Officers caught drinking at Miss Shirley's

May 25, 2012|By Peter Hermann

The cops surely picked the wrong place to drink after work -- their chief's favorite morning hangout, Miss Shirley's, especially since they were in partial police uniform.

But here's the other question this raises -- what were they drinking? The upscale eatery with locations in Roland Park and at the Inner Harbor doesn't have beer on the menu. Now, cops aren't limited to beer, but still, some of these drinks come with umbrellas.

The “Wet your whistle” page offers the $5.99 Miss Mimosa — the classic champagne and fresh-squeezed orange juice, garnished with pulp, and a $7.99 Spicy Shirely, a Bloody Mary with pickled okra, Jalapenos and lump crab.

Here's what happened:

The soon to be retiring Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III headed for the Pratt Street bistro on Wednesday morning to catch a quick breakfast. There, according to a police source, he stumbled on two city officers drinking alcohol.

They had just come off the midnight shift and were off duty, but were either dressed in partial uniform or had their guns and badges displayed, said the police source and another person familiar with the incident and affiliated with law enforcement.

Bealefeld suspended both officers on the spot, forcing them to turn over their weapons, said both sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the incident is considered a personnel matter.

On-duty officers are prohibited from consuming alcohol unless they’re undercover not drinking would blow their cover. And while off duty officers are required to carry their guns and badges, displaying them while drinking is against the rules.

“All members of the department are prohibited from indulgence in intoxicating liquors while on-duty, or while off-duty in uniform or partial uniform,” the rules and regulations state. Even off-duty, officers are not supposed to get intoxicated and “give discredit to the force.”

The police source said that workers at Miss Shirley’s told Bealefeld that both officers had been in the restaurant several times in the past, and had ordered alcoholic beverages while in uniform.

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said: “The police commissioner did got to a downtown restaurant where he suspended two officers for alleged inappropriate activity.”
The spokesman said the incident is under investigation by the internal affairs unit.

Robert Cherry, the president of the city’s Fraternal Order of Police union, defended the officers, saying if they were off-duty they weren’t doing anything egregious.

“You’re supposed to have your gun and badge removed when drinking,” he said. “But it’s like a cop wrapping up his shift and off-duty taking off his uniform shirt but leaving his uniform pants on, and going out and throwing back a couple of cold ones.”

Cherry noted that “for officers on the midnight shift,” 9 a.m. “is they’re happy hour. It’s no different than someone finishing up work on Wall Street and walking out at 6 and having cocktails.”

Officials declined to reveal the names of the officers.

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