UMB Police Force posts displayed by tag

Pecha promoted to full captain

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police Force has promoted Erik Pecha to the full rank of Police Captain for Public Safety. A University employee since 2015, Pecha had served at UMB as a lieutenant, a security shift commander, and an acting captain before his promotion July 10.

Capt. Martinez Davenport, MS, the UMB Police Force’s interim chief, said Pecha scored the highest among all candidates interviewed for the captain’s post. “I am very proud of him,” Davenport said. “He will be a great help to me and to the University.”

Pecha joined the University after serving for 21 years in the Baltimore Police Department, where he handled narcotics investigations and other criminal probes, earning promotions to sergeant, lieutenant, and captain before his retirement. He also received a Bronze Star for valor, three unit citations, and a commendation for putting his life in danger to assist others.

A 1993 graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., Pecha and his wife, Stephanie, have five children, ages 19 to 4. In his spare time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and gardening.

— Lou Cortina

Lou Cortina People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 31, 20170 comments
Read More

Officer Groh Celebrates 53rd Year of Service at UMB

When you walk through the doors of the UMB Police Station at 222 N. Pine St., you may be greeted by the friendly face of Officer William Groh, who celebrated his 53rd year anniversary as a University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) employee on the morning of Thursday, June 8. To commemorate the occasion, friends and colleagues gathered in the Pine Street Annex lobby to celebrate Groh’s tenure with cake and congratulations.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, made a surprise appearance just before the party began, offering congratulations and words of praise for the longtime employee. “I want to salute you for your years of loyal service to the University,” Perman said, shaking Groh’s hand. “Gentlemen like you say a lot about our institution. If someone chooses to start and build his career here, it really speaks volumes about us and about you. I’m glad I got to meet you.”

Groh’s career at UMB began when he was hired as a part-time security officer in 1964. “For perspective, when he [Groh] started working here, [Lyndon B.] Johnson was president,” said Lt. Erik Pecha, security shift commander for the UMB Police Force.

Groh’s temporary position expanded into a long-lasting and rewarding career. In July of 1966, he became a member of the University’s first police department. “I started working at the University because I wanted to go back to school, but I never did end up going back because I loved it here,” Groh said with a laugh. “When I was a child I always wanted to be a police officer, so this job has really been a dream come true.”

He worked as a University police officer for 33 years before retiring in 1999. Shortly after his retirement, he was brought back as a contractual security officer — the position he retains to this day.

When asked why he returned to UMB after his “retirement,” Groh cited the strong bonds he has formed with his colleagues. “I wanted to be around the people,” he said. “When I’m here, I’m around people I understand: cops. I understand how they think, how they act. We’ve had some great times here.”

That includes his 53rd anniversary party. A crowd of around 40 friends and colleagues gathered into the small Pine Street Annex lobby for the celebration, applauding as Groh cut his anniversary cake.

Friendship and camaraderie aren’t the only factors that tie Groh to UMB. In a sense, Groh has grown up with the University. It has been a place of milestones — even outside his public safety career. “I met my wife here and I said goodbye to her here,” he said.

Though Groh enjoys his post as a security officer, he still yearns for his time as a member of the UMB Police Force. “I still get the rush from the crackle over the radio from emergency calls. I miss it sometimes,” he said. “It’s hard to go from having a badge of gold to a badge of silver, but it’s a path that every police officer takes in their careers.”

Perman said he hoped Groh would remain on the UMB team for “many more years.”

With a smile, Groh said the president’s prediction could be accurate. “I’ll probably be here until they take me out in a body bag,” he joked.

Jacquelyn White People, UMB News, University LifeJune 9, 20170 comments
Read More
Drug Take Back Day

Drug Take Back Days

To help improve medication safety in the local community, student pharmacists from Generation Rx in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) will partner with the UMB Police Force for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Take-Back Initiative.

Event Details

April 24, noon to 2 p.m.
Building III, Universities at Shady Grove

April 26 and 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
SMC Campus Center

Faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community are invited to turn in their unused or expired medication for safe disposal.

Erin Merino ABAE, Bulletin Board, Community Service, For B'more, PeopleApril 11, 20170 comments
Read More
one-way-street

Pearl Street Warning

Using Pearl Street as a shortcut to Lexington Street to avoid traffic on Greene and Saratoga streets can be a big mistake — a $90 mistake.

