Traffic Division


baseball card
Photo Courtesy Richard Wills





Traffic Squad 1905



tc.jpgDowntown Traffic Policeman Charles and Pratt1921
Downtown Traffic Policeman Charles and Pratt 1921


Traffic booth and Officers directing traffic at Liberty and Lexington Streets
Photo courtesy Lt. Janet Ensor, Baltimore Co. Police

Baltimore's New Traffic Engineer


The Sun (1837-1987); Jun 20, 1937;

pg. 78

Baltimore’s New Traffic Engineer

Tomorrow Wallace L. Brown Starts Simplifying the Street Tangle

By Keith Wyatt

Tomorrow morning a new member of the Baltimore Police Department will walk into the police administration building and hang up his hat just long enough to orient himself and mapped his future course with his superiors and collaborators. Then, armed with the Lance of special training, he will go out to tilt with a formidable foe – Baltimore’s tangle traffic.

Nine months of intensive study with the nation’s best-known traffic experts have given Wallace L Perry of Braun, former member of the engineering staff of the city’s Bureau of mechanical electrical service, is degree of traffic engineer. Sent to Harvard Bureau for street traffic’s research by the sun papers last fall, he has received instruction for men recognized as leaders in his young profession, which is filling a big gap between the civil engineering which builds streets and the police authority that enforces traffic laws on them.

Recently Mr. Braun came home for a few days holiday – a businessman’s holiday, during which most of his time was spent in cruising about the city, sizing up some of the problems he will be called upon to solve and planning some of the recommendations he will make to his superiors out of his store of knowledge.

He entertains no belief that Baltimore’s traffic snarls can be unraveled without some radical changes in the rules governing Streets parking and traffic at certain notoriously bad intersections, in true routes, in stop go light controls and an accident investigation, and is naturally encouraged by the city Council’s recent steps towards cooperation with the police department.

But eager as he is to try his wings, the traffic engineer – to – be appears to be imbued with a sense of caution that may stand him in good stead. Soberly he looks ahead at his new job and as to specific details Admits: “I don’t know just how I shall operate. So much depends on the full cooperation not only the entire police department but other city departments and civic organizations as well. It will take some months to develop a working plan whereby the city can begin to show a profit on the talents that have been given me.”

Nevertheless, Mr. Braun is not wholly lacking in the program. Subject to the approval of his superiors, his first efforts will be toward organization and the establishment of a liaison between all groups primarily interested in the safe and expeditious movement of traffic. Beyond that he hopes to apply much of his knowledge to the many conditions that govern traffic behavior. Already holding a degree in electrical engineering (bachelor of engineering, Johns Hopkins, 1926), he has added a full understanding of traffic signals and other control mechanisms. Grounded, too, in civil engineering, he now has gained a wider knowledge of the effects of Street plan, condition and arrangement on traffic movement. In addition to these things he has assimilated a store of miscellaneous information, mostly hard bought by other cities that have made credible records in their attacks on the traffic problem.

“I would like to dispel any notion that I am coming in here to “run” traffic,” the engineer said, “I am just hired help of a special sort. The traffic division knows more than I will ever know about the enforcement of traffic laws; the public works department was building streets before I was born. But I have learned a lot about those things that influence the rapid and safe movement of traffic, and I believe I have a lot that both of these departments can use.”

One of Mr. Braun’s earliest endeavors will be to organize an adversary committee composed of both official and civic representatives. He reports that cities that have made some of the best records in traffic have had such boards to advise with the traffic engineer. As he visualizes it, the committee would be made up of a high emissaries of the police, public works and educational departments, ex officio, and of representatives of the safety Council, automobile clubs, mass transportation systems, taxi and trucking interests, retail merchants Association, and Baltimore Association of commerce, commission on city planning, the city solicitor’s office and the real estate board.

“Such a committee would represent the views and experience of every classification of traffic,” the engineer said, “from of four I have watched the progress of the mayors traffic committee in drafting a program of segregation of rail and freewheel movement.

The committee, headed by Preston D. Callum, of the safety Council, has served to show what can be accomplished when a big, interested group seeks, and fines, a common line on which to proceed toward worthwhile ends.

“I hear with regret that the Callum committee has asked that it be disbanded. I would like to work with that group, but if it does break up I sure hope that another may be formed on the same sound lines”

A special interest to Mr. Braun is the committee’s study of the “hundred worst intersections” in the city, made some time ago with relief labor. While no specific recommendations were made for correction of dangers at these intersections, the data, Mr. Brown believes, will form the basis for some remedial action, if cross – section studies can be made to bring them up to date.

