SUFFIELD — Two local women have organized a car parade called “Back the Blue Parade” that will pass by the Suffield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks police departments Thursday evening to show support and appreciation for the work officers and first responders do.
According to co-organizer Jeannie Miller, such a show of support for police is needed given the nationwide protests decrying police brutality, with activists calling for the defunding of police departments. She felt local officers should know they are appreciated and respected.
Miller said the parade is not intended as a protest or response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which has called for changes in policing and an end to racial injustice. The parade is separate, and just a way to show local police that the community cares about them, she said.
Miller said parade participants will begin gathering around 6:45 p.m. Thursday at the Shamrock Café, located at 1117 East St. South. The parade will begin at 7 p.m.
From the Shamrock Café the parade will pass by the Suffield Police Department, then head to the Windsor Police Department, and finally the Windsor Locks Police Department, before ending up back at the café, she said.
The parade will be led by two state police troopers on motorcycles, she added.
The three police departments that will be visited know the parade is happening, and Miller hopes some members of each will be able to witness it. Even if some can’t because they’re on duty responding to a call, they’ll at least know the parade is happening, and so will residents of each of the towns.
Anyone who wants to can join the parade. Miller is encouraging participants to decorate their vehicles or fly an American flag.
Parade co-organizer Erica Rozanski, owner of the Shamrock Café, said she believes law enforcement and first responders deserve gratitude from the community for their work. The parade is meant as a thank-you to keep their spirits up, she said.
Also, many police officers were great about helping out with various birthday and other celebratory car parades during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and now it’s their turn to be celebrated, Rozanski said.