HANFORD — Hundreds of people gathered Saturday morning to show their support for law enforcement during a “Back the Blue” rally.
The rally took place in front of the Kings County Sheriff’s Office on west Lacey Boulevard. Attendees waved American flags, “Thin Blue Line” flags and held posters supporting law enforcement as passing cars honked their horns in support.
Rally organizer Brad Beaumont said although he’s seen a lot of anti-police sentiment recently, he knows many people who support law enforcement and wanted to give them a way to show that support, so he decided to organize the rally.
He put the event on Facebook and it began to be shared, resulting in hundreds of supporters lining the block Saturday — more than he even expected.
“There are a lot of people who want to express their appreciation for law enforcement,” Beaumont said, adding he supports law enforcement officers because they are they to protect everyone, and it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing to support them.
Bea Chennault made posters and waved a thin blue line flag along with some members of her family at the rally.
Chennault said she has family members in law enforcement and attended the event to show her support for them. She said she is tired of seeing the violence and needless killing of both civilians and police officers across the nation.
“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she said, adding she believes there should be accountability all around. “It’s just craziness — it’s scary and sad that it’s come to this. We need prayer, that’s for sure.”
The American Warriors of California, a motorcycle organization that rides in honor of fallen soldiers, veterans and first responders, was asked to put together a small bike ride to show support at the rally, which member James Landolt said they were happy to do.
After putting the event information on social media, Landolt said dozens of riders from the Patriot Guard Riders, American Legion Riders, other clubs and organizations, as well as independent riders all showed up.
The riders drove by Hanford Fire Station 1, through downtown Hanford past the Hanford Police Department and then went to Lemoore and drove by Lemoore Police Department.
Landolt said the riders wanted to make sure law enforcement are seen in a positive way because he knows how negative rhetoric can affect officers’ mental health. He said so much attention is focused on bad events, which he believes should be addressed and corrected, but doesn’t feel like those instances should be the definition and face of all law enforcement.
“When you see support like this from your general community, it just lifts your spirits up,” he said. “It keeps you going and keeps you driving forward and knowing that you’re doing the right thing.”
Beaumont said many law enforcement officers are discouraged by how their careers are being portrayed and he hopes that other cities show their appreciation to their local agencies because the officers and deputies need to see that they are supported.
“I’m hoping things like this will boost morale and let them know that there are people out here that support them,” he said.
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