The UMB Police Force says drivers going the wrong way on Pearl Street is happening more often as the bottleneck at Saratoga and Greene streets worsens at rush hour. A clear violation of Article 21-308(a) in the Maryland Motor Vehicle Laws, failure to drive designated one-way direction on posted roadway, taking this shortcut will soon result in tickets.

“We know sitting in traffic can be frustrating,” says Lt. Erik Pecha of the UMB Police Force, who points out the ticket carries a $90 fine and one point if found guilty and $130 fine and three points if the violation contributes to an accident. “But the UMB Police Force is committed to maintaining public safety so if this practice continues, tickets will be handed out. We don’t want to see a head-on accident result from someone driving the wrong way on Pearl Street.”

Faculty, staff, and students, please drive safely and follow the rules of the road. Your University colleagues’ safety can depend upon it.

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 15, 20171 comment
Read More
Police

Accreditation Assessment Team Invites Public Comment

A team of assessors from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., (CALEA), will arrive on Nov. 7, 2016, to examine all aspects of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police Force’s policy and procedures, management, operations, and support services, Chief Antonio Williams announced today.

Verification by the team that UMB Police Force meets the Commission’s state-of-the-art standards is part of a voluntary process to gain accreditation – a highly prized recognition of public safety professional excellence, he said. As part of the assessment, agency personnel and members of the community are invited to offer comments at a public information session on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, at 3 p.m. The session will be conducted in Room PH111 of the UMB School of Pharmacy located at 20 N. Pine St., Baltimore, MD 21201.

If, for some reason, an individual cannot speak at the public information session but would still like to provide comments to the assessment team, he/she may do so by telephone. The public may call 410-706-2590 on Nov. 8, 2016 between noon and 2 p.m.

Telephone comments as well as appearances at the public information session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA Standards. A copy of the standards is available at the Pine Street Station, 214 N. Pine St., Baltimore, MD 21201. Local contact is Lieutenant Christopher Finn, who may be reached at 410-706-6389.

Persons wishing to offer written comments about the UMB Police Force’s ability to meet standards for accreditation are requested to write: Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement, Inc., (CALEA), 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155.

The UMB Police Force has to comply with 485 standards in order to gain accredited status, Chief Williams said. “Through accreditation, we continuously evaluate ourselves against a set of recognized standards that ensure we provide the best possible service to faculty, staff, students, and visitors of the University of Maryland, Baltimore,” said Chief Williams.

Accreditation is for three years, during which the agency must submit annual reports attesting continued compliance with those standards under which it was initially accredited.

For more information regarding the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., please write to the Commission at 13575 Heathcote Boulevard, Suite 320, Gainesville, VA 20155; or call (703) 352-4225 or email calea@calea.org.

Alex LikowskiBulletin Board, Collaboration, For B'more, People, UMB NewsNovember 3, 20160 comments
Read More
Coffee With a Cop

Coffee With a Cop

“Coffee With a Cop,” created in Hawthorne, Calif., in 2011, aims to connect police departments to the communities they serve outside of crisis situations. More than 2,000 law enforcement agencies around the country participate in the monthly events.

At UMB, Coffee With a Cop is held every first Friday of the month in buildings throughout campus. Don’t miss the next gathering – 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., Nov. 4, in the lobby of the School of Nursing.

Mary PhelanBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Administration, University LifeOctober 26, 20160 comments
Read More
Frances Jones

She Gives SSW a Secure Feeling

Whether it’s students, faculty, or staff at the School of Social Work (SSW), security officer Frances Jones, who patrols the front desk from 3:15 to 11:45 p.m., gives them the full benefit of her attention and vast experience.

For this and a whole lot more, Jones was named UMB’s September Employee of the Month.

As part of his presentation, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, read a letter from her nomination form.

“The social work student said, ‘Tonight after class I was feeling sick and not really fit to drive. I have epilepsy and I had experienced some warning signs that I might have a seizure. I decided to take my medicine and call my partner to come pick me up instead of attempting to get behind the wheel. Frances at the front desk was so incredibly kind to me. I told her what was going on and she let me stay in the building where she could keep an eye on me. She stayed at her post and still fulfilled all of her duties, but she also made sure that I was within her eyesight in case I needed any assistance. She was kind and caring and exactly what I needed. I truly appreciated it.’”

Role Model

Of the letter, Perman said, “This really touched me, Officer Jones. I don’t know what else could be said to better describe you. The dean and others said you exemplify the core values of UMB, specifically those of civility, diversity, excellence, and knowledge. You’re a daily example of professionalism and courtesy. Congratulations on your award.”

