Selectmen talk surveillance in Ballard Park

The Board of Selectmen think surveillance cameras should be installed in Ballard Park in light of the racist and anti-semitic graffiti found on the stage and a stone wall June 13.

This is not the first time racist markings have been found in the park, but police don’t know if it’s the same offender yet. The investigation is still open.

Selectwoman Barbara Manners reported the incident the following morning, June 14, but told the board at its June 21 meeting that the graffiti was actually discovered by the band playing the CHIRP concert that Tuesday night.

She said that the band decided to play anyway, and that they were sure it wasn’t a representation of the Ridgefield community as a whole.

“Still, it was quite distressing,” Manners said.

“Between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. it [the graffiti] was put on, and I just hope it wasn’t because the band…” she trailed off.

The band that played that night — Birds of Chicago — is a duo comprised of a white male and an African-American woman.

‘Cultural decency’

The selectmen discussed ways to stop future perpetrators, and were all in agreement that strategically placed cameras would be a step in the right direction.

“I hate to have cameras and surveillance, but if that’s what it takes to deter this type of vandalism and cultural decay, so be it,” said selectman Bob Hebert.

“It’s a small price to pay.”

First Selectman Rudy Marconi commended the Ridgefield Police Department.

“I have a meeting on Monday with a rabbi in Ridgefield, a rabbi in Georgetown and the police department that will be involved to discuss the issue,” he said.

“The rabbi was very impressed with the response that he got from the police department — they will find out who it was, there is no question.”

Marconi said he will be sending a letter to the Parks and Recreation Commission asking them to approve installing the cameras.

The selectmen are scheduled to meet again Wednesday, July 12.