In a strongly worded letter issued Monday, August 18, the Harford County Municipal Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 128 criticizes Aberdeen City Councilwoman Ruth Elliott for her recent suggestion to abolish the Aberdeen Police Department’s take home vehicle policy.
Not only does the FOP Lodge 128 refute Elliott’s suggestion as “disturbing,” “absurd” and an “attack” on the men and women of the Aberdeen Police Department, but the organization launches a vicious rebuttal of its own – asserting the city might be able to save money if it didn’t have to foot the bill for the councilwoman’s frequent out-of-town trips and legal expenses due to her ethics violations.
ABERDEEN, MD – It is disturbing that Aberdeen City Council President Ruth Elliott has again attacked the men and women of the Aberdeen Police Department. In a recent article in The Record (15 August 2008) she attacks how the officers handled a large fight near her home several weeks ago and uses that incident as a springboard to further attack the departments take home vehicle policy.
The take home vehicle policy for the Aberdeen Police Department is the norm, not the exception. It is a benefit that virtually every officer expects to have in this profession today and every other county agency has a take home benefit. It is hard enough for a small agency like Aberdeen to compete with larger agencies since most offer better pay and retirements. If Mrs. Elliott had her way, the take home vehicle policy would be abolished. The recruitment for Aberdeen Police would then be nil. Aberdeen has already lost dozens of officers in the last ten years to other agencies. Officers that Aberdeen trained and equipped and each time one leaves the agency Aberdeen then has to start over with a new officer. Not to mention the amount of experience the officer who leaves has compared with a new hire. Mrs. Elliott goes on in the article to talk about officers responding off duty to emergency calls and that if the city gives them a car then they should be called in. One glaring issue with this thought process is how much that would cost the city in overtime by calling officers in for no reason. Make no mistake, if and when the need arises to have officers respond in for emergency issues the officers do, without hesitation, but the decision to call those officers in is and should be made by police personnel, not the City Council President. Mrs. Elliott also fails to point out the number of occasions that off duty officers respond to scenes to assist after hearing a call go out over the radio. Her other suggestion of pairing officers up is absurd as it cuts the number of patrols in half.
The citizens of Aberdeen like the low crime level Aberdeen is enjoying while surrounding areas are being hit hard. Cutting the patrols in half cannot have a positive impact on that.
Mrs. Elliott claims that she wants to save the City of Aberdeen money. Perhaps then she should refrain from trips to Ocean City with the Aberdeen taxpayers footing the bill or committing an ethics violation, of which she was reprimanded for and led to an unknown cost to the City for attorney’s fees.
The Harford County Municipal Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 128 realizes that Mrs. Elliott has a long negative history with the men and woman who serve and protect the citizens of Aberdeen and were not surprised by this latest attack.