The engineer hopes that he may embark at once on a broad survey of the city’s traffic and the problems associated with it. From this reconnaissance he believes he can set his own course, looking toward sound recommendations for improvement. It is necessary, too, he says, to determine what can be done within the resources of the department, reported to be scanty in comparison with cities of similar size.

Mr. Braun is cautious on the timing of traffic signals and their lack of coordination that causes many snarls in busy hours in the city. He points out that the “mixed traffic” of streetcars and freewheel vehicles on every street in the business section makes coordination practically impossible in some places – a condition that will be rectified to some extent as the Streetcar real routing plan of the mayors traffic committee goes forward.

Under this plan most of the rail movement will be confined to certain “streetcar streets,” leaving other arteries entirely to freewheel vehicles.

Asked what he would do with so-called “wave systems” one St. Paul Cathedral streets, Mr. Braun said he has had no opportunity to familiarize himself with the mechanism and, therefore, cannot now judge to what further extent it may be adapted to the changing needs of traffic.

“In many cities the timers are changes so that longer portions of the cycle are devoted to the heaviest traffic at Rush speak,” he explained, “I am in no position yet to say what can be done here. The police have had a difficult problem, and to meet it good equipment is needed. I do not know, of course, was of the city has such equipment.”

What did Mr. Braun sink of new bypasses for through traffic? He shook his head. “I can’t discuss that with you,” he said. “Adequate bypasses to relieve the busier sections of the load of transient traffic are important to any city. I was much interested in reading of the studies of the mayors committee which, while it has advanced no specific recommendations, at least outlined several possible routes that might be developed, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and province all have exceptionally fine bypasses that are well worth study. Perhaps such routes can be found here; I don’t know.” Well, what about limited ways – those express routes with no cross traffic? The engineer shrugged his shoulders. “Best way in the world to cut congestion and move traffic rapidly out of the business section, but they are expensive,” he declared. “Some cities say they cannot afford them; others that they cannot, in the light of their traffic problem, afford to be without them. For my present distance I do not see any signs of an aroused public opinion that would bring them to Baltimore. As a matter of fact, I have had no opportunity to even find out whether the city needs them yet, or whether other expedients might do for the time.”

Parking, then? And Mr. Braun any ideas on how to solve this pressing problem of Baltimore’s narrow streets? Again he was wary. “I have no right to talk about that,” he explained. “No city has “solved” is parking problems yet. Speaking generally, traffic engineers look to the day when street parking of automobiles can be abolished; when all Street space can be used for its original purpose – to move traffic. They are convinced that it is poor economy to use expensive paved surfaces for dead storage when other space can be found and that is cheaper, allowing cities, in effect, to broaden their streets by two full lanes. Someday we may come to it, but just now I cannot speak with any authority on Baltimore’s parking problem.”

Mr. Braun conceives the first need of any traffic engineer to be a “good set of traffic eyes” – that is, an efficient set of records. Particularly does he deem accident reporting a necessity in any intelligent approach to street and highway safety?

“If you know where accidents are happening, you can find out what to do about them,” he remarked. “Whether it be an enforcement job, a matter of lighting, the need of signals or signs to be removed or physical hazards, they also up in records properly capped.”

He believes, also, as do most other engineers of his calling, that every city and state should have special investigation of traffic accidents, just as they have special investigations of other violations of the public safety. He is convinced of that accident investigation squads take the guesswork out of safety efforts, bring law violators to justice and gardeners and people from injustices often sustained to half hazards dealing with accident cases. The moral of fact on the public is good, he thinks, and, besides, such procedures improve records so greatly that the whole problem may be attacked more intelligently.

Before the Baltimore engineer’s eyes are ever the “Three E’s” of traffic movement, control and safety – Education, Engineering and Enforcement – set up by the traffic engineering fraternity as its guideline. Each is a separate and distinct function, he says, but all three must be correlated to assure a proper approach to safe, sane and rapid traffic.

