Bel Air town leaders had plenty to celebrate about the town's police department earlier this week, when they recognized the promotions of two of the department's younger officers and one of its dispatchers, plus the completion of Marine boot camp by a veteran police cadet.
The Board of Town Commissioners meeting room in town hall was packed Oct. 19 with the families of police officers Ryan Horstmann and Alexander Maro, dispatcher Kristie Taylor and cadet Nicholas Rhodes, along with a number of police officers and other department employees.
Horstmann and Maro recently attained the rank of officer first class and Taylor was promoted to police communications officer II. Rhodes came dressed in his Marine dress blues to receive a certificate of appreciation from Police Chief Charles Moore.
Commissioner Edward Hopkins, a retired law enforcement officer with the Harford County Sheriff's Office, presented certificates to Horstmann, Maro and Taylor, noting that all three came to the Bel Air from much larger departments and decided to make their careers with the Bel Air Police Department.
"It used to be officers came here a the start and moved on," Hopkins said. "We have officers who come to Bel Air and stay, and this is important to the safety of our community. A police officer who knows his community makes that community that much safer."
Maro, who is originally from New Jersey and has a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University, joined the Bel Air Police Department in 2013 from the Baltimore City Police Department, as did Horstmann. Both work the midnight shift, Hopkins said, praising their efforts in keeping crime and alcohol-related crimes under control and noting officers assigned to the shift have a special esprit de corps.
Taylor is an Army veteran who also joined the Bel Air Police Department in 2013 after working for the Prince George's County Police Department.
Hopkins said police dispatchers are "the unsung heroes in law enforcement...a true lifeline in every police department begins with the police communications officers."
Rhodes was praised by both Mayor Robert Reier and Moore, who noted the cadet "carries himself very well" and is "truly an example of the foundation of the U.S. Marine Corps."
Reier called completion of boot camp "quite an accomplishment" and noted Rhodes has been an inspiration both as a police cadet and now as a Marine.