Convicted Baltimore Police Gun Trace Task Force Sgt. Wayne Jenkins has a new idea: creating a “think tank” of convicted law enforcement officers to warn others against heading down the wrong path.
In a letter Jenkins is circulating to police departments, obtained by The Baltimore Sun, Jenkins writes that he’s “starting, organizing, and developing a think tank and group of currently incarcerated or past imprisoned members of the law enforcement community, including judges and [attorneys]” who could give testimonials.
“People have spoken about police reform for years with no serious change,” Jenkins writes in the letter, in which he also offers some new insight into his behavior.
Jenkins, who until his arrest was viewed within the Baltimore Police Department as one of its most high-performing officers, is serving 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in 2017 to years of robberies of citizens, lying on statements of probable cause, conducting searches without warrants, and seizing drugs that he kicked back to a bail bondsman friend to be resold.
His plea agreement includes admissions of stealing dirt bikes, breaking into homes and taking thousands of dollars in unearned overtime pay from the city.
Jenkins has had opportunities to assist outside reviews of the Gun Trace Task Force scandal. He did not cooperate with the state Commission to Restore Trust in Policing, and just last week sent letters to the judge in his federal case showing he has not assisted with the Police Department’s commissioned review, led by former Inspector General Michael Bromwich. It’s unclear why he sent the letters to the judge.
“A candid account of why you did what you did would potentially be of great value to BPD recruits and young officers,” Bromwich wrote to Jenkins in July 2020.
Instead, Jenkins has picked up that idea and is trying to run with it.
In his letter to police agencies, Jenkins comes the closest to offering an explanation and giving more information about his crimes since his sentencing hearing.
“The truth? I was a drug dealing, money hungry person! The only thing true or sacred to me was my wife and [sons], nothing else mattered,” Jenkins writes.
Jenkins details how he was praised and rewarded for his work, but was taught the wrong way to do the job.
“Throughout my career, I was taught and trained by veterans to make an arrest first and worry about the ‘probable cause’ afterwards. I was also taught and trained to ‘cut corners, articulate and even fabricate.’ My moral compass was becoming blurred and corrupted.”
Jenkins claims that planting evidence was the only line he did not cross — until participating in the planting of a BB gun in 2014. He says it was the only time he planted evidence “in my decorated and corrupt career” and that it haunts him.
“I broke my moral compass,” he says.
Jenkins pleaded guilty and tearfully apologized in court to lying about drugs being planted in 2010 after a fatal car chase, though he maintains he did not plant the drugs.
He previously sought to be released early from his sentence, by pointing to an incident in which he said he saved another inmate’s life, and has also accused the federal prosecutors in his case of misconduct by trumping up allegations against him.
Bromwich, the outside investigator, wrote in the July letter that he had reached out to Jenkins for his insights “with some reluctance.”
“After spending many hours with you, prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and members of the FBI Task Force found you to be deceitful, manipulative and unreliable,” Bromwich wrote, according to the letter Jenkins sent to the judge this month. “Former officers in the GTTF under your supervision shared a similar view of you as deceitful and unreliable, which they testified about under oath.
“We are only interested in speaking with you if you are committed to being truthful and candid. If not, we are both wasting our time.”