In response to an uptick of political signage thefts, the Logan City Police Department announced this week that extra duty officers would be utilized to address the issue.
“We would like to remind citizens these items are allowed on private property and it is against the law to damage or take them,” police wrote in a statement on Monday. “We encourage all to voice their opinions in a manner consistent with the free speech protection of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, and to keep their conduct within legal bounds and treat everyone with civility.”
Cache County Democrats and the Cache County Republican Party also issued a joint statement on Monday denouncing the thefts, which have targeted both parties. The statement championed Cache County as “the standard for everyone else,” while decrying vandalism and destruction of private property.
“It is no secret that our country is more divided now than in a very long time on numerous issues,” wrote Danny Beus and Chris Booth in the statement, chairs for Cache Dems and Cache GOP respectively. “Let’s continue to show everyone around us why Cache County is the best place to live. Be respectful, be civil, be kind, and most importantly be ready to exercise your constitutional right and vote for your candidates of choice when your ballot arrives in the mail this week!”
Sergio Bernal, a Utah State University professor in the music department, told The Herald Journal his Biden-Harris campaign and Black Lives Matter signs had recently been stolen twice from his home. The thefts occurred roughly a week apart and Bernal phoned the police. Since then, Bernal said the officers have been in contact with him while patrolling his neighborhood more frequently.
Bernal said his perception of Cache Valley is one of healthy conversation and dialogue, but the recent thefts are troublesome — it’s something he hasn’t experienced in the near 20 years he’s resided in Cache Valley.
“I feel that we can do better than that in Cache Valley,” Bernal said. “For me, it’s concerning to see this kind of behavior happening and I think that people should respect other people’s ideas on both sides and let people express themselves.”
Loy Hunt, an X-ray technician in the valley, said a “Trump 2020” garden sign was stolen from her flower bed on Tuesday. The sign had been posted for maybe two weeks, Hunt said, and whoever took it had to trample flowers and bushes to access the property.
Hunt said she doesn’t suspect any neighbors and hopes the thefts aren’t being done by adults, but rather believes it’s kids or young adults responsible.
“I don’t think adults would do that,” Hunt said. “If they’re adults, they’re not adulting.”
After the thefts, Bernal and Hunt both said they didn’t hesitate to post new signage at their homes.
On one hand, Bernal said his initial reaction to the thefts was that of impotence — like someone was trying to “hush” his voice. On the other hand, he felt it behooved him to be bold and found new signs.
“The response was, ‘Well, I’ll speak louder,’” Bernal said. “They’re not only stealing something that belongs to me and my family, but also they’re stealing a voice — the possibility of speaking.”
Hunt decided to hang a large Trump flag — the only campaign sign she had at her disposal at the time — and contacted local GOP representatives for more signs. Hunt feels she is entitled to her opinion and everyone should be able to voice opinions freely without being silenced.
“When someone takes down your sign,” Hunt said, “it’s like being told to shut up.”
The world is in a crisis, Bernal said, and the only way out is through working together.
“We need to be more conscientious and respectful to others,” Bernal said. “We shouldn’t get caught into that divisive mentality.”