James DiPino

[Age 95] The Baltimore police captain commanded the Southwestern District from 1963 until his retirement in 1972.

January 06, 2007|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,Sun Reporter

James Sebastian Michael DiPino a retired Baltimore police captain and former Southwestern District commander, died of pneumonia Monday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. He was 95.

Captain DiPino was born in Baltimore and raised on Albermarle Street in Little Italy. He attended parochial schools and later dropped out of high school to help support his family.

He earned his General Educational Development certificate, drove a taxi and was a security guard at the General Motors plant on Broening Highway before he joined the city police in 1942.

He began his 30-year career in the Eastern District and subsequently served for a decade in the Southwestern District. He was later assigned to the Northern District, and after being promoted to captain in 1963, he was appointed commander of Southwestern, a position he held until his retirement in 1972.

Known as "Big Jim," Captain DiPino received 12 official commendations, and his record included more than 40 commendatory letters.

"He was a family man and very generous person who was cherished by his fellow police officers," said a son, Paul J. DiPino Sr. of Phoenix, Baltimore County.

"He was one of the best and most honest officers to come out of the department," said Joseph G. DiCarlo, a retired police captain who worked with Mr. DiPino in the Northern and Southwestern districts.

During a fire in Canton, Captain DiPino ran into a house and rescued several of its occupants.

"Reporters wanted to talk to him about what he had done, and he told them to go talk to the firefighters. He said they were responsible for getting the people out," Captain DiCarlo said.

Captain DiPino made newspaper headlines in 1962 after capturing Roy Henry Cantler, a 20-year-old murder suspect who had escaped from City Jail.

At morning roll call, he explained that the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous. "I think I'll go out now and catch that escapee," The Sun reported him saying.

"He left the Southwestern Police station with laughing warnings of `don't get hurt' in his ears," the newspaper reported at the time.

Fifteen minutes later, Captain DiPino was in his cruiser near Monroe and Eagle streets and saw a man who broke into a run when he spotted the police car. Captain DiPino chased the fugitive in his car and on foot. The chase ended a few minutes later at a gas station at Monroe Street and Wilkens Avenue, where Cantler was discovered hiding between two parked cars, armed with a knife.

"The suspect dropped a hunting knife he was carrying and surrendered quietly, police said," The Sun reported at the time.

After retiring, he worked as a consultant to the Liberty Roofing Co. from 1975 to 1985.

He was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church where a Mass of Christian burial was offered yesterday.

Also surviving are his wife of 71 years, the former Rosina Mariany; another son, Charles J. DiPino Sr., a retired Baltimore Police Department major, of Ocean City; 10 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; and two great-great- grandchildren.


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