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The Police include many starring characters who play a major role. The fictional Baltimore City Police Department has been examined in great detail across several departments and there are also many supporting characters in the Department.
The department is led by a Police Commissioner assisted by Deputy Commissioners of Operations and Administration. The Police Commissioner answers directly to the city mayor and outlines the departmental goals enforced by the Deputy Commissioners. The Deputy Ops wields a great deal of power and is responsible for the day to day activity of the department's district and investigative unit commanders. The Admin Deputy is another position mentioned on the show that oversees the Internal Investigations Division and other similar units. The department is ranked in the order of Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Deputy Commissioner of Administration, Colonel, Major, Lieutenant, Sergeant, and Officer. Detectives fall into a rank that coincides with their administrative position. The Criminal Investigations Division commanded usually by a Colonel is the division responsible for Homicides, Narcotics, and Major Cases amongst other areas of investigation. Each respective unit in CID is run by a Major. The individual districts are usually commanded by Majors and responsible for patrolling the city's nine districts- the Central, Northern, Northeastern, Eastern, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern, Western and Northwestern districts.
Current department commandersEdit
Burrell is a by the book careerist officer who has reached the level of Commissioner of Police for Baltimore City. Initially appointed as an Acting Commissioner, his primary responsibilities include executing out orders of the Mayor's office and overseeing the department's general activities. His Deputy Commissioners deal more with the individual interaction of various Unit Commanders under his orders. On tumultuous terms with the City's Administration due to Baltimore's high crime rate, Burrell is a demanding bureaucrat who is willing to lie the department's problems on individual commanding officers in order to keep his appointed position as police commissioner. He has been considered for termination as commissioner by former mayor Clarence Royce and current mayor Tommy Carcetti, however due to his race (It has been advised that Carcetti who is white not fire an African American police commissioner in majority African American Baltimore) and the support of selected Baltimore ministers and influential politicians, he has been able to keep his position as commissioner.
Rawls is the Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the Baltimore Police Department, responsible for overseeing the day to day activities of the District and Investigation Division commanders. A careeerist like Burrell, Rawls is loyal to the department's chain of command easily annoyed by officers who go around it to accomplish something. He is a hateful, foul mouthed and ruthless commander whom the individual commanders fear. Quick to berate officers for their poor performance, Rawls is one of the most dangerous commanders to attempt to cross in the department. It is widely believed that he has reached the highest position he can, because he is white, unlike the majority of the population of Baltimore.
Valchek is the former Southeastern district commander who has been promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Administration. He was promoted to the post because of his friendship with Mayor Carcetti. Well connected with the city's politicians, Valchek has been able to get what he wishes more easily than other commanders despite the dislike that Burrell and Rawls share for him.
Daniels is the Criminal Investigations Division Colonel in the Baltimore Police Department. He was a direct commanding officer of many of the show's characters in earlier seasons. One of the department's more unanimously preferred commanders, he experienced a long delay in receiving his deserved promotion to Major that was quickly compensated by his promotion to Colonel via Mayor Carcetti. It is largely believed that Carcetti is grooming him to be the next Police Commissioner, but Burrell and Senator Davis plan to use evidence of Daniels' previous illegal activity against him to counter this.
Reed is a major and commander of the Internal Investigations Division.
Frazier is the Commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department in season one.
Raymond Foerster was a Major and unit commander of the Baltimore narcotics division in season one and ascended to the rank of colonel and commander of the Criminal Investigations Division.
Major Case UnitEdit
The Major Case Unit was established by Cedric Daniels in season three as part of a prior agreement with Commissioner Ervin Burrell. The unit's main responsibility is to build cases against high profile targets responsible for murder, drug distribution and money laundering in Baltimore. The unit was originally formed by a group of detectives dumped upon Daniels by shift Lieutenants to make a case against Avon Barksdale. It is currently under the command of the Criminal Investigation Division and is run by Lester Freamon even though on paper it is commanded by Lieutenant Asher.
In the first season the detail's office is located in the basement of a downtown building where the only redeeming features are working telephones and electricity. In the second season, the detail is moved into an old building located at 1911 South Clinton Street in the southeastern part of town leased by the transit police courtesy of Major Valchek. The office remains the permanent location of the unit when it is formed in season three.
Asher is the lenient commander of the Major Crime's Unit.
Freamon is a quiet and methodical older detective who makes major contributions to the series investigations. He is the unit's true commander as he lays out their investigative strategies and purposely chose Lieutenant Asher to be the shift Lieutenant due to his lenient non-conflicting attitude.
Thomas "Herc" HaukEdit
Herc was a capable narcotics detective but his tendency towards brutality and acting without thinking held up his career progression as a member of the Barksdale and Sobotka details. To improve his chances of making sergeant he transferred to the Mayor's security detail. He returned to the Major Case Unit as a newly promoted sergeant. Herc is currently suspended from the department with pay pending an Internal Investigation Division hearing.
Dozerman is a young detective who came into the unit with Herc because of their work together in the Western District.
Massey is a middle aged Detective with an ear for slang and a penchant for clipping coupons.
McNulty is a dedicated Baltimore police officer with many personal problems.
Sydnor is a young, married detective in the Baltimore major case unit with a talent for investigative work and the stomach for drawn-out cases. Sydnor has been part of the Major Case Unit throughout seasons one, three, and four of the show.
Daniels left the unit when he was promoted to Major, taking the District Commander post in the Western.
Marimow was the units caustic commander who was given the role to curtail their investigation into political corruption.
A detective on Daniels narcotics shift who followed him into the Barksdale and Sobotka details. He left the detail in season 2 for a drug enforcement unit sergeant posting in the Western District.