Earlier Perman gave Jones a plaque and said an extra $250 would be in her next paycheck.

SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, gave testimony to how important Jones is to him and how she helps make sure that he conducts himself properly. “There are times when I get too busy and I don’t say good night and she’s like ‘Errrr,’” Barth said, growling to the delight of a group in the President’s Conference Room on Sept. 30. “And Frances reminds me I need to slow down a little bit and at least say ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye.’”

Part of SSW Family

A member of the UMB Police Force for 31 years, Jones teared up when Barth spoke about her being “part of my family as well as the School family.”

Perman lightened the mood by adding, “Rick, I’m going to call her when I need help with you.”

After the ceremony, and the banter with Barth, friends and co-workers rushed to greet the guest of honor. Following a long hug, Julie Gilliam, instructional technology specialist at SSW, spoke of why Jones is so special. “She cares about people,” Gilliam said. “She and Rodney [Jamison, dayshift security] both are amazing. They make you feel safe. They know who comes in and out of the building. It makes for a safe work environment.”

And going above and beyond, like with the student showing signs of a seizure, that’s part of the job, too, Jones says. “To be there and just look the other way — no that’s not what your job is about,” she said. “Compassion, caring, all that is included, too. I’m like a mommy,” said Jones, a mother of four, grandmother of seven, and great-grandmom of four.

Travel Talk

She says there are fringe benefits, too, of being at SSW for over 30 years. “You get to meet so many different people from so many different countries. I just love it,” Jones said. “Even though I’ve never traveled with anybody I feel as though I have because they’ll share the stories with me.”

And she was overwhelmed to be UMB Employee of the Month. “I’m at a loss for words,” she said. “I’m just really touched by this. I wish I could thank everybody. You wouldn’t have enough room in the story to name them all.”

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Community Service, Contests, Education, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 6, 20160 comments
Read More
National Night Out 2016

University Joins 2016 National Night Out

As people turned out across Baltimore on Aug. 2 to celebrate National Night Out, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) marked the event on campus and in West Baltimore. The annual outing is designed to promote neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

The PATIENTS program, an initiative of University of Maryland: MPowering the State, participated in an outreach opportunity at Mondawmin Mall. The Western District Community Affairs Council sponsored the event in partnership with the Baltimore Police Department (BPD), the City of Baltimore, and Target.

More than a dozen representatives of PATIENTS (PATient-centered Involvement in Evaluating effectivNess of Treatment) led by C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair, Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the School of Pharmacy (check out the SOP’s National Night Out blog post), shared resources with city residents. And while enjoying the evening together, everyone had a chance to move to the music, to admire the BPD’s mounted patrol, and to meet officials such as Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana S. Wen, MD. Crowds were drawn to local entertainers including Eddie B and a dance troupe, Fearless Dancing Fire.

At UMB’s Southern Management Corporation Campus Center (SMCCC), an annual cookout to promote better relationships with police and other first-responders was hosted by the UMB Police Force. The Baltimore City Fire Department sent several representatives. Students, staff, and faculty members could pick up safety tips from UMB police officers, including Corporal John R. Jones and Detective Shantell Brown. The cookout fare was from CulinArt at the Campus Center.

Pictured above: Daniel Mullins and Jonathan Myung, center, a fourth-year student at the School of Pharmacy with a participant.

CHECK OUT OUR PHOTOS

Patricia Fanning Community Service, Education, UMB News, University LifeAugust 9, 20160 comments
Read More
StayAlertElm

Stay Alert on Campus

On college campuses like UMB, May is a time to prepare for final exams.

Preparation also is key in staying safe, the UMB Police Force reminds us. Knowing where you are, where you are going, and what resources are available all can help make your trip a safe one.

So remember to:

  • Familiarize yourself with the area so you become less of a target. Check out our campus map! Pedestrians who look lost attract criminals.
  • If you see someone or something suspicious, be prepared to alter your route or go into the nearest building. Simply acting alert can ward off an assailant.
  • Utilize the blue light emergency telephones that are available throughout the campus.
  • Call the University Police at 6-3333 if you feel in danger.
  • Scared to walk? Call for a police escort at 6-6882 or 410-706-6882. Walking escorts are available 24/7 and riding escorts operate between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. 365 days a year.
Sarah RebackEducation, University Administration, University LifeMay 2, 20160 comments
Read More
Crime-Stats-2015

Serious Crime Down at UMB, Year-End Stats Show

Led by robberies, which dropped nearly 60 percent, serious crime at UMB fell in 2015, according to recently released statistics from the UMB Police Force.

