Veterans Back the Blue event aims to show support for law enforcement

Published: Jun. 28, 2020 at 9:23 PM CDT
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People gathered in downtown Springfield Sunday, many to show their support for law enforcement.

The afternoon at Park Central Square was busy with "back the blue" speeches and chants, all aimed at showing support for law enforcement, not just in Springfield, but everywhere else, too.

The Veterans Back the Blue Rally and Walk was quite the opposite of recent protests against police brutality.

"Right now, there's a lot of strife going on in different communities and this community is experiencing a lot of hardship. So we just want them to understand and know that we're out there supporting them," said Noah Snelson, a former law enforcement officer who brought his family to the event.

Kerri Dutcher, a school resource officer, said it's disheartening for law enforcement to be constantly criticized while trying to serve the public.

"Even though there's a really loud voice of people who are against us, the silent majority are for us and that is encouraging me to encourage others," Dutcher said. "I know it's tough right now but this too will pass, keep your head up and hold the line."

Deputy Jason Winston, with the Greene County Sheriff's Office, said everyone has rights and freedoms, which is what law enforcement aims to protect.

"We wear this uniform, a badge and a gun and it tends to dehumanize us. We're people, too. We have families. We not only work in this community, we raise our families here, a lot of us were born and raised here, graduated high school here, so we're humans like everyone else," he said.

The rally turned into a walk to the Springfield Police Department, where SPD and the Greene County Sheriff's Office were given tokens of appreciation for their protection.

"We're so thankful for those who support and even those who don't support us, we're thankful for them too. That's their right to do so, that's not going to keep us from doing our job," said Deputy Winston. "We're going to keep doing our job to protect all sides and honor the oath that we took."

There was of talk during the rally about police accountability, which even the "back the "crowd supported, but their main hope for the event was to draw attention to the officers who regularly put their lives on the line for their neighbors.