Who We Are

Since its establishment in the early 1980s, the Frank J. Battaglia Signal 13 Foundation has endeavored to achieve three main goals:

  • to provide financial assistance to qualified Baltimore City police department personnel, both civilian and sworn, who experience unexpected personal financial hardship
  • to fund college scholarships for the children of active-duty members of the Baltimore police department, both civilian and sworn
  • to organize events that support the foundation’s mission and serve to foster community and goodwill among the members of the police department and the public

Traditionally, when an officer experiences a personal crisis, particularly a financial hardship, fellow officers often pitch in to help by passing a hat from person to person at Roll Call, to collect donations and contributions. The aim of the Signal 13 Foundation is to support and expand on such gallant efforts, but in a more consistent and intentional manner by providing financial assistance in the form of small, no-obligation grants. Our goal is to offer welcome relief and peace of mind to department personnel during times of distress, provide opportunities for active-duty members and their families to grow, and to ensure a healthy and vital relationship with the public.

What is a ‘Signal 13’?

A “Signal 13” is a unique communication broadcast that alerts every police officer in the field that one of their own is in need of assistance. The alert and the accompanying message about an emergency are given the highest priority by the responding members of the department.

Frank J. Battaglia, a former Baltimore Police Department officer who was Commissioner of the Department from 1981-1984, understood that daily police work is stressful and that an unexpected personal emergency could create an overwhelming situation for police personnel and their families. So, in 1982, Commissioner Battaglia sent his own Signal 13 and called upon a group of civilians — personal friends, colleagues and members of prominent families in the Baltimore community — to devise a way to help active police personnel when they experience off-duty financial hardships. This independent body, consisting of business owners, philanthropists, and community leaders, formed the Frank J. Battaglia Signal 13 Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization, in 1983.

Why We Do It

Among the foundation’s initial goals was to seek donations and financial contributions from civilians to establish an investment fund for police officers in need. Investments,  now valued at more than $3 million, are still generated through private donations (from business owners, board members, and others) and by police department personnel who contribute through payroll deduction. And the organization has expanded its role beyond helping in times of stress by funding college scholarships and organizing events that serve to foster community goodwill.

Although the traditional passing of the hat will never entirely be replaced, the Frank J. Battaglia Signal 13 Foundation offers a unique way for charitable civilians and police personnel alike to support the tireless efforts of Baltimore City’s active-duty members and help them thrive, on and off the job.

If this sounds like the kind of organization you wish to support, then we encourage you to make a donation today. You’ll be supporting a passionate, dedicated group of people who have the drive to make a difference, the desire to contribute to the operation of a vital resource, and the commitment it takes to make the communities we serve — Baltimore and beyond — a better place.