Robberies, incidents that involve violence or the threat of violence, dropped from 12 in 2014 to five in 2015. Aggravated assault, which includes the use of a weapon, dropped from eight in 2014 to seven in 2015, and simple assault fell from 16 to 15 in 2015.

Antonio Williams, MS, police chief and associate vice president of public safety at UMB, was encouraged by the 2015 statistics.

“I basically mandated to our department that we have to reduce violent crime on the campus. So I was certainly encouraged,” Williams says. “I’m not happy yet, but the numbers are moving in the right direction.”

Various Reasons Cited

Asked about the reasons for the huge drop in robberies, he cited improved strategies, increased visibility of the UMB Police Force, and especially making additional riding escorts available.

“Back in October 2014, we added a second van to the riding escort program,” Williams recalls. “It was my desire that anyone who wants a ride can get a ride. If people don’t feel comfortable walking around in the evening, it was my desire that people don’t have to walk around in fear. When it gets dark, get a ride [by calling 6-6882], and it really helped.”

Additional police personnel and expanded boundaries and times also strengthened the riding escort, which served 13,621 riders in 2015, twice that of the year before.

Thefts Are Lone Increase

Murders, rapes, and arsons remained at zero in UMB’s year-end crime statistics. Stolen vehicles fell from three in 2014 to one in 2015. But not all the numbers were favorable. Due to an uptick in thefts (from 68 in 2014 to 79 in 2015) overall crime incidents were the same in 2014 as in 2015 (109 incidents each year).

Williams said mobilizing greater forces outside, especially after the unrest in April, and less in the buildings themselves, which is where thefts occur, contributed to the increase.

“We have limited resources and we took more of those resources and put them outside because people were telling me, ‘Chief, I don’t feel safe walking in this location or that location.’ We try to be responsive to our community. I’m concerned about thefts, like all crime. Now that violent crime is down, people are more concerned about other types of issues, like theft or crossing the street or street signs that have fallen down.”

Lowering thefts will be part of an anti-theft initiative Williams will be rolling out in the months ahead. For now, he offers the following suggestions.

“It’s a two-fold thing. Part of it is what can the community do and then what can the Department of Public Safety do. I believe we still need to emphasize the message of people keeping valuables in their possession. Don’t leave valuables unattended. Also take advantage of programs like Operation Identification, where laptops and larger items can be engraved. And resources like CITS [Center for Information Technology Services], which can provide information about laptop tracking software, such as LoJack for computers.”

Deputy Chief Milland Reed, MS, spoke at Dr. Perman’s November Q&A about how new policing strategies, with an emphasis on employees’ arrival and departure times, have been effective. Williams hopes to grow on those successes.

“We look to break something out every year,” he said. “We certainly try to be accommodating to our community. So we’ll be breaking something out shortly to help people have some tools and some avenues to help take part in reducing thefts around the campus.”

Better Stats Than City Police

Though thefts went up in 2015, the 79 incidents pale beside the 139 and 120 thefts on campus in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Is Williams surprised by the improving numbers, especially in a year when there was civil unrest and rising crime in the city?

“No. I was not surprised,” he says. “We have a track record here of being rather successful at keeping some of the things that happen around the city, in general, away from our campus. Some of that is due to the efforts that we put in as a public safety department. I believe some of that can be attributed to our community members being more cognizant, as well, and then there’s also another piece that I hear from time to time on the street, that certain people feel we have a good reputation as a University and as a public safety department, and that contributes to the notion that it’s not so easy to commit crimes on this campus.”

Williams is looking forward to crime stats dropping further as well as to improvements to the police station itself.

“We got approval from the regents to complete our renovation project next door at 222 N. Pine St. That’s going to involve building a brand new communications center, which should open in 2017. There’s also going to be a new emergency operations center.”

Matter of Pride

Williams also is very proud of his police force.

“I would certainly say that the dedication and commitment of not just the sworn people, but the entire department, really helped improve the conditions on the campus,” says Williams, who just hired three lieutenants to bolster his force. “It’s a holistic approach. People see the officers on the street, some of the security people, but it’s a combination. Also the communications people and the administrative staff. They’re critical, because they’re the ones that most of the public interacts with. It took a combined effort of the entire department to get the results that we have, but also to take us forward to improve, and we will improve.”

by Chris Zang

Chris ZangCollaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeMarch 7, 20160 comments
Read More