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Traffic Section

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Traffic Division

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The Evening Sun Thu Jan 27 1916 72

Baltimore's First Semaphore

1916 - 26 January 1916 - The Police Board ordered 25 semaphores for street crossing - A further step in regulating street traffic by the police department was taken yesterday [26 Jan 1916] when a new semaphore [Baltimore's first] was stationed at Howard and Lexington Streets to guide vehicles. This system was first used and tested by Patrolman Thomas Oursler of Baltimore's Traffic Division and witnessed by Marshal Carter, Deputy Marshal House, President of Police Board of commissioners Daniel Ammidon, and several members of Baltimore's Safety First Federation. This is the original system which was composed of two large green signs with the words "GO" and two intersecting red signs that read "STOP." It was operated via a pole inside of a pole that was stopped by a small handle, allowing the officer a way of turning that handle to change the indication for intersecting traffic to have in their view either the green "GO" signs or the red "STOP" signs. These were later surrounded by a white metal drum that the patrolman could stand inside of making him more visible to traffic. Eventually, they would include an umbrella to both keep the patrolman dry on rainy days and cool on hot sunny days by providing him with some shade. Sitting on top of this Semaphore was a four-way railroad lantern converted for traffic use with the addition of two red lenses and two green lenses so that in low light dusk and dawn drivers could more easily read the Stop and Go signs and follow the traffic patterns directed by the patrolmen that worked these Semaphores.

Howard and Lexington Streets were the first to be added in that January of 1916 and one of the last removed in late May early June of 1920 by Col. Chas Gaither, who went back to the whistle and point control that we see being used today. The public at the time thought the Semaphores were safer and argued to get them back. For pedestrian safety Traffic Officers were instructed to stop cars four feet behind the building line to allow room for pedestrians to more safely cross the streets.

1920 - On 7 June 1920, not long after Gaither ordered the removal of the Semaphores the Commissioner was forced to go back on his ideas and as such he ordered two of the Semaphores to be returned, those units were located at the intersections of Light and Redwood, and Light and Pratt Streets. Gaither said he had not changed his mind about the Semaphores, but in checking the locations, he felt there was sufficient room between the corners of the intersections for traffic to move through without interference from the Semaphores.

1930 - 19 June 1930 - Baltimore Police try a new system for regulating east and westbound traffic on Pratt Street independently; at the intersection of Light Street, was given a trial period to eliminate traffic jams, that were being reported by Inspector George Lurz. Pratt and Light Streets according to statistics compiled by the traffic division showed the location to be among the busiest in the city during daylight hours for vehicular traffic. At the time the control system was confusing by allowing east and westbound traffic to move simultaneously. Westbound traffic was making a left-hand turn onto Light Street interfering with eastbound traffic. So a 3-way Semaphore was being planned to control the traffic better using members of the Traffic Division that would be stationed in the tower at the intersection. The department believed this to be the answer to the problem at what was at the time described as a confusing intersection. The intersection was controlled by a single officer using the old hand controlled Semaphore which was designed with Red-STOP and Green-GO. What made this system a, "3-way system" is where other arrangements have Green-GO, Red-STOP, they added Amber-CAUTION. With its intent is to warn drivers on Green that they are approaching an intersection that is about to change to Red. These 3-way signals were placed on all four sides of the Semaphore Tower. The Red and Green Lights have been helpful, but the addition of the Amber Light has been the answer to a lot of problems throughout the city as it pertains to traffic patterns. This was especially true of confusing or busy intersections. So basically, what they were calling a "Three-Way System," was Baltimore's introduction of the Amber Light to the Red and Green Lights.

1935 - In July of 1935 after learning of a system put into place in Hartford Connecticut, Baltimore's Traffic Division would add radio's to Semaphores at strategic locations throughout our city. With this they could receive up to the minute information on stolen cars [or tag plates] wanted people that could be coming their way. Even more helpful in the possible saving of Baltimore lives was how they arraigned to set things up so that we could share information with Baltimore City's Fire Department. When provided, information on active fires, our Traffic Officers could control traffic patterns thereby clearing intersections, making it easier for fire equipment to more quickly get to the scene of active fires, or medical emergency.

1951 - By the end of August 1951, the Enclosed Box/Booth style, and or Tower style Semaphores [seen in the attached 1951 photos] that were initially introduced in 1924 and last used in August of 1951. These Box/Booth style units came in the style that looked like a phone booth, or another version that had the box/booth affixed on top a tower.


 A Semaphore with a Booth

The Evening Sun Thu Jan 27 1916 72 1

Gaither ordered two of the Semaphores that had been taken out of service to be returned. 

Downtown Traffic Policeman Charles and Pratt1921

Semaphore Booth with a Green and Red Railroad Lantern affixed to the top of the Semaphore above the Go--Go Stop-Stop Signs called that because to on coming traffic they either saw Go-Go or Stop-Stop atop the sign as they entered the intersection

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The Evening Sun Thu Aug 30 1951 72

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 1920 Semaphore

This was donated to us by a guy in Middleton, Idaho who appreciates the hard work our police do and where we have come from in history t be where we are today. Looking at the history of our traffic division, you have to admire what these guys have done to fine tune the system we have today, this photo shows, the umbrella we used to keep out police out of the weather, or even just to keep the sun off of them. But what we like best about this pic is the rearview mirror used to allow our officers the ability to see where traffic is coming from behind him and in front of him, making the direction of these vehicles as safe as possible. Something we don't think about often is what was going on back then when it comes to transportation. this was taken sometime in the late teens early 20s a time when horse-drawn wagons were in use, gasoline engines, some electric cars, streetcars, horses etc. So they had a lot going on, and this man like an orchestra conductor directing a musical performance music, he was directing traffic and if you think of all that could go wrong, especially at a time when traffic lights were not in full use, and in fact, the Semaphore was really just getting started. The add-ons and extras like an umbrella and rearview mirror show just how far we have come. We thank for the donor for caring about police and our history so much that they would donate an important part of history. 

Go Go Stop Stop rearview and Umbrellacrop

Close-up of the shot above shows a rearview mirror for the Go-Go Stop-Stop traffic officer. The pic above shoes he also had an umbrella for the sun/rain and stood on a pallet to keep him off the street, he also has a drain not far off to the side of him so the pallet may have had a second purpose 

td.jpgTraffic booth and Officers directing traffic at Liberty and Lexington Streets

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Baltimore St and Charles St

15 November 1914


VINCENT FITZPATRICK The Sun (1837-1989); SN1

Walk the Straight and Narrow Path

What are those white lines painted on the street, stretching right across the asphalt, mean? Scores asked the men who were painting, hundreds have looked at them, stopped and wondered.

