15 49.0138 8.38624 1 0 4000 1 https://baltimorecitypolicedept.org 300 0

Communications Division

In September of 1931, two years before Radio Car Communications would go into effect Commissioner Gaither would approach the Board of Estimates with this idea, here’s a Sun paper Article talking about the plans

Baltimore sun paper 27 September 1931


by Avery M’Bee

Quick communication with far-flung forces always has been a most pressing police problem. When the Baltimore Police Department a decade ago pioneered the all-around call system of box lights, it was thought that the final word had been spoken; lights at police boxes flashed, and within a few minutes patrolman on every beat were listening to instructions from headquarters. At that time the Baltimore Police Department or proud hosts to numerous official visitors who studied the system with admiration and return to their cities convinced that the police millennium had been reached. Another of the city’s “Famous First” had appeared and almost every city and village in the country adopted the idea.
radio cars 2


But the millennium had not been reached. Because the criminal is among our most progressive citizens, police officials have come to realize that the second now is just as important in emergencies as the minute was when they led the way with the citywide call box recall lights. The last word now is radio communication with a squadron of fast patrol cars always on the alert and fully prepared to handle any emergency. It was not given the Baltimore to develop this system upon the foundation she had laid, but police Commissioner Charles D Gaither is making a definitive move to obtain this ultra modern method of split-second communication, which he believes will discourage criminal activity because of its ability to pick up a trail almost immediately. The Commissioner has petitioned the board of estimates for funds with which to equip a fleet of cars and to install and headquarters a shortwave broadcasting set. Accounts of the work of the radio equipped squad cars and other cities are nothing short of marvelous. Stories of told of stolen cards recovered before their motors are really warm, of criminals caught in the very act, of holdups frustrated rather than a then.


If there is one element that stands out more remarkably than any other in successful crimes in the last few years, it is time. Your modern Fallon has developed a sense of timing that has given him a tremendous advantage, and he is used the latest products of science in making his getaway. He robs or murders coldly, with full realization that so many minutes remain before police can be notified and can pick up his trail. The most successful crimes have been the boldest yet not necessarily the most reckless. Sneak thievery pays small dividends and safe braking is tedious. Broad daylight a crowded street to furnish plenty of confusion, a fat payroll and a get-away well planned is the favorite set up of the modern malefactor.


But time is the outstanding hope of success. The holdup man now must reckon with a precision which police believed to be well-nigh impossible. He must break through a mobile line all while information about him is being spread even as he is trying to penetrate the cordon. Buffalo recently instituted the radio equipment patrol cars, the writer interviewed police Commissioner Austin Roches, who declared that amazing reports come to him every day of the works of his radio squad.


Among the first cases to be handled on the inaugural day of the Buffalo system was that of a wife beater. It is recounted that the woman, badly mauled and mangled to reach a telephone remove the Hulk and call for police the telephone operator pass the information along to headquarters, immediately it was placed on the air. The nearest radio car turned quickly into the alley behind the house just in time to see the man descending a fire escape. Alarmed because his wife had called into the telephone, he had abandoned the assault to make good his escape. The radio squad was waiting for him when his foot touched the bottom step.


I could cite numerous cases of this kind.” Said Commissioner Roches. “They seem a little hard to believe, it is not difficult to understand how things of this sort happen. It must be remembered that are only delay in action is dependent upon the information we receive from the scene of the crime. At this extension the radio broadcast operator is “cut in” on all information. In any instant every patrol car in the city has the information” another incident of buffaloes and all Grove date was one of a housebreaking a neighbor made a report to headquarters and through the loudspeaker and the cars came these instructions, “squad car number three go to blank Street; man was seen entering store.” The car was less than a block from the address at the time. The driver slid to the curb while the others jumped from the car quickly covering all exits, they closed in and had corner deceived almost before he had time to begin his work. Every day, according to Commissioner Roches automobiles are reported stolen, their license number passed on to the radio squad cars and the culprit arrested before they have gone a dozen blocks. From Detroit and Chicago come reports of holdup men attacked before they even have time to start their getaway – taken with their loot and in the presence of those who witnessed the crime. “Take some of our own outstanding crimes, for instance.” Said Commissioner Gaither. “What chance with the Norse murders have had to scatter as they did? Suppose we had had the city covered with radio cars at that time. At the first tipoff of the nearest car would have been on its way at full speed to the scene, while all others would have increased their patrol rate and would have been on the alert for the bandits automobile. We would have been able to pour additional information into the cars as a came into us, while they were on the lookout for the bandits. As it happened, we round up that gang in time, but at what cost? “The same thing would have applied to the killing murders. The sunny born holdup and many other cases of murder and banditry that have stirred Baltimore. How quickly could we have frustrated the North Avenue bank holdups? One can well imagine how expeditiously the police could act on an automatic alarm if we were able to reach instantly a car load of armed men who are sure to be patrolling a short distance from the scene.


