Bishop L. Robinson

The Baltimore Sun

"What am I up to now? Not very much," says Bishop L. Robinson, 80, the city's first African-American police commissioner.

"I spent 50 years in government and started my career with the Baltimore Park Police. I then moved on to the city Police Department and climbed every rank -- I didn't miss a step -- until Mayor William Donald Schaefer appointed me commissioner in 1984."

When Schaefer was elected governor, Robinson followed him to Annapolis, where he served two terms as public safety director, and then one term during the administration of Gov. Parris N. Glendening. He was state juvenile secretary when he retired in 2003.

"I do a little consulting for Affiliated Computer Services. It's a national company that handles red light cameras, speed cameras and E-ZPass," he says.

"And I'm enjoying it. I get a chance to travel and meet people in other cities. And guess what? They're having many of the same problems as Baltimore. Some of them are even looking for police commissioners, but I tell them I'm not looking and I'm not in the market," Robinson says with a laugh.

A big honor came his way this summer when the city's newly renovated police headquarters at East Fayette and President streets was renamed the Bishop L. Robinson Sr. Police Administration Building.

"My wife, Ruthie Ann Robinson, and Oliver Walker, the oldest living Baltimore City African-American police officer who retired 36 years ago, spearheaded the effort to have the building named after me," he says.

"Imagine a building with a cop's name on it. I drive by every day just to make sure that the sign with my name on it is still there," he says, laughing.

Robinson and his wife enjoy traveling, and they just returned from a trip to the Bahamas. Currently, they are keeping busy, raising a new dog -- Louie, a standard poodle -- and keeping Angelique, a Shih Tzu, from suffering fits of jealousy.

"Actually, as far as my life is concerned, everything is going real well," Robinson says.

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