The Wire

Stanislaus Valchek

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Stanislaus Valchek is a career officer in the Baltimore Police Department. Valchek was former commander of the South-eastern District, embodying the remaining white ethnic neighbourhoods in Baltimore, and is a political survivor and bureaucratic player of the first order. Backed by Andrew Krawczyk, the politically influential developer who has a stranglehold on the city's valuable waterfront real estate, and an early backer of Councilman Carcetti's run for mayor, Valchek is never above a behind-the-scenes manipulation. When his son-in-law Prez needed a new assignment and a fresh start, Valchek palmed him off on the Barksdale unit which Cedric Daniels organized. On the occasion that union leader Frank Sobotka clashed with him over a petty church matter, Valchek ordered an investigation into the affairs of the shady longshore-man in an effort to bring him down. While not the most enlightened or competent commander in the department, Valchek's connection to the city's white voting block ensures that his voice will always be heard. His loyalty to Tommy Carcetti ultimately lands him the position of Deputy Commissioner of Administration in the Baltimore City Police Department, notwithstanding the unanimous dislike Commissioner Burrell and Deputy Ops Rawls share for him. He appears sporadically throughout the series, playing a prominent role in the second season.


Valchek is a Polish American, like the majority of the population of the Southeastern district in which he grew up. He keeps well-connected politically and maintains good terms with various Democratic organizations close to City Hall. His savvy nature led to a quick and easy rise through the ranks; he spent most of the series as Major in charge of the Southeastern district, but was recently promoted to Deputy of Administration because of his ties to newly elected Mayor Carcetti. Over the years, Valchek's has used his influence to negotiate with Commissioner Ervin Burrell much more easily than most other district commanders, though Burrell and Deputy Rawls thoroughly dislike him. His son-in-law Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski is generally incompetent as a police officer. Despite his dislike for Prez (he claims to have told his daughter not to marry the man), Valchek consistently protected him from punishment for blatant wrongdoing, such as the time Prez shot his own patrol car up and filed a false report about it.

Policing methodEdit

Valchek is shown as a commander who is more interested in his rank and political connections than in developing good crime fighting strategies to reduce the crime rate in his district. Valchek is not shown as a supremely competent commander but is shown as a commander who is dedicated to the politicians in his district that have influence throughout city hall. Valchek is also shown as a vengeful commander willing to abuse his rank and power against those who break the law in a way that angers him. This is best shown through his relationship with Frank Sobotka, a union leader he began harassing over an outbid church window. Valchek also attempts to abuse his power when Prez strikes him (due to Valchek's referal to Prez as a "Shitbird") but is convinced by Cedric Daniels not to file charges. Valchek's attitude has earned him the dislike of ranking officers such as Commissioner Burrell and Deputy Ops Rawls but his political connections to the city's remaining white ethnic neighborhoods keep his voice heard within the department. During the Sobotka investigation, Valchek is shown having more interest in arresting Frank Sobotka than in solving the larger smuggling issues that occur within the port. Valchek is shown as a career oriented officer as well willing to help elevate those loyal to him in rank. This is seen in Season 2 when Valchek is discussing how to have a career in the Baltimore Police Department with his son-in law Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski. One of Valchek's better qualities as a commander is support of those who are of assistance to him. This is best seen through his respect and support for Cedric Daniels who guided Prez into becoming a better officer in the department. Valchek's political savvy gets him promoted to Deputy Commissioner of Administration giving him a more established rank within the department under the administration of newly elected Mayor Tommy Carcetti.

Season oneEdit

Valchek only appeared once, in a meeting with Deputy Commissioner Burrell and Lieutenant Daniels, trying to smooth over Prez's drunken blinding of an unarmed fourteen-year-old. Valchek told Daniels that if Daniels helped Prez, Valchek would owe him a favor.

Season twoEdit

Valchek was the impetus behind the investigation into corruption at the docks, due to a petty feud he had with Dockworker Union Treasurer Frank Sobotka. Both men wished to donate stained glass windows to a local church, and Sobotka refused to withdraw his larger, more expensive window which had been installed first. Valchek became curious as to how the destitute union could afford the expensive window. He ordered his subordinates (including Sergeant Ellis Carver) to begin harassing Sobotka and his union, putting parking tickets on their cars and pulling them over for breathalyzer tests directly outside the bar they frequent. The union responded by stealing Valchek's valuable district surveillance van and shipping it from port to port, sending him photographs from each destination.