Arab men have done some remarkable work in apprehending criminals after staring crimes.” Mr. Gaither continued “in the cases mentioned only the highest praise is their lot. But think of the time and manpower the money that was spent in clearing up those cases! “I truly believe that the city would save a great deal of money with radio cars. More important than that, I think the criminals would be restrained by the knowledge that such a powerful weapon is being used against them.”


Our old Pioneer all around system is is good as it ever was. It is by no means out of date, for there are many things it can do now that are entirely out of the line of the radio quipped automobile. It is necessary for us to keep in constant touch with our patrolman: to give them information and instruction. It would work in splendid playing with the newer idea. But we need some means of swift communication with the force that can act on the second – that can meet an emergency when it arises and yet take care of routine duties as well.” – “One of our troubles now an emergency cases is that we cannot coordinate our efforts as we would like to. In case of a holdup or murder, armed men get the information over and all around and, not being sure how well the matter is being covered. They hurried to the scene from all directions. Being pulled from their beats when they might do more good to stay on them. In such cases everyone available is rushed to the scene. Often, when I get the information, I go myself not being sure that someone with power of direction is present to handle the matter.”


With radio cars week could be assured that the scene is covered in a matter of minutes; that other cars are on the lookout, and we would use all around to put all police eyes on the watch in their own belly wicks and thus any malefactor” Observation of the radio car system and other cities has shown not that it uses lies only in emergencies but that the cars can cover a multitude of routine duties door in the course of their patrol. Of course, their most conspicuous service has been in holdups, murders, robberies, riots and in recovering stolen cars, but they frequently are used to transmit important information in a hurry. To investigate complaints that would not interfere with their patrol and to serve as an additional link between headquarters and a patrolman on foot.


In other cities where the radio patrol cars are in use the services being extended greatly outside the corporate limits. State, county and neighboring town police are equipping their prow cars with radio to pick up broadcast from the larger centers. Buffalo for instance, sends out its information now to a dozen villages and to the state troopers on patrol of county roads. In this way and outer cordon is wrong and the evildoer has one more threat to face. The practice generally followed by police using the radio equipment automobiles is to divide the city and to tangent beats. Each car works in its outer circle until it receives instructions to follow up a happening within these bounds. If a crime has been committed. The other cars continue on their beats and faster time. Leaving the machine on the beat to rush to the spot and pick up the trail at the scene of the crime.


buffaloes Commissioner had some interesting remarks in this connection on the criminal and his getaway: “it’s almost impossible for men who committed a crime to proceed circumspectly while making a break” said he “involuntarily they put on speed, whether a foot or on wheels. Ordinarily a policeman thinks little of a car traveling above the legal rate” – summary drivers are a hurry. But in one of our motor squads has information about a felony just committed, it is immediately suspicious of any unusual haste. “In the swirl of traffic or in the crowds on the sidewalks the man in a hurry makes himself conspicuous immediately and he is some some quietly subject to close scrutiny. Our ability to disseminate information as soon as we get it right’s guilt on the speeding car or hasty feet.” An intermediate step between the all round call system and the radio equipped squad car was taken some time ago by the Baltimore Police Department when installed telephone typewriter in all of its police stations and at headquarters. With this method of inter-communication between all police concentration points, and operator at any point can post all districts immediately on happenings of unusual interests. The operator assisted the typewriter and writes out the information he has on hand. At the same instant the characters form on the sheet in front of him, they appear on typewriters in all the police stations. In this way follow-up data and corrections can be forwarded to all points at once, while replies or quarries are possible, since an operator at any receiving point may sit at his typewriter and convert his machine into ascending instrument


Telephone typewriter idea is being applied throughout the country and many officials believe that eventually the police of the entire country will be linked by this method. New York State is just completed a network by which all police departments in the state and all state police barracks are interlinked by the telephone typewriter. Plans also are being made to connect the system to those of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This compares with the old custom of sending telegrams helter-skelter by hit or miss means, without the ability to provide full descriptions or follow-up information. Baltimore now has an efficient inter-district line of communication and the best possible means of reaching its foot patrol. Commissioner Gaither now is seeking the ultimate in communication a flying squadron instantly informed and ready to act on anything that may occur