Thousands who walk through the business district of the city have noticed recently at the street intersections of Baltimore Street from the Fallsway to Howard Street, and on Howard from Baltimore Street to Franklin, these heavy white lines on all four sides of the intersecting streets. The lines extend from curb to curb, those on the north and south sides of the street running East and West, and those on the east and west sides of the streets running north and south.

One of the lines on each side runs coincident with the building line; the other with the curb between these lines all Baltimoreans who use Shanks’ mare as their mode of traveling must walk in the future. There is to be no “cutting catty-corner” at these intersections. Everyone must hew to the line or the policemen stationed at these crossings will know the reason why.

In Cleveland and Detroit.

In other words, Baltimore is about to inaugurate an arrangement in the way of handling the traffic situation that has been in vogue for some time in the number of large cities of the country.

Those who have visited Cleveland and Detroit have undergone the experience of being held up by the policeman at the crossing when they attempt to scoot diagonally from one corner of the street to another. They had to go around about way, and perhaps some of them have murmured at what they thought of as a useless and childish procedure. In some of these cities, the lines are not used, while in others there is quite an involved system of lines. Which it takes a little time to puzzle out. In all of these cities the adoption of either the line system or that used, for example, in Cleveland, where the police simply directed the way the Pedestrian shall go, has been rewarded with beneficial results in the saving of life and limb.

In Baltimore, in the last five years, the toll of life and limb exacted by streetcars, automobiles and other vehicles has been considerable. Perhaps 50 persons have been killed or died from their injuries. It is doubtful if, in all this list, there can be found a verdict given by a coroner’s jury in which the victim of the accident was not blamed to some extent for carelessness. In every instance, it seems to have been a case where the person who was killed steps to directly in the path of the automobile or the trolley car, and that the motorman or the chauffeur had no time to bring his car or automobile to a stop.

Often there have been no disinterested witnesses to the accident. The victim’s lips are sealed by death. The person who ran him down naturally testifies in his own defense. With conditions existing as they are in Baltimore today, it is a wonder that more persons are not killed or injured. There are always some few persons so careless and driving automobiles and other vehicles that they are a constant danger to pedestrians. As long as some men will not respect the rights of others and as long as many people are so careless of their own protection, the city must step to the defense of those who either cannot or will not take care of themselves.

The Way It Works

The layout of these lines is regarded as an important step toward the better handling of traffic. City engineer McKay is initiating the innovation. He will shortly write a letter to the board of police commissioners asking them to have the members of the Police Department cooperate with city authorities in seeing that the new plan is carried out.

When that system is put in force a person wishing to cross, say from the south-west side of Baltimore and Charles streets to the northeast corner of Baltimore and Charles streets, will have to walk east on the south side of Baltimore Street to the southeast corner of the intersecting streets and thence North to his objective point. There may be some persons who object on the grounds that this means a waste of time and energy. Doubtless, they will in the future see its good points.

When once the traffic patrolman gives the signal for persons moving east and west to move on every vehicle bound North and South must stop. When he gives the sign to those on their way north and south every vehicle moving east and west must stop every person moving along between the lines is absolutely protected. If, though some disobedience of the law of a driver should persist on his way and a person is cut down between the lines, the party guilty of the violation will have practically no defense and will probably have to face a lawsuit for damages.

The city engineering department intends to place these lines throughout most of the traffic-congested districts. It is the only continuation of the policy of the city officials that “life is not cheap.”

The Useful Traffic Squad

It will surprise some to learn that the money required for the protection of people from injury resulted from the traffic reaches into the thousands and the thousands of dollars more will be expended. Even at that, the safeguards for the pedestrians will not be enough, and those who of studied the question believe that the time is coming when a special yearly appropriation will be made for this purpose.

Until a decade or so ago this city had practically no traffic squad. Indeed when the idea was first breached the proposal met with more or less derision, and those who were appointed to this special work were referred to as members of “the beauty squad.” Baltimoreans have ceased to laugh at that squad. They know the work its members have done in saving aged men and women and children from death in those streets were “big business” and unmindful pleasure hustled and bustle along apparently careless of the rights of others. There are in the city today 39 members of the traffic squad, including three mounted policemen. Of sergeants Barry, and Zimmerman, with deputy Marshal house as the directing head. These men are stationed at all of the principal traffic corners downtown or at what some call the “automobile death traps”. These “traps” are at North and Charles streets, St. Paul and Chase streets and St. Paul Street and Mount Royal Avenue.

These patrolmen work from 7 o’clock in the morning until 7 o’clock at night. One half of the squad works on Saturday night from seven to 11 o’clock. The officers are not kept on duty on Sundays, except the one man who was stationed at Charles Street and North Avenue. This assignment is taken in turn, which means that each member of the squad has to work approximately one Sunday in every 39.

Many Warning Signs

More policeman for this work is needed and needed badly, officials say, but as there is no money appropriated the next best step is taken. Signs have been printed warning automobiles and others what they must do in order to conform to the traffic laws. Signs are fixed at dangerous places where it is impossible, because of lack of numbers, to station a patrolman. The signs cost eight dollars apiece, but they last many years. The patrolman must be paid $20 a week. Therefore, the signs are much more economical, though perhaps not so powerful in the way of restraint as the policeman.

To further the “safety first” Crusade, the officials of the United railways have placed posters in the trolley cars requesting passengers not only to be careful while getting on or off the cars but also warning them of the need of being watchful while crossing or walking in the street.

The automobile club of Marilyn now keeps on the streets and automobile caring large signs on its side warning pedestrians of the necessity of watching out for automobiles and other vehicles. This is sent out the only through the city, the automobile thus constituting a running lesson of advice.

Moving – Picture Lessons

Deputy Marshal House, who is intensely interested in the “safety first” movement, is greatly pleased with the results that have followed one method of campaigning in this matter. There are 200 moving picture houses in Baltimore. In these houses at least once a week warnings tell of the dangers that are to be met within the city from moving vehicles. They urge the readers to “stop, look and listen” before attempting to cross a street. They tell children of the dangers of stealing rides on the back of wagons, cars, etc. And these lessons produce an impression.

The police are always on the lookout to detect those who violate the traffic laws. In stables all over town, the traffic rules are posted. Thousands of little pamphlets, published at the city’s expense, containing the traffic rules and the penalties for violating them have been issued to chauffeurs, automobile owners, and drivers.

In the case of minor violations of the law by drivers of wagons, the rule that is generally followed is to take the name of the driver, if it is his first defense and the name of his employer. The employer is then notified that his employee as disregarded the law and he is asked to advise his men not to repeat the offense. If the offense is committed again the violators arrested and fined.

