Justin Fenton discusses key takeaways from his 'Cops and Robbers' Gun Trace Task Force series

Seven officers from the Gun Trace Task Force were arrested in 2017. Prosecutors said Sgt. Wayne Jenkins was the ringleader of the rogue group and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, lied about overtime and conducted searches without warrants.

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Roughly Speaking: Newsroom Edition, episode 9:

On the surface, former Baltimore Police Sgt. Wayne Jenkins appeared to have earned his reputation as a rising star in the department for his unparalleled ability to get guns off the streets. But a deep dive into Jenkins and the force in which he operated reveals how the well-regarded cop — and members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force squad he led — manipulated the criminal justice system to rob and steal with impunity over the course of several years.

A portrait of a calculated criminal and a police department that either did not detect the misconduct or chose to overlook it emerges from Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton’s extensive investigation into Jenkins. Based on body camera footage, wiretap audio, written correspondence and court testimony, the officers’ activities started long before the Gun Trace Task Force formed and continued even as complaints racked up against them.

Jenkins and six of his officers now must reckon with their choices behind bars: The sergeant was sentenced last year to 25 years in prison for federal racketeering crimes including robbery, extortion and overtime fraud.

On this episode, Justin Fenton joins Newsroom Edition host Pamela Wood to review key takeaways from the series, explain his reporting process and provide an overview of the road ahead for the Baltimore Police Department. In the next episode of Newsroom Edition, Fenton takes listeners further behind the scenes of how the series came together.

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Justin Fenton

Justin Fenton joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered crime and police accountability since 2008. He covered the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray and trials of the officers charged in that case, as well as the Gun Trace Task Force corruption scandal. His first book is due out in February 2021 from Random House.

Pamela Wood

Pamela Wood

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics from The Baltimore Sun's State House bureau in Annapolis. She's been with The Baltimore Sun since 2013, and previously wrote for The Capital, the Maryland Gazette, the Daily Times (Salisbury) and Gannett News Service. She grew up in Howard County and graduated from the University of Maryland.

Hallie Miller

Hallie Miller

Hallie Miller is a business and health reporter at The Baltimore Sun. She joined the audience engagement team in 2018 after graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she served as an editor for The Diamondback. She is a Maryland native but is always looking for story ideas.