KGA 410
March 4, 1933

The Baltimore City Police Department

Station Locations

No. Division Location
Headquarters 601 East Fayette Street
1 Central 500 East Baltimore Street
2 Southeast 5710 Eastern Avenue
3 Eastern 1620 Edison Highway
4 Northeast 1900 Argonne Drive
5 Northern 2201 West Coldspring Lane
6 Northwest 5217 Reisterstown Road
7 Western 1034 North Mount Street
8 Southwest 424 Font Hill Avenue
9 Southern 10 Cherry Hill Road

Police IDs

  • First digit is district, second character is shift, third is sector and fourth is post. 6A32 would be a Northwest midnight unit in sector 3 on post 2 and 2C23 would be Southeast evening unit in sector 2 on post 3.
  • Lieutenants are 09 and Sergeants are 10, 20, etc., 91 and 92 are wagons and 99 is desk. So, 2C23’s Sergeant would be 2C20 and his Lieutenant 2C09. If a unit gets a warrant confirmation from 2C99, then 2C91 or 2C92 would do the transport. 200 would be the district Major.
  • Flex and District Ops units are numbered differently. They are numbered for each district as *1** and *2**. Northwest be something like 6117 or 6234. Again any number ending in 0 is a Sergeant and 09 a Lieutenant. Any numbers over *3** are Citywide units.
  • 58xx is Crime Lab
  • 84xx is Accident Investigation Unit
  • 64xx is Homicide
  • 65xx is Violent Crimes Task Force
  • 76xx-78xx is Tactical (including Marine, EVU and Canine)
  • 7620-7625 is Foxtrot
  • 7811-7812 is EVU
  • 93xx is Parking Control
  • 95xx is Traffic Enforcement Section (civilians that direct traffic and write tickets)
  • 96xx is Baltimore City Sheriff
  • 97xx is Housing Authority of Baltimore City Police
  • 98xx is Baltimore City Sheriff
  • 99xx is Baltimore City Public Schools Police

10 Codes

All 10 codes, signals and dispositstion codes used by the Baltimore Police Department are also used by the following agencies: Housing Authority of Baltimore Police, Baltimore City Sheriff, Baltimore School Police, Public Works Traffic Enforcement Section (TES), Parking Control.

  • 10-1 signal check
  • 10-2 signal good
  • 10-3 signal poor
  • 10-4 acknowledgement/yes/okay
  • 10-5 no aknowledgement
  • 10-6 standby
  • 10-7 out of service
  • 10-8 in service
  • 10-9 repeat last tranmission
  • 10-11 meet me at ______
  • 10-12 no units available
  • 10-14 non emergency prisoner transport
  • 10-15 emergency prisoner transport
  • 10-16 backup request
  • 10-17 phone station
  • 10-18 go to district station
  • 10-19 call ______
  • 10-20 location
  • 10-22 disregard
  • 10-23 arrived on scene
  • 10-25 stopping suspicious vehicle
  • 10-26 switch to citywide channel (talkgroup)
  • 10-27 drivers liscenes info request
  • 10-28 request vehicle registration information
  • 10-29 check criminal records
  • 10-30 wanted (person or vehicle)
  • 10-31 crime in progress
  • 10-32 sufficient units on scene
  • 10-33 emergency
  • 10-34 civil disturbance
  • 10-35 major crime alert
  • 10-36 description
  • 10-37 request tow
  • 10-38 request ambulance
  • 10-39 police vehicle disabled
  • 10-40 request crime lab
  • 10-41 request impound truck
  • 10-42 request animal shelter
  • 10-43A traffic signal out
  • 10-43B traffic signal red out
  • 10-43C traffic signal not changing
  • 10-43D traffic sign down
  • 10-44 request permission to ______
  • 10-45 permission denied
  • 10-46 permission granted
  • 10-47 negative
  • 10-48 affirmative
  • 10-50 helicopter landing
  • 10-90 looting
  • 10-91 shooting
  • 10-92 continued looting
  • 10-93 continued shooting

Signal codes

  • Signal 13 officer needs assistance (urgent)
  • Signal 30 property damage accident
  • Signal 31 personal injury accident
  • Signal 32 accident with fatality
  • Signal 34 departmental accident
  • Signal 35 departmental accident with injury
  • Signal 36 departmental accident with fatality
  • Signal 40 Fire Department Needs Assistance

Disposition codes

  • Adam No – Unfounded
  • Baker No – No Such Address
  • Charlie No – Unable to locate complainant
  • David No – No Police Services Needed
  • Edward No – Gone on Arrival
  • Frank No – Abated
  • Xray No – Report number needed
  • Xray Yes – Domestic related and report number needed
  • Zebra No – False Alarm

911 How It Works
By Public Affairs Office
Thursday, July 16, 2009; 8:14 am
Baltimore Police 911. What are you reporting?

Here are some tips for calling 911. Reading these now may help you when an actual emergency occurs.