To “Park” Vehicles

Deputy Marshal House is striving to get the owners of the various business houses and big office buildings interested in a new plan of his. He wants them to purchase signs, to be used in front of their buildings, telling automobile list and drivers to “park” their vehicles within certain lines to be marked off in front of the buildings. This is to keep the entrances to the buildings clear.

There is one good thing that the deputy marshal believes will result from such a plan, and that is the expediting of the collection of the males. Because of the congestion in front of mailboxes, the post office employees have often been delayed a minute or more a box in the taking up of such mail. This means lost time and inconvenience to the businessmen and others in getting their mail.

The popularity of roller-skating brought about by the increase of smooth payments has given a new problem for the police to solve. Regulations had to be made and enforced, giving the children the right to use certain streets at certain hours for their fun. Some of the too – fond skaters had to be protected against automobiles and vice versa automobile us had to be protected against heedless skaters.

May Restore the Whistles

In the downtown section the traffic police for a long time he used the whistle system in the directing of traffic. One blow of the whistle meant the movement of traffic North and South; two blasts met the movement of traffic East and West. This system was discontinued, traffic being direct it now by the waiving of the hand. Part of the present system, according to Deputy Marshal House, has proved unsatisfactory and he has brought before the board of police commissioners a proposal to bring back the whistles again. It is said that many drivers, especially Negroes, who sometimes drive along half asleep, fail to notice the wave of the officer’s hand, and much confusion has resulted. The sharp whistle keeps a man awake and alert and wakes up the sleeping or the stupid.

There are f new traffic problems arising every day as the city grows. It is a big thing, the protection of the people – a job well worth what it costs. Over in Northeast Baltimore and down in the crowded sections of East Baltimore, hundreds of people have been injured more or less seriously, and some have lost their lives because the streets were not better guarded. Especially is where need for the protection of children and elderly persons, and down there, where they have never had any officers to look after pedestrians and hold teams and motorcars in check, traffic police are needed.

It’s a big problem, one that Baltimore has handled pretty well, with its limited force, in the past few years, but it’s planning to manage by a better and more comprehensive system in the future.

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Downtown Traffic Policeman Howard and Lexington 1920
In This Pic, We See The Semaphore Booth with a Green and Red Railroad Lantern Affixed to The Top 
Just Under the Signs and Lanterns, We Can See The Officer's Umbrella, In This Case, Keeping Him Out of The Hot Sun

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1938 buick a.i.d. crash cars


The Sun (1837-1989); Feb 2, 1938; pg. 7 'CRASH SQUAD' CARS!

Arrive for Police!
New Autos, To Probe All Accidents,
To Go Into Service When Equipped

Crews Will Test Brakes of Machines Involved and Photograph Scene Three automobiles for the "crash squad" of the Police Department have arrived and will be placed in service as soon as they are equipped, Capt. Henry C. Kaste, head of the Traffic Division, announced yesterday. The machines will investigate all automobile accidents and will have decelerometers for testing the brakes of cars involved in crashes, as well as photographic equipment for recording the actual conditions after the accident

Two-Way Radios

They will have two-way radios, sirens, and blinking red lights to enable them to get to the scene before the positions of the cars have been altered. The crews, graduates of the University of Maryland's Traffic School, will render aid to the injured and will reroute all traffic until the conditions have been photographed and measured.

Officials hope to relieve the foot patrolmen of responsibility for traffic accidents. Members of the "Crash Squad" will be given two days, A month in Traffic Court to handle their cases, and the new manner of collecting evidence is expected to result In more convictions, particularly in fatal accidents.

Squad Still Nameless

Sergt. Clarence O. Forrester is head of the squad, which is still officially nameless. Other cities having similar departments have decided upon "Accident Investigation Department" for a title, and it is expected that this choice will be made here also.

The "crash squad" was organized alter a report from the Baltimore Safety Council in April 1937, which recommended it as "a vital need for the securing of evidence." Coincident with the council's report, the grand jury urged the squad's creation as a means of reducing accident fatalities and injuries.

Nice Committee Calls Three Traffic Experts

Three traffic experts will appear before Governor Nice's automobile insurance committee at a meeting to be held at 8 P. M. Tuesday at the Emerson Hotel. They are:

Dr. S. S. Stineberg, Dean of the College of Engineering of the University of Maryland, who is conducting the traffic school there. John P. Rostmeyer, director of the Baltimore Safety Council. Preston D. Callum, chairman of the Baltimore Traffic Committee. The committee was named by the Governor shortly after the first of the Year to make a study of Automobile Insurance in the State and to make Recommendations to him and the next General Assembly.

Members of the committee are:

George W. Baulk, a chairman, and W. Harry Haller, of Frederick, representing

The insurance companies. John T. Shipway, of Flintstone; Jos. Eph S. Bigelow, of Annapolis, and J. Francis Rahlke, of Westminster, representing businessmen. Max Sokol, secretary, and Robert R. Carmen, representing the legal profession. The last Legislature passed a resolution calling for the appointment of the committee.

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baseball card
Photo Courtesy Richard Wills


Traffic Squad 1905

aka The Beauty Squad

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 Bike Unit


Traffic booth and Officers directing traffic at Liberty and Lexington Streets

Photo courtesy Lt. Janet Ensor, Baltimore Co. Police

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19 February 1937

Silent Phone List Given to Gaither

Move Seen as the First Step in Police Probe of Gambling Racket
Compromise Held Possible in Case of Naming Utility as Defendant

With the threat of widespread investigations hanging over bookmakers and lottery interest in the city, Judge Eugene O’Dunne yesterday transferred to general Gaither, Commissioner of police, a list of names and addresses of persons having silent telephones. The list was furnished by the telephone company the information was given over without additional communication, but Judge O’Dunne already has assured the grand jury that further word on the gambling racket and related interest will be forthcoming from one of three sources.

Phone Company Case Pending

One of the sources named was General Gaither, and the transfer of the list was seen as the first step in a police probe. The second source is a states attorney’s office, and the third source is the court itself, it was said.

No additional data has been revealed by the state attorney’s office concerning the bookmaking case in which the telephone company has been named a defendant and held on a $1000 bail. J. Bernard Wells, states attorney, is away, and it is considered possible that the case will not be put up for trial until his return.

It also was said there was a possibility that some compromise settlement would be reached in the case, in which the telephone company has been indicted as a defendant with William S Zimmerman, a bookmaker, who already has been convicted and is awaiting sentence.

Meanwhile, Judge O’Dunne settled other lottery and bookmaking cases yesterday. James F. George, of the 800 block of E. Eager St., was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $500 fine on his plea of guilty to violations of the lottery laws.

