Bealefeld Legacy: Corruption Fight, Changing “The Wire” Image


A tenth Baltimore police officer will be sent to prison this week in a scheme to divert cars damaged in traffic accidents to a body shop in return for payoffs–one of the widest police corruption scandals in the city’s history, says the New York Times. Fourteen officers pleaded guilty to federal extortion charges, a trial ended in conviction, another officer pleaded guilty in state court and at least 14 suspended officers still face departmental discipline and possible state charges.

Retiring Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld, who invited the FBI to investigate the force, brought in Grayling Williams, the Department of Homeland Security's former counternarcotics chief, to head the division charged with rooting out corruption. The previous director had been ousted for socializing with an officer indicted on a charge of heroin trafficking. Bealefeld will be remembered for reducing the city's crime and murder rates as well as for his aggressive anticorruption efforts. He made no apologies for his efforts to change the department's direction and shed its troubled image reinforced — unfairly, he says — by television’s fictional “The Wire.”

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