- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2005

BALTIMORE (AP) — Edward T. Norris, the former police commissioner who is a convicted felon, has decided not to go through with a “homecoming” party after the city’s police union advised officers not to attend.

Officers were told that partying with Norris next week would be “like swimming without a lifeguard,” according to the city’s Fraternal Order of Police union, noting the department’s rules that prohibit fraternizing with people of questionable character.

“Enter at your own risk,” warned the union bulletin, which was obtained by the Baltimore Sun.

The party was to be held Thursday by Norris’ new employer — radio station WHFS-FM.

Norris pleaded guilty last year to federal tax and public corruption charges in connection with his time leading the city’s police force. He was the superintendent of the Maryland State Police when indicted.

Norris served six months in federal prison and six months’ home detention in Tampa, Fla. He returned to Baltimore this week to complete 500 hours of community service.

He also got a new job, which started Monday, as a host of a daily talk show on WHFS.

Fears of a department crackdown on officers who might attend the radio station’s party led the union to post the bulletin.

It cites Rule 1, Section 5, in the department’s general orders, which states: “Members of the department shall refrain from making personal contacts with persons of questionable character.”

Officers can be fired for violating the rule, according to the bulletin.

“We told our members to stay away because this [rule] is still in effect, and we don’t want our people getting in trouble,” Lt. Frederick V. Roussey, the union president, told the Sun.

Similar concerns derailed another welcome-home party for Norris, which had been planned for tomorrow night at a southwest Baltimore bar known as an officer hangout.

Lt. Roussey had helped organize that party as a nonunion event, but it was canceled last week.

A spokesman for the police department had no comment. Neither did Norris.

Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin O’Malley, said city employees “can do whatever they choose to on their own time, provided, of course, that it’s legal and ethical.”

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