NewsRegionBaltimore City


Signal 13 Foundation helps BPD officers in need

Posted at 3:30 PM, Feb 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-14 17:17:30-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — When police hear the alert tone of a signal 13, they know it's a call for a fellow officer needing help.

"When a police officer needs help, and things are going really bad, with what’s going on in the street, you’re in a life saving battle at that point," said Bill Shiflett.

It's exactly the position in which Shiflett found himself on July 15, 2019 while working as a Baltimore Police sergeant.

He had just finished his midnight shift and was going to help out on day work since they were short staffed on supervisors.

On his way to take care of police business, a call came in about a shooting at the Man Alive Clinic in North Baltimore.

Seconds after turning on his body camera, Shiflett pulled up on scene, and shortly after he was under fire.

RELATED: Prosecutors describe violent chain of events in deadly methadone clinic shootout

"Another 10 seconds we’re inside, and then looking at the body cam, and the timing on it, two minutes and 14 seconds later, that’s when I got shot," said Shiflett.

The days, weeks, and months which followed were more challenging than he could've imagined.

"I didn’t expect to have anything else happen to me. I didn’t expect anything else to go wrong, and I was wrong. Things didn’t go the way they should have gone, with regard to healing," Shiflett said.

If it were his choice, Shiflett said he'd go back to work tomorrow but admits his doctor believes he'll be ready in about three more months.

The last seven months he says has taken its toll in more ways than one,

"I’ll speak for all police officers, we like to take care of our families. We take care of the business that we do on the streets, and we take care of our families. When both of those things are taken away, accidentally or intentionally, it’s very stressful."

Shiflett now found he was the one who needed support, and the Signal 13 Foundation was there .

CEO Nancy Hinds explains how it can provide help when money is tight.

"When an officer or civilian of the police department encounters unexpected financial troubles the foundation steps in with a small, no-obligation, they don’t need to be paid back, grants," said Hinds.

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Frank Battaglia created Signal 13 in the early 1980s. And just in the last four years alone, it has given around 70 hardship grants and 140 scholarship donations. Events like the 10-miler and Baltimore Marathon help support the fund-raising efforts of signal 13.

"And with more support from the community, with more support from the business community, we’ll be able to provide more scholarships for their kids, we’ll be able to provide bigger grants for officers," said Hinds.

Whether someone is a sworn officer, a dispatcher, or even an IT staff member of the Baltimore Police Department, the Signal 13 Foundation will in turn support them.

"They protect us, and it’s important that they know that we have their back. It’s important that they know that they have our support if they need it," said Hinds.