Despite recent backlash against law enforcement, communities across the U.S. continue to back the blue
With anti–law enforcement sentiment and calls to “defund the police” running rampant, it can seem like the nation has abandoned those who protect and serve. But people and organizations throughout the country are working hard to make it known that there are still plenty of those who love and support heroes in blue.
It can start small, like the story of two 9-year-old twins — Douglas and Devin Woody — in Texas. With everything going on, they wanted to show how much they appreciate their local police officers. So, with the help of their parents, they saved up money from doing chores and used it to buy $100 gift cards. They then gave those gift cards to the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Bells and Denison Police Departments. Recently, the Denison department also received some sweet treats from thankful youngster Liam, who dropped off a bag full of candy for the team.
Similarly, in Pennsylvania, a young girl named Lily Briggs decided she wanted to celebrate her 10th birthday in a special way. “I asked my friends to bring snacks and donations for the police instead of birthday presents,” Lily told Fox 8.
Before her birthday, Lily had a lot of questions about why people seemed to be so angry. Her parents explained the situation, and Lily decided she wanted to do what she could to support law enforcement.
“It was something that she came up with on her own,” her father, Jim, told Fox 8. “She wanted to do something, hearing about all the turmoil in the news.”
The guests at Lily’s party did as she requested, bringing food and other items that could then be forwarded on to local police. Guests also provided money, and Lily used the $500 she made to buy even more supplies for troopers. She picked out all the items herself.
Then there’s the two women in Tennessee who anonymously paid for the meal of Deputy Jody McDowell, who they saw eating next to them at a restaurant. Deputy McDowell thanked them for their generosity in a post on Facebook.
“I want to thank the two sweet Black ladies who paid for my breakfast this morning,” he said. “While waiting for a transport to be completed, I decided to have breakfast at a Cracker Barrel near the Nashville airport.”
The two women left the restaurant before anyone could get their names, but they left a note after paying for the meal. McDowell included a photo of the note with his Facebook post.
“BLM, but so does yours!” the note read. “Thank you for your service. Break-
In Polk County, Florida, law enforcement has seen a significant outpouring of support. People have gone out of their way to provide local officers with gifts and messages of encouragement and appreciation. Like the story in Tennessee, that includes officers having their meals taken care of.
“I have had several people, several deputies come to me and say, ‘I can’t even buy my own breakfast or lunch. I go to pay my ticket and they go, “Oh, it has already been paid,’” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told Fox 13, adding that he thinks public support for his deputies is now stronger than ever.
These are all stories of individual people showing their support by reaching out to law enforcement directly. Others have expressed their support by organizing large gatherings to amplify their voices.
In Utah, hundreds of people gathered in what they called a “Blue Rally” to show their gratitude to law enforcement. The rally was formed by former police officer Eric Moutsos and more than 300 people showed up, most of them wearing blue or carrying signs with messages of support for cops.
“We came out to support police because we think what’s going on right now [is wrong] and that they’re getting a raw shake,” Amy Rhodes, one of the attendees, told Deseret News. “We feel they just need all the support they
Similar events have been held across the country. In Georgia, a “Back the Blue” event attracted dozens of people. Officers also attended the event, giving them a chance to see for themselves the love and support people still have for them.
Officer Bryan Hunter of the Byron, Georgia, Police Department said the event boosted officers’ morale and showed them that people still care. Vienna Chief of Police Cozie Ray echoed those sentiments.
“I see a lot of people here I don’t even know, and they greeted me and welcomed me, and I thank God I could come out to this event,” Ray told Fox 24.
All of these stories are important to remind law enforcement officers that they are appreciated. Small gestures and large gatherings alike can go a long way toward improving morale during very trying times. To all the law enforcement officers out there, stay positive because you are respected and appreciated by more people than you think.
As seen in the August issue of American Police Beat magazine.
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