Police sergeant demoted for having sex with narcotics informant


Anne Arundel County Police Chief Robert Russell demoted a veteran police sergeant to officer yesterday for having sex with a narcotics informant.

The demotion was recommended by a police trial board Nov. 17 when it found Bret Ballam guilty of conduct unbecoming a police officer because of his relationship with the woman.

He is the second sergeant demoted this year for having a sexual relationship with a narcotics informant. Officer Henry A. McClung also was demoted from the rank of sergeant.

The officer demotions are a result of a police Internal Affairs Unit investigation that resulted in seven officers being charged with having sex with two women who were informants.

Four of those officers were suspended for up to 30 days, said Officer Terry Crowe, a police spokesman.

The Internal Affairs Unit charged the officers after a federal agent tipped them off about a continuing sexual relationship between the informants and the officers.

Narcotics officers raided the home of one of the women, who admitted having relations with one of the former sergeants. A second informant also admitted such relationships.

Departmental policy bars officers from socializing with informants.

Officer Ballam admitted having sex with the woman once in a car on Thelma Avenue. The hearing board found him guilty of having a relationship with the woman from April 1991 to January 1992.

Officer Ballam's attorney, Thomas Pavlinic, has accused the department of mishandling the investigation by interviewing one of the women while she was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

The investigation was one of two during the past year that involved police misconduct.

Two county police officers were suspended for 25 days for using steroids, and two others were ordered to undergo counseling for using them.

That investigation began when a Baltimore County doctor was convicted of prescribing steroids to several police officers in the area for nonmedical purposes.

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