Valchek discussed the union with a politically connected friend, Andy Krawczyk, who knew of Sobotka making numerous campaign contributions. Valchek smelled the possibility of illegal activity noticing Deputy Commissioner Burrell's nomination for Acting Commissioner. Knowing that Burrell had trouble finding support with the first district council members, Valchek offered Burrell political influence in exchange for a special unit devoted to investigating Sobotka, with Prez as the lead investigator. Burrell had Colonel Rawls send an investigative team from CID to Valchek, all of whom were highly recommended officers that were in actuality dead weight "humps." When Valchek witnessed the task force's lack of work ethic, Valchek demanded a real police detail led by Cedric Daniels as commander (on Prez's recommendation), threatening to derail Burrel's quest to become Commissioner if he did not agree. Burrell obligingly recreated Daniels' task force.

As the investigation expanded, Sobotka ceased to be the primary target, and Valchek grew furious. He confronted Daniels' team publicly and offensively. When he insulted his son-in-law directly, Prez punched him in the face. Furious he disowned Prez and threatened to have him removed from the department. Daniels convinced Valchek to accept a suspension and a letter of apology for Prez to keep his post. Valchek also expressed his gratitude to Daniels for keeping Prez as he realized the problems associated with him dating back to the day when he first told his daughter not to marry him.

Valchek went to the FBI to try to refocus the investigation on Frank Sobotka, which prompted a series of raids including Sobotka's arrest. Valchek delighted in personally making the arrest, and held Sobotka in the union offices until a press gaggle had assembled outside so that he could publicly humiliate him. Sobotka was ultimately killed, but the surveillance van was still being shipped around the world.[1]

Season three Edit

Valchek set up a meeting between acting Commissioner Burrell and Tommy Carcetti, a city councilman from Valchek's district, knowing that Carcetti was setting up deals behind the back of Mayor Clarence Royce. Royce then pressured Burrell to have the crime rate decrease district by district before re-election. When talking with the other commanders, Valchek claimed he would put more foot patrols in his district's housing projects, use more of his flex squads, request more overtime and cheat the stats if he needed to (turning burglaries into larcenies, and downgrading assault charges amongst other things) in order to reduce the crime in the southeastern district. In the midst, Valchek was surprised and amused hearing remarks from Howard "Bunny" Colvin the Western District commander who stood up to Deputy Rawls questioning how to "juke the stats" with dead bodies. When talking with the other commanders, Valchek also overheard Colvin suggesting drug legalization to decrease the felonies in his district. Later, Prez accidentally shot a plain clothes officer, and complications by racial issues threatened his job. Although Valchek used all of his influence, and Daniels and several other African American officers were willing to testify (per Valchek's request) that Prez was not racist, Prez chose to leave the department.[2]

Season fourEdit

Valchek mentored Herc in political maneuvering, after the officer stumbled across Mayor Royce engaged in a sexual act. Based on Valchek's advice, Herc got a promotion to sergeant.

When Tommy Carcetti started running for Mayor, Valchek funnelled him inside information using moles like Jay Landsman, such as the murder of a state's witness named Braddock. When Valchek later leaked that Burrell replaced a veteran detective with a rookie on the Braddock case, the fallout led to the Mayor deciding to replace Burrell as commissioner. Before this can happen, Carcetti is elected Mayor, and Burrell manages to keep his appointed position.

As a reward for loyalty, Carcetti informs Deputy Rawls that Valchek is to be elevated in rank to Deputy Commissioner of Administration. At the promotion ceremony, Valchek's wife and daughter are present while Prez is conspicuously absent. As departmental power shifted, and Carcetti began plotting to oust Burrell, Valchek pointed out to Deputy Commissioner Rawls that newly promoted Colonel Daniels was more likely to be the next Police Commissioner than Rawls, if only because Daniels is African American.[3]


Season 1

Season 1 appearances
"The Target" "The Detail" "The Buys" "Old Cases" "The Pager"
"The Wire" "One Arrest" "Lessons" "Game Day" "The Cost"
"The Hunt" "Cleaning Up" "Sentencing"

Season 2

Season 2 appearances
"Ebb Tide" "Collateral Damage" "Hot Shots" "Hard Cases" "Undertow"
"All Prologue" "Backwash" "Duck and Cover" "Stray Rounds" "Storm Warnings"
"Bad Dreams" "Port in a Storm"

Season 3

Season 3 appearances
"Time after Time" "All Due Respect" "Dead Soldiers" "Amsterdam" "Straight and True"
"Homecoming" "Back Burners" "Moral Midgetry" "Slapstick" "Reformation"
"Middle Ground" "Mission Accomplished"

Season 4

Season 4 appearances
"Boys of Summer" "Soft Eyes" "Home Rooms" "Refugees" "Alliances"
"Margin of Error" "Unto Others" "Corner Boys" "Know Your Place" "Misgivings"
"A New Day" "That's Got His Own" "Final Grades"
Season 5
Season 5 appearances
"More with Less" "Unconfirmed Reports" "Not for Attribution" "Transitions" "React Quotes"
"The Dickensian Aspect" "Took" "Clarifications" "Late Editions" "–30–"

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