  • Remain calm
  • Be prepared to verify phone number and location
  • Be brief · Answer all questions
  • Do not hang up
  • Be prepared to give descriptions and license numbers

Remember: Answering questions does NOT delay the dispatch of assistance. A dispatcher is sending help your way while the Call Taker takes additional information from you. The more pertinent information you give us, the safer everyone will be.

About 911 hang-ups: Our policy is to respond to ALL 911 hang up calls. If you change your mind about needing assistance, stay on the line and explain that to your 911 Call Taker. Otherwise, an officer will be dispatched to your location to ensure that you are safe. Playing on the phone puts those who do need immediate help in danger and puts you in danger of being prosecuted for making a false report. It is a simple matter of explining to your call taker, you misdialed, or changed your mind.


1. Stay calm. Speak clearly. Emergency units (police, fire or ambulance) rely on the information you give to get to you as soon as possible and to be able to help you.
2. Give your address and phone number. Many 911 systems automatically display your address, but most cellular phones do not. Your address is vital information. We cannot help you if we don’t know where you are.
3. Quickly and briefly describe your problem. As soon as we know what you need, we will know who (police, ambulance, fire) to send to help you. Get to the point as soon as possible.
4. Describe yourself. Tell the 911 Call Taker where you are and what you look like, including what you are wearing. We want officers/medics/firefighters who are arriving on scene to know who they need to contact and for police we need to be able to tell them that you are not the suspect.
5. Listen to the 911. Call Taker, answer their questions and follow their instructions. Remain on the line until the 911 Call Taker says it is okay for you to hang up.
6. Remain calm. And Again remember Your Call Taker, will have a lot of questions, but they will learn quickly in the early stages of your call who you need, and that unit (fire/police/medic) is on the way, as the call taker is briefing them on the situation. Don’t become upset thinking help isn’t on the way until after all the questions are answered, help is on its way. The reason more questions are being asked, is to determine what if any other units are needed. Will medics be needed, will additional police be needed, in the case of a fire, will it be a multiple alarm fire, etc. Often callers will become upset with their call taker; there is no need in doing this, the call takers wants nothing more than to assist you, and to have a positive outcome on your call. So he or she will have a lot of questions of you. The more calmly you answer those questions, the more likely we are to have a positive outcome to your 911 Call.


Radio communications system designed by Lieutenant William Taylor, standing left in the background



Massive antennae on the roof of the Police Headquarters building 1955


Sergeant LeRoy H. Williams

LeRoy H. Williams, born June 25, 1920, E.O.D. 1946, Retired L.O.D 1976, Passed away on March 17, 1990. He was assigned to the Northeast District, the old Headquarters building, and then Communication when they built the new building. When Major Norton retired he was in charge of Communication Division for a long time. He retired from Communication as a Lieutenant.

His son Paul J. Williams followed in his father’s foot steps serving 20+ years with the Baltimore Police Department.

Lieutenant LeRoy H. Williams,
Commander of the Communications Division
during the mid 1970’s
Sgt Nelson Herrman

Sergeant Nelson Herman has 35 years of service with BPD, 28 years in the Communications Divisionoff_dave_clauss_off_gordon_amy_1978.jpg

All Unit 10-6 unless you have a 10-33, stand by for a 10-36
Officer Dave Clauss (left) and Officer Gordon Amy (right) in the Communications Division 1978 dispatching patrol units.
Photo Courtesy Sgt. William Gordon

Captain Kenny Anderson pointing gun at Sergeant Gordon the photographer as Sergeant Herman encourages him to shoot.

Photo Courtesy Sgt. William Gordon

Captain Kenny Anderson working diligently on a report

Photo Courtesy Sgt. William Gordon

Captain Kenny Anderson still working diligently on a report aided by Sergeant Herman and Spencer

Photo Courtesy Sgt. William Gordon
Sergeant Herman relaxing after helping Captain Anderson
Photo Courtesy Sgt. William Gordon
Gary Martin and Greg Cook
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Detective Lou Trimper at the Western District radio console
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Officer Wayne Mulaney at the radio console as Cadet Jack Long looks on
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
L-R Cadet Jack Long and Det. Lou Trimper at the radio console for Western District
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Cadet Nick Constentine at the radio console
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Cadet Jack Long dispatching patrol units.
Cadet Long rose through the ranks of the department attaining the rank of Major
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
TRU Telephone Reporting Unit
Photo courtesy Det. Lou Trimper
Det. Lou Trimper in the TRU