25-Year-Old Off-Duty Baltimore Police Officer Dies Of Overdose At Motel

Baltimore Police Officer Joseph Banks Jr. died of a drug overdose at a Halethorpe motel on Friday morning.

Baltimore, MD – A Baltimore police officer died from a drug overdose while partying with his girlfriend at a motel in Halethorpe on Friday.

Baltimore County police said that paramedics were called to a motel in the 4400-block of Washington Boulevard at about 3:10 a.m. on Feb. 22, according to WBAL.

Baltimore Police Officer Joseph Banks Jr., 25, was found unresponsive inside a motel room.

His 24-year-old girlfriend told police that she and Officer Banks had been doing drugs throughout the day, WJZ reported.

She told police that Officer Banks used the last of the drugs about 11 p.m. on Feb. 21 and then started to have trouble breathing.

According to the police report, the officer’s girlfriend called a friend to get a dose of Narcan.

However, once she got the lifesaving medication, his girlfriend was unable to administer it, WJZ reported.

She called for help shortly after 3 a.m., but when paramedics responded, they were unable to revive Officer Banks.

The police report said that the officer was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol when he died, according to WJZ.

Police said both heroin and opioids were found at the scene.

Officer Banks had been assigned to the juvenile booking unit, The Baltimore Sun reported.

The death of Officer Banks was just latest blow to a police department that has been shrinking for years as the city’s crime and murder rates have skyrocketed.

In January, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a new law enforcement initiative that included a 200-officer strike force to fight crime in Baltimore.

“People who live in Baltimore are rightfully scared,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said, according The Baltimore Sun. “They don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods. Citizens across the state are outraged by the daily headlines of this rampant gang violence. … They’re crying out for somebody to do something to stop these killings.”

The governor also promised money for signing bonuses for the Baltimore Police Department, as they desperately struggle to attract applicants to the police force.

The Baltimore Police Department had 3,000 officers 10 years ago under former Mayor Martin O’Malley, but that force was reduced by 500 officers under former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Current Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has complained she doesn’t have enough officers to patrol the city, and has asked for state assistance in tackling the city’s growing crime wave.

Pugh has also struggled to replace the police commissioner for the past year.

She most recently tapped New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison for her new commissioner.

The crime problem in Baltimore is also expected to be at the top of the priority list for the new state legislative session.

In December of 2018, Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he would push the state to assist with several anti-crime initiatives in Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Miller said he wanted to authorize a private police force for Johns Hopkins University, help the Baltimore mayor recruit 500 new officers, and launch a second police academy out of Coppin State University.

State Senator Bill Ferguson said he appreciated Hogan’s willingness to partner with the city to tackle the problem with increasing violence, and said they needed “an all-hands-on-deck approach” to address the complex issues.

Hogan has said he will introduce legislation to increase mandatory minimum sentences for repeat gun offenders.

He also promised to introduce a bill that would create a tracking system for sentences so that judges couldn’t get away with letting defendants off too easily.

Hogan said the federal consent decree between Baltimore and the U.S. Department of Justice wasn’t helping the problem.

He said there was too much attention paid to the failures of police and not enough paid to the violence of the criminals they’re trying to apprehend.

“There’s been a whole lot of focus on the consent decree...,” Hogan said. “I think it’s out of balance. We’re going to focus on getting the criminals off the street.”

Comments (10)
No. 1-9
Thinblueline
Thinblueline

So, the war on cops is finally starting to catch up, Baltimore’s crime rate is sky high, they don’t have enough good cops who want to work there, so now they are scraping the barrel and hiring drug addicts. People just don’t get it. Good luck Baltimore....let it burn.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Your life mattered, Officer Banks. Blessed are the peacekeepers. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family and your fellow officers during this difficult time.

RIDGERUNNER
RIDGERUNNER

It certainly doesn't help the reputation of a police department when one of their own dies from a damn drug overdose. And especially a police officer assigned to the juvenile department.

RPG156
RPG156

That is sad and also is a symptom of a department that is broken in more ways than one can imagine.

Rayb
Rayb

Apparently not aspirin... that’s too bad.. cops are human.. they can fall into the same holes the rest of us do...

charlesjandecka
charlesjandecka

Cops who want to leave this outhouse can not, because they had to sign "contracts. Signing such agreements is foolish; LE not being a professional "sport."

61mouse
61mouse

I for one am glad Baltimore is having trouble getting/keeping LEOs . What did they EXPECT when the MOSLEY chick was going after them . They should be thankful they ALL DIDNT QUIT

61mouse
61mouse

Took her 4 hrs to call for help when he was having trouble breathing at 11p ?

THEDUKE
THEDUKE

Not sure how much sympathy you can have for a LEO "who OD'd partying with his girlfriend". Where was this young mans common sense that he somehow thought this was a good idea and that it wasn't going to catch up with him somehow, somewhere and someday. Actions have repercussions and consequences. Why is this so difficult to comprehend for some?