Mr. Braun was born in Hyattsville 33 years ago and came to Baltimore with his family when he was six. He was educated in the Baltimore public schools, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute at Johns Hopkins University. After his graduation at Johns Hopkins in 1926 he joined the technical staff of the consolidated Gas, Electric Light and Power Company, being assigned into steam stations. In 1929 he resigned to take a position in a Bureau of mechanical electrical service of the city department of public works. He served an adversary and executive capacity on electrical and combustion engine projects of the city until shortly before he was sent to Harvard Bureau.

Last summer, recognizing the need of the city for highly specialized engineer to handle traffic problems the Sun paper offered to provide a man of police Commissioner Gaither’s choice with a year’s scholarship to the Harvard Bureau for street traffic research. Commissioner Gaither, believed that, because of high educational requirements in the Harvard graduation school, the candidate should be selected from the engineering, rather than the police, staff of the city, conferred with Mayor Jackson and the chief engineer Bernard L. Crozier as the man best suited by former training to undertake the work, the Commissioner Gaither prepared to make room for him in his own department when he should have qualified as a traffic engineer.

With the expiration of general Gaither’s third term of office two weeks ago Commissioner William P. Lawson succeeded. One of his first pledges was of special attention to the city’s traffic needs, which he recognized as large and numerous and urgent. After discussing the project with inspector Atkinson, head of the traffic force, he expressed lively interest in the coming of Mr. Braun, and confidence that the combination of theory and practice within the Police Department would lead to great betterment of the city’s traffic conditions in the near future.

Mr. Braun’s final dissertation at Harvard, completed just before the finishing of his euro special training, it is interesting to note, was on “organization of municipal traffic engineering offices.” During the course of his studies he was given, in addition to a wealth of theoretical training, actual engineering work in the field. He observed, during his studies, traffic engineering technique of cities with best records of traffic deficiency; he with his fellow students, made actual traffic studies in and around Cambridge and Boston, and he accompanied accident investigation squads in the unraveling of cases, aiding in his work himself.

He has studied the traffic engineering methods of Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Milwaukee and Buffalo at first hand. He feels now that his training, under Dr. Miller McClintock, probably the best-known of America’s traffic engineers, and other specialists of the fraternity, has fitted him to undertake his duties here in Baltimore.

Foot Traffic Division, in front of the Headquarters building
October 24, 1940
Photo courtesy of Nancy Crane-Bentz
 Police Officer Eugene A. Crane

seen here in a professional hand tinted photograph in 1953 upon his completion of the police academy. He served in various assignments and is pictured on the Motor Unit and the Mounted Unit sections. He retired in 1975 with 22 years of dedicated service to the Police Department and Citizens of Baltimore City.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Patrolman Ray Miles badge 242 worked Foot Traffic Unit for 16 years 1935-1951 Kiosk_South_Lombard_1.jpg

 Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

Kiosk located at South St. and Lombard St. where the old News American Co. was located.

The traffic control device was decommissioned in 1951 when Patrolman Raymond Miles retired.

Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr. 
Patrolman Raymond K. Miles worked in the Traffic Unit for 16 years
Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.
 Kiosk located at South St. and Lombard St. where the old News American Co. was located. Note the old Baltimore Streetcar which was headed to City Hall in a snow storm. This Kiosk was worked for many years by Patrolman Raymond K. Miles.
Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.
Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.
Patrolman Raymond K. Miles served in the Baltimore Police Department from april 19, 1926 to July 5, 1951


sem·a·phore [sémm? fàwr] n 1. system of signaling: a system for sending messages using hand-held flags that are moved to represent letters of the alphabet 2. mechanical signaling device: a signaling device for sending information over distances using mechanically operated arms or flags mounted on a post, especially on a railroad Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.

 Officer Raymond K. Miles, Sr. worked his post directing traffic from the Kiosk at South and Lombard Sts. The hot muggy Baltimore dog days of summer trying to keep cool proved to be a problem. Patrolman Miles soon learned a way to keep cool. He discovered that taking the leaf from a head of cabbage that had been soaked in ice water, placing it on top of his head and covering it with his hat., Patrolman Miles remained "Kool as a cabbage". This is only one of the many things that Baltimore Policemen soon learned to make their working conditions more bearable.


Photo courtesy Raymond K. Miles Jr.


  Memorial plaque to Officer Raymond K. Miles, Sr. showing all of his original police equipment, which is kept by his son, Raymond Miles, Jr. as a reminder of his dad's service to the City Of Baltimore and The Baltimore Police Department.



