MSP/La Plata Barrack History
History of Maryland Law Enforcement Colonial Maryland
Under English common law, every person had an active responsibility for keeping the peace. This was a vital principle in colonial Maryland, a fledgling society with no police or peace officers. The responsibility included crime prevention through vigilance and the apprehension of suspected lawbreakers by groups of persons raising the "hue and cry" or the more official "posse comitatus." Persons whose previous behavior indicated that they were at risk of breaking the peace could be taken before a local court or magistrate and bound over to keep the peace, thereby, in theory, preventing crime. Adapted from the British legal system were the positions of sheriff and constable, officers of the county court who also enforced the law. Sheriffs and constables had no jurisdiction outside their own county. As population increased, county and municipal police departments were created to meet local needs.
Baltimore City Police Force
The first State agency to exercise police powers was the Baltimore City Police Force. Established in 1867 under a Board of Police Commissioners, the Force was elected by the General Assembly (Chapter 367, Acts of 1867). Baltimore had been developing a police force since the formation in 1784 of a night watch "very necessary to prevent fires, burglaries, and other outrages and disorders" (Chapter 69, Acts of 1784). Its police force, from 1867, was governed by a State board although jurisdiction was limited to the City. From 1900 to 1920, the Board of Police Commissioners was appointed by the Governor. After 1920, a single Police Commissioner of Baltimore City was chosen and also served on the Governor's Advisory Council. The Baltimore City Police Department remained under State governance until 1978, when the Mayor began to appoint the Police Commissioner, subject to confirmation by the City Council (Chapter 920, Acts of 1976).
State Detective Force
In 1909, the Board of Police Commissioners of Baltimore City urged the creation of a State detective force since the Governor, the Fire Marshal, and State's Attorneys in the counties frequently sought help from Baltimore City's expert investigators. The first tentative step towards a statewide police force, however, was taken in 1914 as a corps of motorcycle officers under the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles began to enforce motor vehicle laws throughout Maryland (Chapter 564, Acts of 1914).
State Police Force
When a crime wave struck Maryland after World War I, the need for statewide enforcement of criminal law became critical. The Governor, the Police Commissioner of Baltimore City, and the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles came up with a plan for a State Police Force under the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. Former servicemen were recruited and the first training camp was conducted early in 1921. By 1922, the force of motorcycle deputies had statewide jurisdiction over criminal cases through deputization by the county sheriffs. The force was supported by a plainclothes investigative department and was known as the State Police Force.
Maryland State Police
In 1935, the Maryland State Police was established as a separate unit of State government (Chapter 303, Acts of 1935). The new agency was funded out of revenues from the Department of Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. It was granted additional statewide police powers to enforce fish, oyster, game and other conservation laws and maintain a training school. The Maryland State Police were made part of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in 1970.
The La Plata Barrack was originally established in 1956 as the Waldorf Barrack located at 2160 Old Washington Road, Waldorf, MD. At that time, the Governor was Theodore Roosevelt McKeldin. The Waldorf barrack served the community for over 44 years. The building is now used for the Southern Maryland area office of the Natural Resources Police Department.
In August 2000, a new state-of-the-art La Plata Barrack was completed and is located at 9500 Mitchell Road, La Plata, MD. At that time, the Governor was Parris N. Glendening. The new barrack included an integrated operations center with holding cells, a telecommunications room, prisoner processing area and public entrance and waiting room.
La Plata Barrack personnel are designated, by an agreed upon Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, to respond to all calls for service, primarily on United States and Maryland routes within Charles County, excluding Part I crimes. According to State Highway Administration estimates, Charles County has six-hundred and fifty (650) lane miles of United States and Maryland highways.
Every year Charles County holds a variety of events such as Annual Six Picks High Schools Exhibit, Charles County Fair. Jazz Festival, United Way/Spring Dell CCSO Trail Bike Ride, Annual Heritage Bike Ride, events at the Maryland International Raceway, American Indian Festival and Pow Wow, National Trails Day, IHBC Indian Head Car Show, and many other events. The barrack supplies trooper for these events for traffic control, law enforcement, and other duties.
"The mission of the Maryland State Police is to fulfill its role as the State's lead coordinating law enforcement organization with commitment to pride, equity, respect and integrity. the Maryland State Police will effectively direct personnel and multidimensional resources in partnership with private and public entities to achieve public safety by improving the quality of life for citizens of Maryland."