Mahone is an elderly detective who retires after an injury.
Polk is an ageing alcoholic detective from the property department who is often assigned to details because he is regarded as useless.
Santangelo was as original Barksdale detail member partnered with Jimmy McNulty. He was dumped from homicide by Major Rawls for refusal to act as an insider in on Rawls behalf. Santangelo took a post driving the narcotics wagon in the Western District.
Shakima "Kima" GreggsEdit
Daniels' female protege who mentored Herc and Carver while in Narcotics. She transferred to homicide when Lieutenant Marimow came into the unit as he was a caustic commander who was difficult to work for. When Marimow left, she remained in homicide due to the higher pay.
Roland "Prez" PryzbylewskiEdit
Prez was the son-in-law of deputy commissioner Stan Valchek who had a knack for tracing phone patterns and money accounts but was inept on the streets. Prez left the department after accidentally shooting a plainclothes African American officer Derrick Waggoner.
The Homicide Unit of the Baltimore City Police Department is responsible for the investigation of all unexplained deaths that take place within Baltimore City. (They are also responsible for investigating all police-related shootings, and, because the homicide unit is generally regarded as containing the best detectives on the police force, they are often given high-profile cases which are not necessarily homicides.) A clearance rate of 50% or more for the year is aimed for and the Unit is amongst the most demanding in the Criminal Investigations Division. The unit is located on the sixth floor of the headquarters building. Sergeant Landsman's squad is typically the focus of the show, though there is at least one other squad (according to David Simon's book, there are typically three homicide squads in Baltimore, on rotating shifts). The unit is currently under the C.I.D. supervision of Colonel Cedric Daniels.
Like the real department described in David Simon's Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, the unit uses a red-black system of tracking cases where red is the color for an open/not cleared case and black is the color for a closed/cleared case (green, the color for cases left open longer than one year, does not appear to be in use on The Wire's board). Additionally similar slang such as "dunkers" (easy cases), "whodunits" (difficult cases), and "redball" (media attention gaining cases) are used to describe the various cases.
A running practical joke within the unit is to cut a sleeping detective's necktie with scissors and pin them to a notice board in the unit office. Detectives often fall asleep in the office (or on stakeout) because of the overtime demands and have at times worked double and triple shifts as they have dealt with multiple murders. This was used most prominently in the third season.
Landsman is a squad sergeant in the homicide unit who must divide his loyalties between his men and his superiors.
Crutchfield is a caustic veteran homicide detective.
Greggs is a tenacious investigator and a rookie homicide detective. She was a key member of the major case unit and proved herself on both the Barksdale and Sobotka investigations. She struggles to balance her life as a police officer with her role as a potential mother with her partner.
Holley is a burley African American homicide detective who is often partnered with Norris.
Bunk is a well liked and proficient member of the homicide unit. Although he is a great detective, Bunk is a known alcoholic with a penchant for infidelity.
Norris is a caucasian veteran homicide detective with an offbeat sense of humour.
Winona is an administrator in the homicide unit.
Freamon is an older methodical detective who was very skilled at homicide investigations but was once kicked out of the unit for angering the Deputy of Operations. He was let back in by William Rawls on two occasions transferring out on both to be of more assistance in leading the Major Case Unit.
McNulty was one of the homicide unit's better detectives until his insubordinate back burning attitude drew the ire of his commander Major Rawls. Rawls had him transferred out of homicide permanently at the end of season one.
Rawls was a Major in homicide promoted to Criminal Investigations Division Colonel and then Deputy Commissioner of Operations. He was a ruthless and feared commander of the unit who expected nothing less than unwavering loyalty and competence from his detectives.
The Western District of Baltimore is the city's most violent district and centered in the middle of West Baltimore at 1034 North Mount Street. This district has been examined in greater depth than any other on The Wire and was the epicenter of the major investigations in seasons one, three and four.
Mello is a veteran lieutenant and served as deputy for Cedric Daniels and Howard Colvin, Mello is currently acting commander of the Western District.
Sergeant Carver is the Western District's drug enforcement unit commander. He is responsible for commanding several plainclothes officers in the district.
Baker is a rookie patrol officer.
Brown is a veteran patrol officer.
Castor is a rookie patrol officer.
Santangelo drives the Western District prisoner transport vehicle.
Walker is a young and corrupt Western District patrol officer.
Colicchio is a Drug Enforcement Unit officer who enjoys the rush of physical policing.
Lloyd "Truck" GarrickEdit
Truck is a Drug Enforcement Unit officer.
Lambert is a Drug Enforcement Unit officer.
Major Howard "Bunny" ColvinEdit
Colvin was the veteran Major and District commander who was forced out of the department due to his "Hamsterdam" experiment that de-criminalized drugs, despite this causing a reduction in felonies.
Dozerman was a friend of Carver and Herc in the DEU that moved into the Major Case Unit in season 4.
Thomas "Herc" HaukEdit
A former D.E.U. member who was a partner of Ellis Carver. He left the Western District to work on the Mayor's security detail.
McNulty was a former beat officer who became a detective. He returned to patrol in season 4 but after the death of an informant, he rejoined the Major Case Unit.
The following are former officers or assistant police not part of a District, Administrative, or Criminal Investigation Division.
Diggins is an officer in the Baltimore marine unit.
Frazier is a city medical examiner.
Russell is a port authority police officer and a single mother who develops an interest in case work following a chance discovery.
SWAT Team LeaderEdit
The SWAT team leader often appears when warrants are issued for raids.
Taylor was Eastern District commander until he was demoted.
Cheryl was Kima Greggs' partner.
Elena is Jimmy's ex-wife.