1942 Buick Clipper A.I.D. Unit
Officer U.B.Huff
Traffic Seminar with Police Commissioner Robert Stanton

Off John L Weber 1954

Officer John L. Weber

Born September 29, 1919 and died on December 16, 1999 at age 80. He was in the Baltimore City Fire Department stationed at #6 Truck in South Baltimore from 1947 until 1954. In 1954 he transferred to the police department until his retirement in 1966. He was assigned to Traffic for his entire tenure in the police department. He worked for both Capt. Klander and Lt. John Neussinger. Below, pictured is his retirement badge. His dedicated service Honored both the Baltimore Fire Department and the Baltimore Police Department. John Weber, the Son of John L. Weber and Nephew of Elmer Weber provided this information about his family of dedicated Police Officers. John Weber is a retired Baltimore County Police Officer with 22 years of service, he was shot on a traffic stop. Now he is an investigator with the Baltimore City States Attorney's Office.

Off John Weber retired badge
Elmer Weber


Medal Of Honor Medal Recipient

Patrolman Elmer Weber

4 Charges Lodged, Abated by Death


3 Earlier Offenses Laid to Youth Shot by Police

October 15, 1951 Copied from the original newspaper article

Four burglary, robbery and theft charges had been placed last night against a 17-year old East Baltimore youth who was killed by a policeman early yesterday during an attempted holdup.

All the charges were marked on the docket at the Eastern Police station as “Abated by Death.”

Herbert Finnerty, a former inmate of the Maryland Training School for Boys was shot to death by Patrolman Elmer Weber of the Eastern District, who interrupted a holdup at a fruit stand at Eastern Avenue and Clinton Street.

Reported Beating Watchman

Patrolman Weber reported Finnerty was beating the 77 year old night watchman, Joseph Thanner, 3100 block of Foster Avenue, on the head with a pistol. Mr. Thanner who was struck about fifteen times and received multiple head lacerations, remains in the City Hospital yesterday. Patrolman Weber reported Finnerty wheeled, a pistol in hand and said “Your next, you flatfoot.” The policeman drew his service pistol and fired one shot. The youth fell mortally wounded.

Burglary And Theft

The following three charges were placed against Finnerty last night.

1. Burglary at a grill in the 6500 block of Riverview Avenue on October 6, with the theft of $200.00.

2. Theft of $88.00 from his mother, Mrs. Margaret Finnerty at their home in the 1900 block of Fleet Street.

3. Theft of $34.00 September 29 from Mrs. Carrie Cooper of the 900 block South Streeper Street at her home.

Charged with Holdup

Earlier Finnerty had been charged with the holdup, beating and attempted robbery of Mr. Thanner.

Patrolman Weber was charged with causing Finnerty’s death and released in the custody of Captain August A. Gribbon, Eastern District Commander, pending a hearing.



The “Medal Of Honor” awarded to Patrolman Elmer Weber for his Heroism in the face of grave danger for the above incident.







Above and below are the Official Commendation records of Police Officer Elmer Weber indication the award "MEDAL OF HONOR" and a "BRONZE STAR" A true decorated Hero of the Baltimore Police Department, his Service Honored the Department and the City of Baltimore









1959 Ford A.I.D. T/C 5



1959 Ford A.I.D. cars


Officer Eugene Crane shaking hands with President John F. Kennedy





Both serving in the Community Services Section


Police Officer Pat Kirby 
Police Officer Bob Crall


Officer Richard Freeman holding a radar gun working a traffic detail 
Sergeant George T. Owens working "RADAR" on Wabash Ave. at Northern Pkwy.
Larry Yinger
Photo courtesy Officer John Emrick
Officer Larry Yinger served TIS for many years and finally left after 24 1/2 years. He was the Chief of Woodland Beach PD for about 5 years and now he is a Anne Arundel County Deputy Sheriff
Photo courtesy Officer John Emrick
 Sergeant Paul Blair and Officer John Emrick investigating an accident
Left to right  Officer Brian Curran, President William Clinton, Officer Bravett Bull and Eric Dawson. 
 Officer Norm Stamp addressing traffic roll call. Norman started sometime in 1965 or sooner.
maryland flag line6


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How to Dispose of Old Police Items

If you come into possession of Police items from an Estate or Death of a Police Officer Family Member and do not know how to properly dispose of these items please contact: Retired Detective Ken Driscoll - Please dispose of POLICE Items: Badges, Guns, Uniforms, Documents, PROPERLY so they won’t be used IMPROPERLY This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.