Charles H. Knapp, Junior, assistant state’s attorney, told the court that George was arrested a week ago by Sgt. Frank Schmidt and patrolman Ralph Amrein and a florist shop in the 500 block of E. North Ave.

Jail Sentence is Suspended

Joseph V. Albright, a Roland Avenue confectioner, whose testimony began the prosecution of Zimmerman, was sentenced to a$200 fine. A jail sentence of 30 days was suspended on the conditions of good behavior.

Albright, charged with bookmaking, pled guilty when originally arraigned, but took the stand and name Zimmerman as the bookmaker to whom he returned in his bets, Zimmerman’s arrest followed, and soon afterward came the testimony that resulted in the indictment of the telephone company.

Friday - 25 February 1938

Deny “Stop – Police” Machines Intended to for Motorists

Officials Explained 10 New, Black Cars are Cruising Streets on General Patrol Duty

10 Black Police cars which can flash a “Stop – Police” sign when overtaking motorists have been operating on the streets since [Thursday] 27 January 1938 and have reported 1,460 “Moving Violations” or 40 more violations a day than average during that time.

Police officials were quick yesterday to deny a report that the new black machines were pulled out of the hat on a rainy night to fool motorists. Records produced by Capt. Henry Kaste, of the Traffic Division, so that 48 arrest Wednesday night did not constitute an unusual showing for the new cars.

They also objected to the idea that the new cars were painted black as a disguise and that they carried trunk tags for the same reason.

Inspector Hamilton R. Atkinson said yesterday [Thursday, 24 February 1938]

“Our job is to reduce the accident rate in Baltimore, and we are trying to do it in a sane way. We do not want to persecute anyone. If a citizen is doing the right thing, they do not have to fear the police.

“We know that reckless daredevil drivers represent only 15%, of the motoring public, and we are trying to get them off the city streets to protect the other 85% of Baltimore’s drivers. The new cars have done more good than anything we have ever tried in the traffic division.

“They are doing excellent work. Why we have run across any number of drivers who admit that they have been getting away with violations for years. Some say they have not been arrested in 25 years of driving. They say they have always looked for the motorcycle.

“Of course, the cars are black. We are not disguising them. We don’t want a distinctive color; the State police use of khaki. That is their designated color. Ours is black.

“The only cars in the Police Department that are any other color artist the cracks squad vehicles, which are painted white.

“These cars have been on the street since 27 January 1938. Only in inclement weather, one motorcycle men are grounded to all 10 of them work. The officers are in full uniform.”

Plates Are Explained

Inspector Atkinson explains:

“They are using license plates of a series commonly issued to trucks, and so are other privately-owned pleasure cars, because the Commissioner of The Motor Vehicles Administration ran out of regular pleasure car tags.

Signs on Hoods

“It is not a question, however, of piling up the arrests. These men are not sent out to make a certain number of arrests, but to stop reckless drivers and other violators.” The inspector said the new cars are engaged in general patrol as well as traffic work.

The records of “moving violations” produced by Captain Kaste did not include parking violations reported by the new machines. Speeding led the list of charges.

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10 September 1937 [Friday]

New Traffic Enforcement System Merged

Grand Jury Recommends Drastic Alterations in Present Methods

Panel Stresses Concern Over Increase in Accidents and Deaths

Stressing its concern over the increase in traffic accidents and deaths in the city, the May term Grand Jury yesterday [9 Sep 1937 Thursday], in its report, recommended drastic changes in methods of handling such cases and urged the employment of at least 70 more policemen to execute the added duties.

As possible solutions for other reoccurring problems, the jurors offered recommendations which included:

Legislation aimed at keeping “Smoke Hounds” from buying denatured alcohol.

Legislation aimed at the control of syphilis and similar diseases.

A “Strong Narcotics Squad’ to stamp out sale and use of Marijuana.

Child Guidance Clinics in public schools and a crime prevention Bureau to reduce juvenile delinquency.

Psychiatric examination of all men charged with sex crimes.

African American Policemen for African American communities as a step toward curbing the high percentage of African American delinquency.

Use of the present penitentiary building for the city jail and the erection of a new penitentiary building elsewhere.

More Police Advocated

Additions to the Police Department, as a means of better enforcing present traffic laws and providing new services, were recommended for the Traffic Division. Under the jury’s scheme 33 men, including two Lieutenants and three Sergeants, would be added to the Motorcycle Squad. 10 “fast automobiles” would also be given to the squad for use at times when motorcycles could not safely be used.

14 men, including one Sergeant, would be added to the Mounted Section of the Traffic Division. This would bring the total in this section to 25 Officers and two Sergeants. The increase recommended for the Motorcycle Division would raise the number of men in that section from 52 to 85.

Crash Squad Urged

The jury recommended that a Crash Squad be established and advocated 24 regular men, three extra men and for Crash Cars. Working in eight-hour shifts, the cars would be manned by two men each during both day and night shifts. The Crash Squad would investigate all accidents and include in their reports photographs of the scene, the cars, and the skid marks, testimony from witnesses and the drivers involved as well as any other pertinent information.

The jury recommended that a Street Traffic Commission be created, consisting of representatives of the Police Department, the Public Services Commission, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, the Chief Justice of The Traffic Court, the Superintendent of Schools, the Board of Awards, the Bureau of Highways, the Baltimore Safety Council and possibly others.

New Tests for Drivers Registration

The jury said it’s not accomplishing any useful purpose. New physical examinations of all drivers were recommended. The jury suggested that an Assistant State Attorney be assigned permanently to Traffic Court as a legal advisor to the police.

The Justices of the Peace of the Traffic Court, the jury said, should be empowered by law to impound driving licenses of persons convicted of serious violations. The Justices of The Peace, the report continued, should be raised to full Judgeship, give their entire time to the Traffic Court, and receive a salary of one half that giving judges in the Supreme Bench for Baltimore City.

Would Eliminate “Fixing”

Also recommended was a triplicate tag system to prevent “Fixing.”

Concerning “Smoke Hounds,” the report explained that these addicts of denatured alcohol are habitually being arrested, either for vagrancy or for more serious offenses. To ease this burden on the taxpayer, the report suggested a law which would forbid the sale of denatured alcohol for other than commercial purposes.

Among the laws recommended by the jury to curve syphilis were ones authorizing isolation of persons infected who refused to undergo treatment; requiring the medical examination of persons whom state or local health authorities have reasonable grounds to suspect; prohibiting advertisement of remedies accept to the medical profession; providing for examination of those about to become married.

