BPD Traffic Investigation Services

BPD BANNER TIS 

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POLICE12

ACCIDENT DETECTIVES

April 4, 1938

Finding the "why" of automobile accidents before the inauguration of the Accident Investigation Bureau of the Baltimore Police Department was a guesswork proposition. But, in the two months that the three "crash cars", of that division-still white and shiny have been on the streets, finding the mathematics, chemistry and bio-chemistry, taken on the dignity of science. Like as not, any member of the department in the course of his daily duties will make use of physics, mathematics, chemistry and bio-chemistry, psychology, medicine and human anatomy. For good measure, he'll throw in a smattering of law, engineering and art.

Men Trained

In two Schools The men got their intensive and varied schooling at two schools-at the University of Maryland and at police headquarters here under Sergeant Clarence O. Forrester, who now commands the bureau. It is that training which resulted in the squad's being commended for the thoroughness of their evidence by all three Traffic Court magistrates. For the men have more than merely a passing acquaintance with the science they use in their investigations. Under the subject of bio-chemistry, for instance, they have learned how to identify the types of human blood and saliva, and they know how to preserve specimens for further experiments. The officer in the crash car knows his mathematics-especially his trigonometry-and he uses it in determining the relative positions and paths of the cars involved in an accident after he has made his steel tape-measure readings. He uses a decelerometer to test the brakes of cars in a crash, and with its readings along with his mathematical, calculations, his knowledge of the laws of moving bodies, of negative acceleration, of force and of gravity, the officer can often reconstruct the accident without even asking any information of the drivers of the vehicles. Psychology helps the men to more easily approach drivers and witnesses-etiquette enters, too-and the officers know the rudiments of human anatomy, as taught to them by a doctor and the different types of bone breaks and of injuries in order that I they may better administer first aid. Art and engineering enter with the diagramming of the accident. Moulage work-the making of impressions-is sometimes necessary to preserve tire tread marks in hit-run cases.

Knows Chemistry And Law

The investigating officer understands the physics that governs the working, of his camera and the chemistry used to develop pictures of accidents taken by himself. He knows a good deal of law in order to properly present his case in court, and he has been taught what is legal and what is illegal evidence. Besides this training, two members of the squad have bachelor's degrees, says Sergeant Forrester. And he concludes, "I could talk all afternoon on the things my men studied. It was an intensive training course-I didn't let up on them for even one minute. The sergeant himself expects to get a degree within a year. He attended Northwestern University traffic school in 1935 and again in 1937. This training resulted in a commendation on the thoroughness of the squad's evidence by the Traffic Court Magistrates William F. Laukaitis, William J. Stocksdale and George Eckhard. With three cars at his command now, Sergeant Forrester hopes eventually to have ten. As it is, one car covers a beat extending from Pratt street to North avenue between Charles street and Patterson Park avenue, the, second covers an equal area west of Charles street and the third takes the territory north of North avenue between the Belair road and Charles Street. The cars are sent off their beats when necessary and the police say they can be at the scene of any accident within three minutes. There are sixteen men in the division. they work eight-hour shifts day and night.

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THE PATROL STARTS - The three crash cars leave the Police Building, two of them begin a day of duty The third cruises at night. The department wants seven more
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COURTESY OFFICER JAMES McCARTIN
ALARM-- A crash, a radio call and Baltimore's new machinery for investigating traffic accidents goes into motion. Officer Charles P. Trainor, of the crash squad, took this one.
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COURTESY OFFICER JAMES McCARTIN
LABORATORY-- Brake tests are among the first steps in accident detection as well as prevention. This decelermeter, used for the purpose, is carried in each crash car.

They can Fingerprint a Wreck

Seven Sciences Help Police Learn Who Hit What and Why

Crash Squad Officers Know Law, Bio-Chemistry And Mathematics
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COURTESY OFFICER JAMES McCARTIN

Proof, Inch by Inch-- Officers Manson and Trainor measure the distance from the spot where a car jumped the curb to a window it smashed at Lafayette and Payson.

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Wreck-- Tracing responsibility for such wrecks as this was haphazard work a year ago. Today it is a science.

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DRAWING-- The officers learn something of art as well as chemistry, mathematics, psychology and medicine. Officer James H. Manson charts this diagram of an accident here.

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THE FINISHING TOUCH-- Completing his investigation, Manson photographs the scene of the accident.

BPD-LINE

T.I.S. Investigations
Officer Tony Petralia
Tony Petralia TIS
 
 

Tony Petralia started as a cadet on the Hot Desk in 1972. Within a month, he along with Jim Shelly, Retired Sergeant (now an R.N.) were sent to the FBI Training Academy for basic and Advanced latent fingerprinting. Upon their return to Baltimore they were tasked with fingerprinting dead bodies at the morgue. When he turned 21 in 1974, he began Entrance Level Training then assigned to the Eastern District until he was transferred to CID in 1978. From there he went to T.I.S. in 1980. While in T.I.S. he attended many specialized schools. He was also in the first class of DRE's for the department in 1990. He retired in 1994. He then went to work for law firms reconstructing accidents. This became much more demanding than what he first thought. He didn't retire to work harder. In 2004 he enrolled in college full-time while working as a Court Security Officer at the Federal Court in Baltimore. As of this writing he is one class, 3 credits from graduating with a B.S. degree in Administration of Criminal Justice.

His desire is to teach criminal justice at the Community College level.

LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERIENCE_

UPDATE: 2010, Tony has received his BS degree. Good job Tony, we are all proud of you.

1972 - 1973 Identification Section Police Cadet

1974 - 1978 Eastern District Uniformed Patrol Officer

1978 - 1980 Criminal Investigation Division Detective

Investigated Narcotics and Child Pornography matters. Performed Court ordered electronic wiretaps.

