Remembering the victims of crimes
It’s hard for retired Baltimore County Police Department detective Rick Harding to forget when his son became a crime victim.
A drunk driver killed Harding’s son, Ricky, in 2006, when his son was 19. Harding said that the tragedy was agonizing for both him and his wife.
“It’s the emotional drain,” he said. “It’s not a natural thing to bury your own son as a husband, father and as a cop.”
As a result, he began work with two organizations: the American Academy for Public Safety and D.U.I.- P.O.S.S.E., both of which work to curtail crime by enforcing the effects of drunk driving. The organizations also educate their volunteers on how to detect drunk drivers, how to identify drunk drivers, and more.
Harding had 20 years of experience as a police officer, including being stationed in Towson. Harding will return to Towson Wednesday to speak at the “My Three Chapters” event in the University Union’s Loch Raven room as a part of National Victims’ Rights Week.
The Office for Victims of Crime began the program in 1981, and according to its website, NVRW is meant to promote victims’ rights and honor crime victims and those who advocate on their behalf.
The Towson University Police Department will participate in NVRW by leading a safety walk with McGruff the Crime Dog, a cartoon character used by police to talk to children about issues such as drugs, bullying and safety.
Harding said he will specifically speak about his experience with his son.
“I’ve seen a lot of victims of crime,” Harding said. “And the one fear of people is not becoming a victim of crime.”
Harding also works as the director for the American Academy for Public Safety, a firm based in Whiteford, Md., that specializes in self-defense and security training. The firm trains citizens, police, and security professionals, working under the motto, “you have the right not to be a victim,” according to their website.
Harding said that he hopes that by educating people about the dangers and warning signs of drunk driving, future accidents like his son’s can be prevented.