Surviving the streets of Baltimore City is an accomplishment alone because of the drugs, the violence and negative peer groups. Baltimore City Police don’t make things easier as corruptions starts from the top down to the officers that walk the beat. No matter how different life is on the streets and how the city police operate, greatness still can be found, although it’s not many. Retired Baltimore City Police Officer Craig Singleterry is one of those greats that made a difference in his community, by being a good, responsible child staying out of trouble with the law and became a city police officer, where he become somewhat of a ‘local celebrity’. As a child, Singleterry wanted to be a police officer, but he had one more dream, to work in security for an organization on an executive level. Now, Singleterry has followed his passion and has taken his life lessons and police force experience to the NFL, as a Baltimore Ravens.
Singleterry is a happily married to Sandy Lin Singleterry and is a father of two, Craig, Jr. (22), who is Baltimore City School Policeman, and Ashley Nicole Singleterry (18), who is student at Central Pennsylvania University majoring in Criminal Law Forensic.
Singleterry is a product of East Baltimore and come from a single parent household with seven other siblings. To help his mother, Singleterry took matter in his own hands. “I’ve been working since I was eight, helping nice old ladies at the AME Grocery Store by carrying their bags home and later at the The Pelpzern Sports Shop on Monument Street,” said Singleterry.
Singleterry graduated from Eastern High School (now Lake Clifton Eastern High School) and earned an associate degree in Business Management at Essex Community College. Despite the reputation Baltimore City Police Officers have on the hardcore streets, Singleterry choose to become one of the city’s finest where he served for 21 years from March 1986 to March 2007 where he advanced throughout the department. “I started out on the foot squad, patrol unit, district level unit, special investigation unit, vice squad, gun squad, and worked with the youth from ages 7 to 17 as the PAL Center for six years and that’s where I ended my career,” said Singleterry.
The PAL (Police Athletic League)Center is where Singleterry is most known for and made an impact in the community and the center. “With the police being in uniform, that was always what the kids saw and thought the police was going to lock them up,” said Singleterry. “When the PAL Center came about, I was selected for that by Lt. Carl Brown. It was called the Police Athletic League, but we changed it to the Police Activity League because it wasn’t only about sports, but academics. In order for the kids to attend the PAL, they had to have at least a 70 percent average to stay in the center, we checked on them in school, they grades, and to see if their conduct was good. The kids that did good, we rewarded them by letting them play on the basketball, volleyball, football, soccer teams, and things like that. From there, the PAL blossomed and when other kids saw other kids doing good, they wanted to do good and that’s how PAL started.”
While Singleterry was working for the city, things were working in his favor and he was walking into his other passion without knowing it, long before he thought of retiring. “It started in 1996 when I was with Ted Marchibroda,” said Singleterry. “Then, Brian Billick in 1999, where I was selected by Sgt. Milton Corbett for that position. Twelve of us were selected for different positions on the field and I had the visitors’ bench, but I had to meet both head coaches at the center of the field at the end of the game. My Friend Darren Sanders (Director of Security for the Ravens) is a good friend of Steve Bisciotti (Ravens’ owner) saw the work that I was doing. I was diligent, on time, no problems, having good people skills, and things like that. He noticed that and he asked me if I wanted to go full-time with the Ravens’ organization. I thought it was a great opportunity to take that job at that time, to take a job with the Ravens and the NFL.”
If anybody was offered a position with the Ravens’ organization to be with the players on and off the field and go to games for free, most people would jump for the opportunity. For Singleterry, it wasn’t an easy decision to make and he didn’t notify his family right away, either. “I kept it to myself for a couple days and to let digest a bit because I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it or not at first,” said Singleterry. “I was dealing with the PAL and I was there for years and that was one of my life’s dreams too, to help the youth of Baltimore City, to help guide them into the right direction.”
Singleterry, eventually, accepted Sanders’ offer to become apart of the Ravens’ staff in 2007. Again, one of Singleterry’s dreams as a child was to work in security on an executive level, which the Ravens provides, but he didn’t have no idea that the NFL’s security practices were so strict. “I always wanted to do executive protection for either a corporation or some kind of organization like the NFL,” said Singleterry. “When I started learning everything the NFL had to offer and all about how the league prepared for a game. There are a lot of things people do not from a security standpoint what goes on behind the scenes from the start of gameday to getting the balls ready for the quarterback. It’s a big picture people don’t realize before the first ball is kicked in a NFL game. It’s special and I never thought that the NFL was this big of an organization until I started working for them.”
It appears that no matter where Singleterry goes or how far his career of being a part of Ravens’ security, in the eyes of many, he will always be ‘Officer Craig’. “Yes, they still do,” said Singleterry while laughing when asked if people still reference him as such. “All over the city among kids, teenages, adults, and old friends. Some don’t know I retired from the police department and some of them do. But everywhere I go it’s like, ‘Officer Craig, Officer Craig, how are you doing? What are you doing? I haven’t seen you in a while. I saw you on TV at the Ravens’ game. You work for the Ravens?’ That’s a good feeling.” Singleterry may be recognized as Officer Craig to the public, to the Ravens’ players, he’s embraced as one of the guys. “They treat me like family, man,” said Singleterry. “They embraced me on the field, kick it with them off the field and we have fun, but there’s a time to be serious. The Ravens’ organization is the best organization to work for and I’m still getting my feet wet.”
Singleterry is a walking testimony and proof that what’s for you is for you no matter if you are 25, 45 (Singleterry’s age) or 65. No one just walks into a NFL team and gets a career of significance. Singleterry knows that surviving the streets of Baltimore and have a successful career in law enforcement is a blessing. To be able to work in our passion, it’s priceless.