A small group with a large message took time out on the morning of July 4 to deliver a statement: we support our local police.

Around 20 people gathered in the Logan Village Shopping Center at 9 a.m. and marched through Old Dundalk to Heritage Park.

Their message: “Defend the Police” and “Back the Blue.”

“Defunding the Police is not an option,” organizer Scott Pappas said. “We can’t defund the police. First of all, it would hurt this district more than others.

“Defunding the police hurts the poorest of the poor. I’m not saying we’re destitute here, but we do have some economic issues.”

Among those issues, Pappas said: 35 percent of the residents in the 7th Councilmatic District have Section 8 vouchers; there is a large population of elderly citizens who need help; and the district contains the largest number [(in the county) of needy families with children under the age of 18.

“Take those funds away, and the police can’t do their jobs,” Pappas said. “We cannot permit the police to be defunded.”

Baltimore County announced last month a series of initiatives last month directed at reforming the police and reducing police aggressive action.

However, statistics supplied by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4 show that, since 2010, Baltimore County Police have seen and steady and significant decrease in use of force incidents, incidents where officers have drawn their weapons, and complaints.

This decrease over 10 years has happened despite the county population growing, and a significant increase in calls for service.

Officers speaking off the record say the police reform initiatives are “demoralizing” for members of the force and “pandering” to those who see a problem where none exists.

“We’ve got to help out our police,” Pappas said. “And they’re ‘our’ police, not their’s. They do a hek of a job, for what little money they make.

“Every day, they wake up and have to put a gun on the side of their body, and they have to go through all that day wondering if they’re going to have to pull that gun out and use it.

“And they don’t want to use it. They just want to go home to their wife and kids.”