to form up for a ceremony
Mike Parrish's PT shirt was framed and now hangs over the entrance to the fitness and combat training facility
Officer John Robinson and Officer Brian S. Weber stand in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC during Police Week
P/O Chris Ahearn & P/O Scott Davis
Deputy Commissioner Debbie Owens seen with some of the participants of the MSP Polar Bear Plunge
Photo courtesy P/O Thomas A. Linton
THE BLIZZARD OF 2010Photo courtesy Officer Bill Edgar
Photo courtesy Officer Bill Edgar
Photo by Sgt. Jennifer Sardam, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment - Sgt. Troy K. Mitchell of Joint Force Headquarters, Maryland Army National Guard, works to free a Baltimore City Police vehicle from where it was stuck in the snow
Photo by Sgt. Jennifer Sardam, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) Left to right: Baltimore City Police officers, Justin Howard and Joe Crystal, and Sgt. Troy K. Mitchell of Joint Force Headquarters, Maryland Army National Guard, work together Sunday (February 7) to free a Baltimore City Police vehicle from where it was stuck in the snow.
Major John Hess, Deputy Major Dan Lioi, Colonel Dean Palmere and Lt Tracy Geho (Left to Right).
Standing at Federal and Broadway in the great Eastern District.
Photo courtesy: Sgt. Carlos Vila
Sergeant Tommy Bracken
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.
How to Dispose of Old Police Items
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll