'Meticulous' police officer takes all aspects of his job seriously


August 03, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Tim Bradford, a Perry Hall guy, is in the gasoline-powered "lawn maintenance" business, with a truck, a trailer, mowers and whackers. One scorcher of a Sunday in late June, Bradford cut the grass at a church in northeast Baltimore and immediately took off for another job. In his haste, he rolled through a stop sign. A cop stopped him. The cop was Joseph Spallone. "A hard guy who looked like he'd been around a few years," Bradford recalls.

Got that right. Spallone joined up in 1967. He's been in the Northeastern District since 1969. He's a pro. His commander calls him "meticulous." The day Spallone stopped him, Tim Bradford called him -- under his breath, of course -- things I can't print in the newspaper. "He nailed me for speeding, failure to obey the stop sign, driving with a tail light out and driving with an expired license," Bradford says. "He wrote me fines of about $300. He really let me have it. And I deserved it. But I was hoping he'd cut me a little break. I tried to show him my Marine Reserves card -- you know, I kind of let it fall out where he could see it -- and I told him my sister is a cop. He said he didn't care. I heard this guy would give his own aunt a ticket."

Bradford was steamed, mostly at himself. And though he knew Spallone was only doing his job, Bradford still harbored bad feelings. That's only natural. You never forget the cop who nails you but good.

Four weeks later, Bradford got in trouble again.

At 8 o'clock last Wednesday night, he went to Harford Road, in Hamilton, to meet three workers he'd fired earlier in the day. The men wanted wages due them -- and then some. When they didn't get all the pay they thought they deserved, two of them grabbed Bradford while the other reached for his wallet. They pushed Bradford down. They nailed him but good. They got his wallet and $200. Bradford fought back, trying to get his wallet from the one who had snatched it. "I had lacerations and bruises," Bradford says. "They slammed me into concrete. They slammed me into my own truck. . . . Then they took off."

A motorist with a car phone called police from Harford Road. They came in about two minutes. One of them went up the street, to the house where Bradford's attackers had fled, and arrested all three with no problem.

"It was pouring down raining, too," Bradford says. "The cops were extremely courteous and helpful. They made arrangements for my wife to come down to the station. They were very concerned about me. They were just great, and I'm totally grateful to those guys." One of the officers was Brian May. The one who made the arrests was Spallone. Joe Spallone. Just doing his job.

It's a bust for Agnew

I know this bit of news will give all of you a warm and fuzzy feeling: The marble bust of Spiro Agnew is nearing completion. Maureen Dowd, reporting from Tryon, N.C., for The New York Times, says sculptor William Behrends found his subject great for white Italian marble. "He's got that nose, that strong face," Behrends says of the former Maryland governor and Nixon vice president. "He glistens with the confidence of his pre-scandal days," Dowd describes the Agnew bianco puro, "when it was said that he looked like a big martini." Agnew plans to attend his bust dedication at the Capitol this fall. The cost? Would you believe $40,000? And taxpayers, by act of Congress, are footing the bill for this undeserved honor.

Goings-on in the Yard

How bleak does it get at Camden Yards these days? Sunday, after Big Ben McDonald allowed four runs in the disastrous second inning of his losing effort against the Jays, a woman in Row G, Section 324, decided it was time to read a book. Her choice? "Listening To Prozac" (Viking, $23). . . . But at least someone had a good time. Down in front, a gang of O's fans were throwing a farewell party for a friend. They presented the honoree with a hot dog that had "au revoir" scrolled in mustard.

Law enforcement on line

A good reporter never misses a beat, right? If you can't go to the story, have the story come to you. Our colleague Joe Nawrozki, home with an ailing back and headed for his doctor, opened his apartment door the other morning and walked into -- no, not the UPS man delivering the latest from Victoria's Secret -- flak-vested agents of the U.S. Customs Service, the Maryland State Police, the state Motor Vehicle Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. ("The only agency that wasn't represented was the gas and electric company," Joe says.) The assembled law enforcement officers were raiding Joe's neighbor's apartment, and they were being quiet about it. ("No guns drawn," Joe says. "We won't be seeing this one on 'COPS' anytime soon."

Seasoned reporter that he is, Joe instantly popped the question: "What's going on here?"

To which one of the raiders retorted: "What agency are you with?"

"None," said Joe. "I'm a reporter for The Baltimore Sun." This declaration produced silence in the hall, followed by a suggestion that Joe call the U.S. Attorney's office for more information. It turns out Joe's neighbor was one of two young computer geeks suspected of importing and distributing illegal steroids and other drugs. The pair, both in their early 20s, allegedly used a nationwide computer bulletin board to advertise drugs not approved for sale by the FDA. It was not known if the agents seized contraband in the raid. ("I heard one of the suspects claim the only drug he had in his apartment was Rogaine," Joe says.)

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