1980 - 1994 Special Operations Division Traffic Section, - Investigation Unit Investigate and reconstruct fatal and serious vehicular collisions. Provide causation analysis and place criminal charges. - Provide expert court testimony in both criminal and civil prosecutions.
1994 - 2000 Accident Investigator-Reconstructionist - Investigate all matters pertaining to automobile accidents, workers compensation claims, medical malpractice claims and other miscellaneous matters. Interviewing and obtaining witness statements. On-site documenting of physical evidence and photography.
2000 - 2001 Investigator Maryland Insurance Administration - Investigate all Property and Casualty matters pertaining to Insurance Agents licensed in the State of Maryland.
2002- Present Court Security Officer Garmatz Federal Courthouse - Protect the general population, property and family of the courthouse.
LAW ENFORCEMENT EDUCATION
09/05/90 - 09/13/90 U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC - Drug Evaluation and Classification - National Certification as a Drug Recognition Expert

07/26/90 - 07/27/90 U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC  - Preliminary training in drug evaluation and classifications
09/11/89 - 09/15/90 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - Commercial Vehicle Accident Investigations - 40-hour technical course in the investigation and reconstruction of commercial vehicle and articulated collisions
05/22/90 - 05/26/90 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - Motorcycle Accident Investigations - 40 technical course in the investigation and reconstruction of motorcycle collisions
08/29/88 - 09/02/88 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - DWI Enforcement, NHTSA Approved - 40-hour course in advanced DWI enforcement techniques
08/17/87 - 08/28/87 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - Traffic Accident Reconstruction - 80-hour technical accident course. Required the reconstruction and preparation of detailed causation reports.
10/07/85 - 10/18/85 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - Advanced Accident Investigations - 80-hour course in all phases of advanced accident investigations.
09/30/85 - 10/04/85 University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida - DWI Instructors Course - Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Certified
40-hour course in the identification of intoxicated drivers and the effects of alcohol impairment in the body. National certification as an Instructor in Horizontal gaze Nystagmus
03/27/84 - 03/30/84 University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland - Vehicular Homicide/ DWI Conference
01/15/73 - 01/19/73 Federal Bureau of Investigation - Advanced Latent Fingerprint Techniques - 40 hour course
01/08/73 - 01/12/73 Federal Bureau of Investigation - Fingerprint Classification - Collage Education 2004-present Mountain State University, Beckley, West Virginia - Enrolled full-time in their B.S. Program for a degree in Administration of Criminal Justice - 2010 Tony has received his BS degree. Congratulations Tony on a job well done.

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA

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This photo depicts the bond between public safety and nurses. This nurse was on her way home from Hopkins and stopped to help the boy who had been struck. Tony Petralia says "This is my favorite picture"

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTEST OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTEST OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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Departmental accident at the intersection of Monument Street and Kresson.  Officer Lauren Wilson (now Sgt.) was seriously hurt.  
It occurred in Aug 1981
1940s traffic officers investigating accident 1940s

Car accident
Baltimore Sun Collection

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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I-95 SB All that kept the car on the bridge was the bumper. The driver was ejected and DOA below the bridge

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
 <<<< WARNING >>>>

The following photographs are very graphic and may be disturbing to some. The photographs displayed, go to show the high demands and stress put on Police Officers who must work these accident scenes every day as a matter of duty.

The photos are of FATAL AND SERIOUS PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENTS

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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1983 accident on I-95. The drunk driver still wearing his security guard uniform was N/B on the S/B side of I-95. This occurred on the I-95 portion between Caton Ave. and I-395

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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Vehicles pinned under "GOD" truck

ACCIDENT LINE1

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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Under the bridge at Edison Hwy at Sinclair Lane. The deceased escaped from hospital custody that morning.  The officer walking towards the camera is Sergeant Michael Harding, the one with gray hair in the backgroung is Officer Charles Klein. The officer looking towards the camera with the glasses is Officer Neil Sewell, next to him is Officer Timothy Murray. The Officer taking pictures is Officer Tony Petralia. (Information from Officer Charles Klein)

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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This accident on Rogers Ave in a 25 MPH zone.

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

Homicide

Call received to Reisterstown Road, NWD to investigate a signal32. I believe it is obvious this is not an accident. We later learned that this was the result of a gambling debt. They held him under the tire and released the jack on his head when he couldn't pay his debt

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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Fatal that occurred on Erdman Avenue. Since this occurred in a 35 MPH zone speed might have been
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MSP HELICOPTER FATAL
BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY TONY PETRALIA

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Maryland State Police Helicopter Fatal Crash Jan.19, 1986 Leakin Park, Cpl. May and TFC Poetzman were returning to Frederick when they encountered heavy fog and attempted to return to Shock Trauma. Two troopers who lost their lives for doing what they did best…Saving the lives of others. Very traumatic scene involving fellow Law Enforcement Officers

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BALTIMORE POLICE PHOTO COURTESY OFFICER TONY PETRALIA
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Signal 32 Departmental Tragically involving one of our own

Officer Robert Alexander was killed Sep.2,1986 while in the process of pushing several citizens out of the way of the Nissan truck at North Bend at Frederick Rd. Extremely trying time when it involves one of your own. Officer Alexander died a true Professional Hero, placing his own life above those of innocent citizens. He never knew that this day, he would be called to make the “Ultimate Sacrifice” Be reminded that traffic accidents are causing the most extreme dangers to our officers today. Let this tragedy serve as an inspiration to us all of just how dangerous Police work can be.

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COURTESY RETIRED SERGEANT NICK CAPRINO

 

 

 

Tony Petralia
POLICE INFORMATION

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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 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. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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NOTICE

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 IMPROPERLYThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department.

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222