Bishop Douglas Miles, chairman of the interfaith group Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, said he recently apologized to Mr. Robinson for calling him an "Uncle Tom" some 40 years ago.

"I had to eat my own words," Bishop Miles said. "The things he accomplished, the stances he took, he was a man to be respected. In the folly of youth, I could not see the stature of the man at the time."

Bishop Miles said he knew Mr. Robinson his entire adult life, watching him rise through the ranks of the Police Department.

"We've lost one of the jewels of Baltimore, who gave selflessly to make the city and the state safer places. He was a pioneer for the African-American community, and a real champion," he said.

The Police Department annex headquarters at Fayette and President streets was named after Mr. Robinson in 2007. His wife, the former Ruth Ann Folio, led the effort.

"Imagine a building with a cop's name on it. I drive by it every day to just make sure that the sign with my name on it is still there," Mr. Robinson told The Sun in 2007 with a laugh.

Mr. Robinson was one of the founding members of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

After Mr. Robinson left the department in 1987, Mr. Schaefer named him to head the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, a position he held until stepping down in 1997.

One of his notable achievements during his tenure as secretary was the opening in 1995 of Baltimore's Central Booking and Intake Center, a $56 million facility that was the first in the nation to consolidate police booking, bail review, fingerprinting and incarceration.

"When Bishop L. Robinson stepped into the job as Maryland's public safety secretary in 1987, he inherited a prison system in disarray: weak management, poor planning and lengthy construction delays," said an editorial in The Sun at the time of his retirement.

"Ten years later, Mr. Robinson leaves his successor a much more disciplined and well-managed department," said the editorial.

Mr. Robinson then became a consultant for Lockheed Martin Co. until Mr. Glendening named him interim juvenile justice secretary in 1999 in the aftermath of abuses uncovered at the state's juvenile boot camps. He later headed the department as its full-time secretary from 2000 until retiring in 2003.

"He had a reputation for his honesty and his integrity," said Mr. Glendening. "He was able to convey his mission to his staff at his department, but more importantly, he conveyed his tone and purpose to the public. He was the man I chose when I needed someone who could assert control and give confidence to the public."

His sermon-like quality when testifying earned Mr. Robinson the sobriquet of "The Archbishop."

Mr. Robinson was an inveterate traveler and a dog lover.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Jan. 18 at Coppin State University's Physical Education Complex, Gwynns Falls Parkway and Warwick Avenue.

Governor Martin O'Malley has ordered the Maryland State Flag to be flown at half-staff. The flag is to remain lowered until sunset on Wednesday, Jan. 8. 

In addition to his wife of 26 years, Mr. Robinson is survived by a son, Bishop L. Robinson Jr. of Ellicott City; a daughter, Jessica A. Robinson of Homeland; a brother, Alan Robinson of Baltimore; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.

Sun reporters Jacques Kelly, Justin Fenton and Luke Broadwater contributed to this article, as well as researcher Paul McCardell.

frederick.rasmussen@baltsun.com