Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Neglect of Duty

Baltimore Police badge
Baltimore Police badge

Those are not charge you would like to have thrust upon you if you’re a Baltimore police officer. Sadly, for one such individual, this happened and was reported in The Baltimore Sun on May 2nd, 1901.

Patrolman Washington Tress, Central district, one of the oldest officers on the force, was before the Police Board yesterday on a charge preferred by Marshall Hamilton of “conduct unbecoming an officer and neglect of duty.” The board was informed that he was in the habit of dropping into Wagner’s Green House, East Pratt street, and taking a drink.

Patrolman Scarborough reported Patrolman Tress. B. L. Wagner, the proprietor of the Green House, said Tress was a friend of his and he had invited him in on various occasions to take a drink. It is said that Mr. Wagner has never been known to violate the law by selling liquor after hours or on Sunday.

Tress admitted the charge, and in doing so said he would not have been reported had he not given evidence against a certain hotel in the vicinity of Charles and Pratt streets. This hotel is believed to figure in the investigation by the board relating to the leakage of police information that has interfered with the procuring of evidence against violators of the law.

Patrolman Walter Sharp, Southern district, was dismissed from the force for being in the cigar store at Charles and Randall streets for 44 minutes early last Saturday morning. He had been on the force since October 2, 1899, and it is said was married a few weeks ago.

Patrolman William N. Allender, John N. Demoss, John L. Zentgraft and James B. Shilling, Northwestern district, who had been charge with being in a back room of John Becker’s saloon, 1909 Pulaski street, last Saturday afternoon in plain clothes and not on active duty, were reprimanded.

Below is Tress’ listing in the Baltimore city directory for 1902. He was living then at 1616 E. Lafayette Ave.

Washington Tress
Washington Tress

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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