The Harford County community suffered a tragedy Feb. 10, when Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey and Senior Deputy First Class Mark Logsdon were killed in the line of duty.
Police said David Brian Evans shot and killed Dailey at a Panera Bread in Abingdon, Md., and killed Logsdon during an ensuing pursuit, before being shot and killed by deputies who returned fire. Police believe Evans was in the area to hurt his estranged family.
Following the deaths of Dailey and Logsdon, the Harford County community rallied to show their support in unprecedented ways. Community members stopped their cars to line the streets as the bodies returned home; families and businesses hung signs and blue lights; fundraisers were organized and everyone wanted to know how they could help.
"What happened here was certainly special and above and beyond," Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said. "We lost our deputies in certainly the most tragic way you can in law enforcement. In my years in the state police, we buried quite a few troopers, and I have never experienced, in 30 years, the outpouring of love and support that continues today -- three-and-a-half to four months after Feb. 10. It just continues today as strongly as it did before."
And the support will continue throughout the summer.
The Aberdeen IronBirds, the Orioles' Class-A short-season affiliate, will continue to honor Dailey and Logsdon and all the men and women of the Harford County Sheriff's department.
Throughout the season, the IronBirds will wear jerseys with a special patch -- a grey American flag with a blue stripe through the middle. The jerseys will be worn for home and away games. Additionally, Dailey and Logsdon's badge numbers will be painted on the field, and two reserved seats will remain open in honor of the fallen officers throughout the season.
Glenn Valis, senior vice president of Ripken Baseball and a former police detective, came up with the idea for the tribute. Valis said he shared the idea with Cal and Bill Ripken, and both were eager to get involved.
"Well, I live in Harford County, and after that unthinkable tragedy occurred, I felt just like everybody else in the community," Valis said. "I had an opportunity and a platform to honor those men, and honor the men and women of Harford County, and really all law enforcement across the country."
Valis, who has lived in Forest Hill, Md., since 1999, was a detective in Baltimore City for almost 22 years, and now his two sons serve with Baltimore City Police. Valis said he was so touched by the community support following the death of Dailey and Logsdon that he wanted the IronBirds to show their support as well.
"I think when you are one of the platforms inside of our community and you have an opportunity to demonstrate to the community that you really respect what people do ... regardless of what it is, you have to use that platform in a positive way," said Valis, who has worked with Ripken Baseball for 10 years. "And this was a way for us to use it. I've noticed a lot of other people doing the same thing."
In addition to the season-long tributes, the IronBrids will hold a pregame dedication ceremony during their opening night, June 22. The ceremony will include a moment of silence and recognition of the reserved seats.
Gahler said that while the Harford County sheriff's office is still grieving, the community support has been inspiring.
"It's just been tough on everybody here -- every man and woman in the sheriff's office," Gahler said. "... When you lose two the way we lost Pat and the way we lost Mark, it stings, and it's going to always, always sting. But certainly the way Harford County has turned out ... it means the world. It means the world to the families, and it means the world to the men and women of the sheriff's office."
Issue 222: June 2016