Around 50 people took to the sidewalks around the Ogle County Courthouse on June 20 to let local law enforcement officers know they have their support.
“We just wanted to show support for our police, fire, and EMTs,” said Diane Schrimpsher of Oregon, who suggested the event with her husband, Gary, on social media.
Those attending the “Police Appreciation Walk” walked around the historic courthouse square carrying signs that read “Ogle County Supports Our Police” and “We Support and Pray for Our Police.”
“I just mentioned it in on a Facebook group,” Gary said of the event. “I’m not an organizer. This isn’t by me – it’s by the community. You just see on TV everybody kicking the cops down and that’s not what average Americans want. We’re not disagreeing with anybody, except cop haters, the ones you see on TV throwing rocks and things.”
He said while there might be some “bad” police officers, the vast majority are not.
“There might be some that are bad, but they [protesters] make you think they are all bad, and it’s not that way,” Gary said. “We just started planning this a couple of days ago. It just goes to show that most of the community feels like we do.”
John Tuttle of Oregon said 99.9% of police “serve and protect.”
“That’s what they do,” Tuttle said. “I’ve always been treated well whenever I’ve been stopped.”
Joy and Don Groenhagen, also of Oregon, took part in the walk to support local police.
“We think they need all our support now,” Joy said. “You can’t abolish cops. You have to have law and order, otherwise there’d be chaos.”
The Schrimpshers purchased 30 gift certificates from the Oregon Sunrise restaurant to give to local officers. They presented 9 of those certificates to Oregon Police Chief Shawn Melville, who stopped by at the start of the walk.
“We love our community and we support our community,” Gary said. “I was so surprised by how many people drove by honking and waving.”