Officer Spencer P. Moore, a longtime veteran of Baltimore’s City police department and the son of Baltimore police Col. Robert Smith, was arrested on July 24th when he was charged with drug violations. The investigation which led to Moore’s arrest began several months ago and was conducted initially by the department’s internal affairs division. The Baltimore County police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were eventually brought in as the investigation proceeded.
Charges were finally filed against Moore after Baltimore County officers witnessed him involved in a drug sale. He was observed emerging from a silver Lexus in a parking lot, and then walking over and passing an item to a man waiting nearby in a Chevy pickup truck.
According to a statement by the Baltimore County police, “Officers immediately recognized this as a narcotics transaction.” After searching the suspects and their vehicles, police uncovered marijuana as well as several bottles of Oxycodone pills, two of them which did not contain prescription labels. Although Oxycodone is sometimes prescribed legally by doctors as a pain medication, according to Keller Law Offices prescription drugs may become part of a crime when the drugs are not prescribed to the user.
In response to the charges, Baltimore’s Interim Police Commissioner, Gary Tuggle, stated, “We will not stand for this type of activity. We will not stand for disgrace of the badge.” His condemnation of the incident comes at a time when the police department is already struggling to manage a list of negative incidents involving the department. Among other episodes, the last year saw eight members of the Baltimore police department’s elite gun unit convicted on federal racketeering charges, as well as the forced resignation of the department’s former commissioner after federal charges of failing to file tax returns were filed.
Due to a prior incident that the Baltimore Police department declined to reveal, Moore, had already been on suspension with pay for several months prior to these latest drug charges. Now that he has been charged with possession with the intent to distribute a narcotic, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and obtaining a prescription by fraud, he was placed on unpaid suspension. Moores is being held at the Baltimore County Department of Corrections in Towson without bail.
Alarmingly, the arrest of Moore for a crime he was supposed to be thwarting is not an anomaly. According to findings of a study conducted by researchers at the Bowling Green State University and funded by the National Institute of Justice, researchers revealed that on average, police officers across the country are getting arrested around 1,000 times per year for committing crimes of their own, mostly while on duty.