It was a news brief sitting quietly on Page 5 of Wednesday's edition of the East Oregonian.

Maybe it should have been given bigger play because, upon reading it, we cheered silently for the Hermiston Police Department.

The news brief reported the HPD had arrested two juveniles for tagging and even cited one of the parents for inadequate supervision.

Three cheers for the Hermiston Police Department.

To quote the article: "At 6 p.m., an officer approached a group of boys near East Catherine Avenue and Northeast Seventh Street after receiving a report of graffiti on a nearby fence. As police approached, one boy dropped a beer can and black spray paint can matching the paint on the fence.

"The officer cited two teenagers: a 17-year-old and a 14-year-old. Officers cited the 17-year-old with carrying a concealed weapon, second-degree criminal mischief, offensive littering, unlawfully applying graffiti, possession of a graffiti implement and minor in possession of alcohol. The officer cited the 14-year-old with giving false information to police, second-degree criminal mischief and unlawfully applying graffiti."

Police cited the parents for failing to supervise a child.

In Tuesday's paper, we reported on a 23-year Pendleton city employee whose job it is, at least in part, to clean up graffitti from bridges and other public structures. And today we have another story of Hermiston police curtailing graffiti spreaders.

Anybody who sits at a railroad crossing along the Union Pacific tracks gets a multi-car reminder of damage caused by taggers.

Some would suggest graffiti is art and would go so far as to suggest it is even an extension of First Amendment rights.

Baloney - on both counts. It's vandalism to public and private property and, almost without exception, unwanted.

Thousands of dollars in public funds are consumed cleaning up after spray- painting, would-be artists.

In the Hermiston cases, the police have done their job. If those involved are found guilty, we hope the court sees fit to send a strong message.

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