BPD marine unit likely to be disbanded days after saving lives

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Police Department’s marine unit is set to be disbanded days after its members performed a life-saving operation.

Three people were rescued from the water at the Canton Waterfront Park in Baltimore after a car went into and was submerged in the water. The marine unit and underwater recovery team performed the life-saving measures shortly after 11 p.m. Monday.

Police said a woman who was trying to commit suicide drove her car into the water and two good Samaritans jumped into the water after her. Members of the marine unit arrived to find all three women in distress, police said.

Ultimately, the marine unit saved all three people.

“If it were not for the efforts of our officers, we possibly may have lost three people’s lives,” Detective Donny Moses said. “They put someone else’s life ahead of theirs and they made the attempt. We’re very appreciative.”

A diver had to go down deeper to rescue the driver.

“I understand that diver rendered CPR. He saved a woman’s life. By the time they made it to an area hospital, she was up, talking and ready to leave,” Moses said.

The driver is being held in a hospital for psychiatric evaluation.

The marine unit will most likely be disbanded in the coming days after the Baltimore City Council voted to cut $1.87 million that was set aside in the budget proposal for the marine unit and underwater recovery team.

City Council President Brandon Scott, also the Democratic nominee for mayor, said in a statement sent to 11 News that he commended the officers for the brave rescue: “I do not disagree that their work is life-saving and important. Our other agencies and departments are also important and in desperate need of funding. Baltimore needs balance in the way taxpayer dollars are allocated so that all residents have access to essential resources and services.”

The City Council cannot redirect funding to other agencies and it can’t eliminate services. So if the Police Department wants to keep its marine unit, it can. It just needs to find the funding, which sources said, is not looking good.

Sources also told 11 News that members of the marine unit met Tuesday to get their new assignments as the unit is expected to shut down Sunday. Water-saving operations would then be handled by the Fire Department.

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