African American Police Suggested

In recommending African American Police officers to work African American communities, the report said this might aid in securing the immediate cooperation of the African American community in a kind of crime prevention program. Such action, the report said, might do much to further cooperation of African Americans with the police.

Both the City Jail and the Penitentiary are overcrowded, the report said, and in need of many added facilities. As an economy measure, the report suggests that all of the old buildings in the Penitentiary plant should be demolished and that the State should sell the pen to the City for use after reconstruction as a modern jail.

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1929 traffic system
Baltimore's New Traffic Engineer


The Sun (1837-1987); Jun 20, 1937; pg. 78

Baltimore’s New Traffic Engineer

 Tomorrow Wallace L. Brown Starts Simplifying the Street Tangle

By Keith Wyatt

Tomorrow morning a new member of the Baltimore Police Department will walk into the police administration building and hang up his hat just long enough to orient himself and map his future course with his superiors and collaborators. Then, armed with the Lance of special training, he will go out to tilt with a formidable foe – Baltimore’s tangle traffic.

Nine months of intensive study with the nation’s best-known traffic experts have given Wallace L Perry of Braun, a former member of the engineering staff of the city’s Bureau of mechanical electrical service, with a degree of the traffic engineer. Sent to Harvard Bureau for street traffic’s research by the sun papers last fall, he has received instruction for men recognized as leaders in his young profession, which is filling a big gap between the civil engineering which builds streets and the police authority that enforces traffic laws on them.

Recently Mr. Braun came home for a few days holiday – a businessman’s holiday, during which most of his time was spent in cruising about the city, sizing up some of the problems he will be called upon to solve and planning some of the recommendations he will make to his superiors out of his store of knowledge.

He entertains no belief that Baltimore’s traffic snarls can be unraveled without some radical changes in the rules governing Streets parking and traffic at certain notoriously bad intersections, in true routes, in stop-go light controls and an accident investigation, and is naturally encouraged by the City Council’s recent steps towards cooperation with the police department.

But eager as he is to try his wings, the traffic engineer – to – appear to be imbued with a sense of caution that may stand him in good stead. Soberly he looks ahead at his new job and as to specific details Admits: “I don’t know just how I shall operate. So much depends on the full cooperation not only the entire police department but other city departments and civic organizations as well. It will take some months to develop a working plan whereby the city can begin to show a profit on the talents that have been given me.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Braun is not wholly lacking in the program. Subject to the approval of his superiors, his first efforts will be toward the organization and the establishment of a liaison between all groups primarily interested in the safe and expeditious movement of traffic. Beyond that, he hopes to apply much of his knowledge to the many conditions that govern traffic behavior. Already holding a degree in electrical engineering (bachelor of engineering, Johns Hopkins, 1926), he has added a full understanding of traffic signals and other control mechanisms. Grounded, too, in civil engineering, he now has gained a wider knowledge of the effects of Street plan, condition and arrangement on traffic movement. In addition to these things, he has assimilated a store of miscellaneous information, mostly hard bought by other cities that have made credible records in their attacks on the traffic problem.

“I would like to dispel any notion that I am coming in here to “run” traffic,” the engineer said, “I have just hired the help of a special sort. The traffic division knows more than I will ever know about the enforcement of traffic laws; the public works department was building streets before I was born. But I have learned a lot about those things that influence the rapid and safe movement of traffic, and I believe I have a lot that both of these departments can use.”

One of Mr. Braun’s earliest endeavors will be to organize an adversary committee composed of both official and civic representatives. He reports that cities that have made some of the best records in traffic have had such boards to advise with the traffic engineer. As he visualizes it, the committee would be made up of a high emissaries of the police, public works and educational departments, ex officio, and of representatives of the Safety Council, automobile clubs, mass transportation systems, taxi and trucking interests, retail merchants Association, and Baltimore Association of Commerce, Commission on city planning, the city solicitor’s office and the real estate board.

“Such a committee would represent the views and experience of every classification of traffic,” the engineer said, “form of four I have watched the progress of the mayor's traffic committee in drafting a program of segregation of rail and freewheel movement.

The committee, headed by Preston D. Callum, of the Safety Council, has served to show what can be accomplished when a big, interested group seeks, and fines, a common line on which to proceed toward worthwhile ends.

“I hear with regret that the Callum committee has asked that it be disbanded. I would like to work with that group, but if it does break up I sure hope that another may be formed on the same sound lines”

A special interest to Mr. Braun is the committee’s study of the “hundred worst intersections” in the city, made some time ago with relief labor. While no specific recommendations were made for correction of dangers at these intersections, the data, Mr. Brown believes, will form the basis for some remedial action, if cross-section studies can be made to bring them up to date.

The engineer hopes that he may embark at once on a broad survey of the city’s traffic and the problems associated with it. From this reconnaissance he believes he can set his own course, looking for sound recommendations for improvement. It is necessary, too, he says, to determine what can be done within the resources of the department, reported being scanty in comparison with cities of similar size.

Mr. Braun is cautious on the timing of traffic signals and their lack of coordination that causes many snarls during busy hours in the city. He points out that the “mixed traffic” of streetcars and freewheel vehicles on every street in the business section makes coordination practically impossible in some places – a condition that will be rectified to some extent as the Streetcar real routing plan of the mayor's traffic committee goes forward.

Under this plan, most of the rail movement will be confined to certain “streetcar streets,” leaving other arteries entirely to freewheel vehicles.

Asked what he would do with so-called “wave systems” one St. Paul Cathedral streets, Mr. Braun said he has had no opportunity to familiarize himself with the mechanism and, therefore, cannot now judge to what further extent it may be adapted to the changing needs of traffic.

“In many cities, the timers are changes so that longer portions of the cycle are devoted to the heaviest traffic at Rush speak,” he explained, “I am in no position yet to say what can be done here. The police have had a difficult problem, and to meet it good equipment is needed. I do not know, of course, was of the city has such equipment.”

What did Mr. Braun sink of new bypasses for through traffic? He shook his head. “I can’t discuss that with you,” he said. “Adequate bypasses to relieve the busier sections of a load of transient traffic are important to any city. I was much interested in reading of the studies of the mayor's committee which, while it has advanced no specific recommendations, at least outlined several possible routes that might be developed, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and province all have exceptionally fine bypasses that are well worth study. Perhaps such routes can be found here; I don’t know.” Well, what about limited ways – those express routes with no cross traffic? The engineer shrugged his shoulders. “Best way in the world to cut congestion and move traffic rapidly out of the business section, but they are expensive,” he declared. “Some cities say they cannot afford them; others that they cannot, in the light of their traffic problem, afford to be without them. For my present distance, I do not see any signs of an aroused public opinion that would bring them to Baltimore. As a matter of fact, I have had no opportunity to even find out whether the city needs them yet, or whether other expedients might do for the time.”

