Vandals armed with spray paint made not-so-subtle threats against the Aberdeen Police Department last night in the form of graffiti tagged on the S&S Market at 101 E. Bel Air Avenue.
The vandals wrote several statements along the lines of “F*** the Police” and “This is our city” and even referred to Aberdeen as “Sin City.”
But the taggers went a step further and painted “RIP: Reiber JR Helf”on the building as well. This appears to be a threat against officers Christopher Reiber, J.R. Adkins and Timothy Helf – all members the APD’s Rapid Response Team squad.
While pondering the seriousness of the graffiti and how APD will react to the implied threat against three of its officers, several other questions came to mind.
It’s hard to believe no one on the midnight patrol shift spotted the vandalism before the business opened in the morning. Does that mean no one patrolled E. Bel Air Avenue all night?
Secondly, and equally disturbing, what about the high-priced surveillance camera that sits right there and is displayed on a 46-inch television screen in Aberdeen Police Department dispatch 24 hours a day?
Perhaps the video footage can be rolled back and the perpetrators can be found before fulfilling the message they painted last night, but it must make for pretty low morale at APD to have threats against officers go unnoticed by patrol or camera surveillance.
Update 8:47 pm 8/5/08: Some of the graffiti is still present, while other sections appear to have been covered with a darker paint. There were people checking it out and talking, including at least one police officer.
Update 8/7/08: The leadership of the Harford County Municipal Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #128 issued a press release regarding the recent threatening graffiti found on East Bel Air Avenue. In the letter, the FOP calls the vandalism “extremely disturbing and inexcusable” and speaks directly to those who may have tagged the building by stating city residents should be “grateful for the proactive approach the police have taken.”
The full text of the press release is presented below:
August 7, 2008
Aberdeen, MD – The tagging/graffiti that was found to the rear of 101 E Bel Air Avenue in Aberdeen on August 5 is extremely disturbing and inexcusable. The police officers our lodge represent are dedicated to their respective municipalities in fighting crime, be it the traffic enforcement officer or the drug interdiction officer. The citizens of Aberdeen should be grateful for the proactive approach the police have taken over the past two years. The men and woman of the Aberdeen Police Department that our lodge represents took an oath to serve and protect. At times, this may mean an inconvenience however one should remember, these officers are doing their job to make the streets of Aberdeen safer for your children and you. The Harford County Municipal Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #128 will push for appropriate charges should these vandals be caught. We will not tolerate any threat made against police officers and/or their families.
Jason Neidig – Acting President