Group turns out to ‘Back the Blue’ on In­de­pen­dence Day

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­

A small group with a large mes­sage took time out on the morn­ing of July 4 to de­liver a state­ment: we sup­port our lo­cal po­lice.

Around 20 peo­ple gath­ered in the Lo­gan Vil­lage Shop­ping Cen­ter at 9 a.m. and marched through Old Dun­dalk to Her­itage Park.

Their mes­sage: “De­fend the Po­lice” and “Back the Blue.”

“De­fund­ing the Po­lice is not an op­tion,” or­ga­nizer Scott Pap­pas said.

“We can’t de­fund the po­lice. First of all, it would hurt this dis­trict more than oth­ers.

“De­fund­ing the po­lice hurts the poor­est of the poor. I’m not say­ing we’re des­ti­tute here, but we do have some eco­nomic is­sues.”

Among those is­sues, Pap­pas said: 35 per­cent of the res­i­dents in the 7th Coun­cil­matic Dis­trict have Sec­tion 8 vouch­ers; there is a large pop­u­la­tion of el­derly cit­i­zens who need help; and the dis­trict con­tains the largest num­ber (in the county) of needy fam­i­lies with chil­dren un­der the age of 18.

“Take those funds away, and the po­lice can’t do their jobs,” Pap­pas said. “We can­not per­mit the po­lice to be de­funded.”

Bal­ti­more County an­nounced last month a se­ries of ini­tia­tives last month di­rected at re­form­ing the po­lice and re­duc­ing po­lice ag­gres­sive ac­tion.

How­ever, sta­tis­tics sup­plied by the Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 4 show that, since 2010, Bal­ti­more County Po­lice have seen and steady and sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in use of force in­ci­dents, in­ci­dents where of­fi­cers have drawn their weapons, and com­plaints.

This de­crease over 10 years has hap­pened de­spite the county pop­u­la­tion grow­ing, and a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in calls for ser­vice.

Of­fi­cers speak­ing off the record say the po­lice re­form ini­tia­tives are “de­mor­al­iz­ing” for mem­bers of the force and “pan­der­ing” to those who see a prob­lem where none ex­ists.

“We’ve got to help out our po­lice,” Pap­pas said. “And they’re ‘our’ po­lice, not their’s. They do a heck of a job, for what lit­tle money they make.

“Ev­ery day, they wake up and have to put a gun on the side of their body, and they have to go through all that day won­der­ing if they’re go­ing to have to pull that gun out and use it.

“And they don’t want to use it. They just want to go home to their wife and kids.”


A group show­ing sup­port for the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment marches along a street en route to Her­itage Park.


Peo­ple ral­ly­ing to show their sup­port for po­lice gather in the Lo­gan Vil­lage Shop­ping Cen­ter be­fore march­ing to Her­itage Park.

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