Parking, then? And Mr. Braun any ideas on how to solve this pressing problem of Baltimore’s narrow streets? Again he was wary. “I have no right to talk about that,” he explained. “No city has “solved” is parking problems yet. Speaking generally, traffic engineers look to the day when street parking of automobiles can be abolished; when all Street space can be used for its original purpose – to move traffic. They are convinced that it is poor economy to use expensive paved surfaces for dead storage when other space can be found and that is cheaper, allowing cities, in effect, to broaden their streets by two full lanes. Someday we may come to it, but just now I cannot speak with any authority on Baltimore’s parking problem.”

Mr. Braun conceives the first need of any traffic engineer to be a “good set of traffic eyes” – that is, an efficient set of records. Particularly does he deem accident reporting a necessity in any intelligent approach to street and highway safety?

“If you know where accidents are happening, you can find out what to do about them,” he remarked. “Whether it be an enforcement job, a matter of lighting, the need for signals or signs to be removed or physical hazards, they also up in records properly capped.”

He believes, also, as do most other engineers of his calling, that every city and state should have a special investigation of traffic accidents, just as they have special investigations of other violations of the public safety. He is convinced of that accident investigation squads take the guesswork out of safety efforts, bring law violators to justice and gardeners and people from injustices often sustained to half hazards dealing with accident cases. The moral of fact on the public is good, he thinks, and, besides, such procedures improve records so greatly that the whole problem may be attacked more intelligently.

Before the Baltimore engineer’s eyes are ever the “Three E’s” of traffic movement, control, and safety – Education, Engineering and Enforcement – set up by the traffic engineering fraternity as its guideline. Each is a separate and distinct function, he says, but all three must be correlated to assure a proper approach to safe, sane and rapid traffic.

Mr. Braun was born in Hyattsville 33 years ago and came to Baltimore with his family when he was six. He was educated in the Baltimore public schools, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute at Johns Hopkins University. After his graduation at Johns Hopkins in 1926 he joined the technical staff of the Consolidated Gas, Electric Light, and Power Company, being assigned to steam stations. In 1929 he resigned to take a position in a Bureau of mechanical electrical service of the city department of public works. He served an adversary and executive capacity on electrical and combustion engine projects of the city until shortly before he was sent to Harvard Bureau.

Last summer, recognizing the need of the city for a highly specialized engineer to handle traffic problems the Sun paper offered to provide a man of police Commissioner Gaither’s choice with a year’s scholarship to the Harvard Bureau for street traffic research. Commissioner Gaither, believed that, because of high educational requirements in the Harvard graduate school, the candidate should be selected from the engineering, rather than the police, staff of the city, conferred with Mayor Jackson and the chief engineer Bernard L. Crozier as the man best suited by former training to undertake the work, the Commissioner Gaither prepared to make room for him in his own department when he should have qualified as a traffic engineer.

With the expiration of general Gaither’s third term of office two weeks ago Commissioner William P. Lawson succeeded. One of his first pledges was of special attention to the city’s traffic needs, which he recognized as large and numerous and urgent. After discussing the project with inspector Atkinson, head of the traffic force, he expressed a lively interest in the coming of Mr. Braun, and confidence that the combination of theory and practice within the Police Department would lead to the great betterment of the city’s traffic conditions in the near future.

Mr. Braun’s final dissertation at Harvard, completed just before the finishing of his euro special training, it is interesting to note, was on “organization of municipal traffic engineering offices.” During the course of his studies, he was given, in addition to a wealth of theoretical training, actual engineering work in the field. He observed, during his studies, traffic engineering technique of cities with best records of traffic deficiency; he with his fellow students, made actual traffic studies in and around Cambridge and Boston, and he accompanied accident investigation squads in the unraveling of cases, aiding in his work himself.

He has studied the traffic engineering methods of Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee and Buffalo at first hand. He feels now that his training, under Dr. Miller McClintock, probably the best-known of America’s traffic engineers, and other specialists of the fraternity, has fitted him to undertake his duties here in Baltimore.

Foot Traffic Division, in front of the Headquarters building
October 24, 1940
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Urges Standard Traffic Signals

27 November 1927

Police Commissioner Suggests a System for use in All Cities

Would aid walkers

Gaither favors yellow

At crossings for those on foot

Adoption of a standardized system for automatic traffic control was suggested yesterday by Charles D Gaither, Police Commissioner, in discussing the variation of timing and manner of operation of signals and other cities of the country to regulate the movement of traffic.

“If this plan were adopted, the motorist would soon catch on to the scheme and would get the fullest advantage of driving by the signal,” he said. “They would become so well acquainted with it that when they drove into another city, they would not hold up traffic, as they tend to do now when forced to stop to puzzle over the meaning of the lights.”

Suggest national movement

To bring about the standardization plan, Mr. gator suggests that automobile or traffic associations be formed in all cities and that the groups be represented at a national meeting. New ideas about traffic lights could be exchanged at such meetings, and remedies for defects and signal systems in different cities could be suggested, he pointed out.

“Not that one specified plan should be carried out in every minute detail, but the general principle of a certain plan,” Mr. Gaither explained. “By this, I mean the color of the lights, the timing and the construction of the signals and the way in which it is mounted.”

Disapproves New York plan

Mr. Geiser said he did not believe; there was a city in the United States that was satisfied with the way it signals were operating.

The two light signal in use in New York is not approved by Mr. Gaither. He said he had found that motorists and pedestrians become confused where there is no interval light in the signal.

The New York signals have only the red and green lights, with a five-second interval for traffic to clear up between flashes

Mr. Gaither expressed the hope that a yellow light meaning “go” for pedestrians would be established in Baltimore. He said that as far as he could see, that would be the only possible way to make the crossing at intersections safe for pedestrians.

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Photo courtesy of Nancy Crane-Bentz
Police Officer Eugene A. Crane

seen here in a professional hand-tinted photograph in 1953 upon his completion of the police academy. He served in various assignments and is pictured on the Motor Unit and the Mounted Unit sections. He retired in 1975 with 22 years of dedicated service to the Police Department and Citizens of Baltimore City.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Patrolman Ray Miles badge 242 worked Foot Traffic Unit for 16 years 1935-1951 Kiosk_South_Lombard_1.jpg

 Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Kiosk located at South St. and Lombard St. where the old News American Co. was located.

The traffic control device was decommissioned in 1951 when Patrolman Raymond Miles retired.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Patrolman Raymond K. Miles worked in the Traffic Unit for 16 years
Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

 Kiosk located at South St. and Lombard St. where the old News American Co. was located. Note the old Baltimore Streetcar which was headed to City Hall in a snowstorm. This Kiosk was worked for many years by Patrolman Raymond K. Miles.

Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.
Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.
Patrolman Raymond K. Miles served in the Baltimore Police Department from April 19, 1926, to July 5, 1951



sem·a·phore [sémm? fàwr] n 1. system of signaling: a system for sending messages using hand-held flags that are moved to represent letters of the alphabet 2. mechanical signaling device: a signaling device for sending information over distances using mechanically operated arms or flags mounted on a post, especially on a railroad Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

 Officer Raymond K. Miles, Sr. worked his post directing traffic from the Kiosk at South and Lombard Sts. The hot muggy Baltimore dog days of summer trying to keep cool proved to be a problem. Patrolman Miles soon learned a way to keep cool. He discovered that taking the leaf from a head of cabbage that had been soaked in ice water, placing it on top of his head and covering it with his hat., Patrolman Miles remained "Kool as a cabbage". This is only one of the many things that Baltimore Policemen soon learned to make their working conditions more bearable.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Actuated Traffic Control Box


   Memorial plaque to Officer Raymond K. Miles, Sr. showing all of his original police equipment, which is kept by his son, Raymond Miles, Jr. as a reminder of his dad's service to the City Of Baltimore and The Baltimore Police Department.



1942 Packard Clipper A.I.D. Unit
Officer U.B.Huff
10 meter maids
Courtesy Sgt Dull Mrs. Shirly Kurtz one of the first Meter maids hired in 1961
for the Baltimore Police department's Meter Maids
Click on the following line to be taken to our Meter Maid History



Sep 20, 1938

A Staff Correspondent
The Sun (1837-1989); pg. 24


Picked men from three states enroll in classes and College Park

Test lectures fill first day’s session of two-week curriculum

College Park, Maryland, September 19 – with rain – worst roads and strikes holding down the attendance, and 31 picked policeman, including 10 from Baltimore, assembled here today for two weeks of study on traffic congestion and accidents.

Seated in the University of Maryland School of art and culture Auditorium, just off the Washington Boulevard, please from three states and the District of Columbia pencils to them papers and took notes and lectures.

They heard W. L. Drawn, traffic engineer of the Baltimore Police Department, asserting that the hope of less city congestion lies in the judicious use of one-way streets.

No parking laws scouted

No parking laws will not eliminate loading and unloading, he said, and may even tend to reduce the city’s commerce. The expense of other methods is prohibitive, he added.

Kirk A. Keegan, of the national safety Council, Chicago, told the policeman that solution of the problem of the “accident – prone driver” is an important factor in reducing accidents. The car and the highway cause only 20% of the accidents, he declared.

As members of the University’s traffic officers training school, conducted by the school of engineering, the students had been chosen by the police departments to master the three “E’s” of traffic control – education, enforcement, and engineering – with a view to reducing accidents in their communities.

Brows are wrinkled

Browse was wrinkled often during the first days' session. A police sergeant from Washington cast a perplexed I and a neighbor from Greenwich Connecticut, during the explanation of medical friction; the 100 questions adaptability test caused many puzzled expressions.

Just as often a good-natured just brought laughter to all commerce, as when notes were compared revealing opposite interpretations of the teachers remarked.

With all many problems were discussed, everyone weathered the examination and all were receptive to five hours of lectures on the functions of a good traffic officer and the value of the records that take so much time and patience to make it.

Strike Detains Students

Of the 31 in attendance, several from Washington, two from to get, one from Delaware and the remainder from various parts of Marilyn. A contingent from Wilmington Delaware was unable to come because of a truck driver strike.

Dr. S. S. Steinberg, Dean of the engineering school, welcomed the men cited that 3000 persons are injured or killed daily traffic accidents and congratulated Sgt. Clarence Forrester, head of the Baltimore accident investigation division, for the manner in which he had organized the course.

Inspector Stephen G. Nelson, the acting police Commissioner of Baltimore, was unable to appear and was represented by Capt. Henry C Kasie, head of the traffic division.

Work is reviewed

Capt. Kasie reviewed the history of his department (Baltimore City Police) from its founding in 1905, when the men carried canes to guide traffic, through the days when the traffic division was heralded as the “beauty squad” because of the requisite six-foot height of its members to the present day, when there are 239 men. Major E. F. Monday shower, superintendent of the Maryland state police, whose department has five students in the horse, spoke of the necessity for strict attention and of the responsibility placed on those attending.

School officially began one Sgt. Forrester took the chair. He cautioned the men not to oversleep in the morning, and to take notes without assistance and in their own words.

“Exams during the course,” he said, “will not be judged on your handwriting.” This brought smiles all around. “But I don’t want any of you to turn in papers with identical answers, and don’t for made by jumbling the words around a bit.”

Before lunch Sgt. Forrester passed out the adaptability test, to be finished in 50 minutes. An anxious circle of large men surrounded him, “I’m alright and remembering things, but kind of poor at putting them on paper,” said one huge fella with a bald head.

Sample of questions

“There never was an exam that could jump up and bite a man, or kill him, or even knock them down.” The Sgt. reassured the class, “I just want your reasoning.”

The men began their papers. They found questions like “What causes lower taxi fares?” – With the discontinuance of streetcars, competition among taxies, goals forbidding the operation of large buses, conventions and fares etc. were no parking laws as the five possibilities for the correct answer.

Several of the men were finished the test in the allotted time in a few obtained 100%, marks. This was reported to be an unusual figure.

A Practical Picture

The Washington Boulevard separated the men from the In where lunch was served. In crossing, everyone became conscious of the great traffic problem as vehicles have skidded by. In front of the inn, the wrecking truck itself had been wrecked.

Mr. Braun spoke after a luncheon. He said the traffic control problem had become a reality with the advent of skyscrapers, having no provision for parking for office workers, and with the large increase in the speed and number of automobiles.

Sgt. Martin D. Brubaker, head of the accident prevention Bureau of the Maryland state police, reopened the classroom sessions. He described as a good traffic officer as a man with a “please – your – employer” attitude toward the citizen and recommended Dale Carnegie to the police as a first step toward needed psychology.

Keegan Last Speaker

Mr. Keegan, the last speaker, sympathized with the pupils for the first-day ordeal of a lecture course. Many of them had been working late the night before in their own police duties.

Speaking of the three “E’s” Mr. Keegan declared that they had made possible a 60%. A decrease in industrial accidents in the last 25 years. The same decrease with savings of more than 285,000 lives, could be made in traffic accidents, he said.

“There is plenty to be done in the two weeks,” said Sgt. Forrester.

