Flex squad officer has resigned

Member of Southwestern District had been suspended during gambling investigation

December 09, 2006|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,Sun Reporter

Vicki Mengel, an officer who faced gambling charges and allegations of misconduct as a member of the disbanded Southwestern District flex squad, has resigned from the Baltimore Police Department.

Mengel, 36, a 10-year veteran of the force, quietly resigned two months ago, a Baltimore police spokesman confirmed yesterday. She had been suspended with pay since the gambling charges were lodged in November 2005. She was convicted in February in District Court of two misdemeanor gambling counts related to a poker game, but court records show the conviction was later modified to a finding of probation before judgment, meaning it can later be wiped from her record.

Attorney Clarke F. Ahlers, who represented Mengel in the gambling case, said Mengel's resignation was prompted by her doctor determining that repeated knee injuries rendered her no longer fit for duty. Ahlers said Mengel is awaiting a disability evaluation from city doctors later this month.

Ahlers said Mengel's decision to resign, as far as he knew, had nothing to do with the either the gambling case or misconduct allegations.

Earlier this year, Mengel's name surfaced in an internal investigation of the Southwestern flex squad, which was disbanded after three male officers were charged with rape. One officer is accused of having sex with a woman in exchange for her freedom, and the other two are accused of not intervening. A trial is scheduled for next week.

A police search warrant prompted by the rape case accused Mengel and another Southwestern flex squad officer of stealing cell phones from people arrested and "planting ... controlled dangerous substances on citizens in an effort to knowingly make false arrests." Detectives seized suspected heroin, cocaine, marijuana, seven cell phones and three walkie-talkies from the station house, according to the warrant return.

Mengel filed a defamation lawsuit against the officers who swore out that search warrant. A Baltimore Circuit Court judge dismissed the suit without a hearing, but Ahlers said a hearing might be scheduled in the state Court of Special Appeals.

Yesterday, Matt Jablow, a spokesman for the Police Department, said an internal investigation - now nearly one year old - into those and other accusations against the flex squad was continuing.

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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