Bel Air High students present fallen heroes murals to sheriff

Two murals painted by Bel Air High School art students honoring five Harford County Sheriff's Office deputies who died in the line of duty were presented to Sheriff Jesse Bane on Wednesday afternoon.

The students and their teacher, Karen Ballard, joined with Bane and other members of his agency on the front steps of the Sheriff's Office headquarters in Bel Air for the unveiling the 4-by-6 foot murals.

Ballard and Deputy First Class Shawn Forton, a recognized mural artist, worked with the 12 students, in grades 10 through 12, who painted the murals over the past several months as a class project.

Bane recognized the students: Caroline Lozzi, Chelsey Keys, Matt Wilden, Chelsey Rektorik, Alice Lee, Faith Wang, Rachel Jones, Morgan Conner, Aly Topshcer, Marisa Abbey, Madison Slencak and Emily League.

"I am confident these students are going to go far in life," he said, in noting they are a "treasure to their family, their school and the county."

According to the Sheriff's Office and to a previous story in The Aegis about the murals, the idea for the paintings came when Ballard took note of the Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct being draped in black last year in memoriam to Sgt. Ian Loughran and Cpl. Charles Licato, who died within a week of each other in September 2012. The other deputies honored are the late Frank Bateman, the late William H. Beebe Jr. and the late Teresa Testerman.

Part of the project included the students taking a field trip to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., where they students had a chance to see the names of all officers from around the United States who have died in the line of duty, including the names of the Harford County deputies.

Ballard noted that "friendships were built, relationships were built…it was a labor of love," as she thanked Bane and the others present from the Sheriff's Office for allowing them to work on the project.

The murals will be displayed at the Sheriff's Office headquarters on Main Street and at the Harford County Detention Center.

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