“You’ll need plenty of midnight oil.”

First-aid – and remarking that a knowledge of simple first-aid was a necessity to the traffic officer. Sgt. Brubaker told of an accident near Baltimore three weeks ago. A small girl with a harmless looking cut under arm bled to death because no one thought to use a tourniquet.

Tunnel Vision – records are important in eliminating the bad driver element. Mr. Keegan said. He cited one man in Evanston Illinois who had been in 13 accidents. Records revealed that all these accidents had involved cars coming from his right. His glasses were found to hinder his vision from that side. In 18 months the van has not had an accident with the broader vision glasses.

Psychology – hotel clerks are taught to read your name upside down as you register, said Sgt. Brubaker, likewise, a good officer should learn the name of the driver he is questioning an address them by his name. “A man’s name is the sweetest thing in the English language to him. He will cooperate with you.”

Observant Police – Sgt. Brubaker ready with anecdotes told of an accident on the Eastern Shore. A small child had been killed by a motorist while riding a bicycle. The case was so flagrant and looked deliberate. A state policeman noticed the man was blinking his eyes. He was asked to read a large sign across the street. He could

Fair Treatment – a Baltimore jurist, said Sgt. Brubaker was tagged by a policeman for going, unavoidably through an amber light. The policeman seemed to take personal pleasure in prosecuting him. Later the same policeman appeared with a case before a magistrate – the same man. The magistrate dismissed the case, saying that on that occasion and on another many years ago, the policeman was not impartial




Traffic Seminar with Police Commissioner Robert Stanton



Off John L Weber 1954

Officer John L. Weber

Born September 29, 1919, and died on December 16, 1999, at age 80. He was in the Baltimore City Fire Department stationed at #6 Truck in South Baltimore from 1947 until 1954. In 1954 he transferred to the police department until his retirement in 1966. He was assigned to Traffic for his entire tenure in the police department. He worked for both Capt. Klander and Lt. John Neussinger. Below, pictured is his retirement badge. His dedicated service Honored both the Baltimore Fire Department and the Baltimore Police Department. John Weber, the Son of John L. Weber and Nephew of Elmer Weber provided this information about his family of dedicated Police Officers. John Weber is a retired Baltimore County Police Officer with 22 years of service, he was shot on a traffic stop. Now he is an investigator with the Baltimore City States Attorney's Office.

Off John Weber retired badge
1928 - February 22, 1928, The first vehicle actuated control was tried out in Baltimore. (To the best of our knowledge this was the first vehicle actuated signal insulation in the world.) - This was an automatic control were a brake attachment and two funnels placed on poles on the right-hand side of the cross street, ordinary telephone transmitters being installed inside the funnels. These transmitters being connected to the sound relay, which when disturbed by noise, for example, the tooting of horns, blowing of whistles, or the sound of voices would actuate the sound relay, releasing the break on the automatic control permitting the motor to run. This would change the signal which had been green on the main street to amber, then to read, permitting the side street traffic to move out on the green. It would automatically reset to red. This device was invented here in Baltimore. - This control would always restore itself back to the main street green, then the break would set and the signal would remain green on the main street until disturbed again by sound. Several of this type were installed, one being at Charles Street and Cold Spring Lane, another at Charles and Belvedere Avenue

Elmer Weber


Medal Of Honor Medal Recipient”

Patrolman Elmer Weber

4 Charges Lodged, Abated by Death


3 Earlier Offenses Laid to Youth Shot by Police

October 15, 1951, Copied from the original newspaper article

Four burglaries, robbery, and theft charges had been placed last night against a 17-year old East Baltimore youth who was killed by a policeman early yesterday during an attempted holdup.

All the charges were marked on the docket at the Eastern Police station as “Abated by Death.”

Herbert Finnerty, a former inmate of the Maryland Training School for Boys was shot to death by Patrolman Elmer Weber of the Eastern District, who interrupted a holdup at a fruit stand at Eastern Avenue and Clinton Street.

Reported Beating Watchman

Patrolman Weber reported Finnerty was beating the 77-year-old night watchman, Joseph Thanner, 3100 block of Foster Avenue, on the head with a pistol. Mr. Thanner who was struck about fifteen times and received multiple head lacerations remains in the City Hospital yesterday. Patrolman Weber reported Finnerty wheeled, a pistol in hand and said “Your next, you flatfoot.” The policeman drew his service pistol and fired one shot. The youth fell mortally wounded.

Burglary And Theft

The following three charges were placed against Finnerty last night.

1. Burglary at a grill in the 6500 block of Riverview Avenue on October 6, with the theft of $200.00.

2. Theft of $88.00 from his mother, Mrs. Margaret Finnerty at their home in the 1900 block of Fleet Street.

3. Theft of $34.00 September 29 from Mrs. Carrie Cooper of the 900 block South Streeper Street at her home.

Charged with Holdup

Earlier Finnerty had been charged with the holdup, beating and attempted robbery of Mr. Thanner.Medal_of_Homor_Off_Elmer_W_Weber.JPG

Patrolman Weber was charged with causing Finnerty’s death and released in the custody of Captain August A. Gribbon, Eastern District Commander, pending a hearing.


The “Medal Of Honor” awarded to Patrolman Elmer Weber for his Heroism in the face of grave danger for the above incident.




Above and below are the Official Commendation records of Police Officer Elmer Weber indication the award "MEDAL OF HONOR" and a "BRONZE STAR" A true decorated Hero of the Baltimore Police Department, his Service Honored the Department and the City of Baltimore




Driving While Intoxicated




Car_accident.JPG tg.jpg




1959 Ford A.I.D. T/C 5


1959 Ford A.I.D. cars


Officer Eugene Crane shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy




Both serving in the Community Services Section


Police Officer Pat Kirby 


Police Officer Bob Crall



Officer Richard Freeman holding a radar gun working a traffic detail 

Sergeant George T. Owens working "RADAR" on Wabash Ave. at Northern Pkwy.



Larry Yinger
Photo courtesy Officer John Emrick

Officer Larry Yinger served TIS for many years and finally left after 24 1/2 years. He was the Chief of Woodland Beach PD for about 5 years and now he is an Anne Arundel County Deputy Sheriff

Photo courtesy Officer John Emrick

Sergeant Paul Blair and Officer John Emrick investigating an accident


Left to right  Officer Brian Curran, President William Clinton, Officer Bravett Bull and Eric Dawson. 



Officer Norm Stamp addressing traffic roll call. Norman started sometime in 1965 or sooner.



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. 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

  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.

Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll



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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 Retired or Deceased Officers and anything that may help us to Preserve the History and Proud Traditions of this agency.
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