By Rick Palsgrove
A caravan of police cruisers is a highlight of Light Ohio Blue week.
Light Ohio Blue week, which was held this year during National Police Week from May 14-20, began in 2016. The purpose of the campaign is to honor and pay respects to the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty as well as law enforcement personnel currently serving as sworn and civilian staff. It is held in coordination with National Peace Officers Memorial Day on May 15. As part of the week’s events, a caravan of dozens of police cruisers, with their lights flashing, passed through central Ohio the evening of May 17.
According to Obetz Police Chief Mike Confer, the Light Ohio Blue caravan will begin at the Statehouse in Columbus and will conclude its journey at the Ohio Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in London, Ohio, where a special ceremony will be held to honor the fallen officers.
The caravan will also pass through Pickerington, Kirkersville, Hebron, Heath, Newark, Granville, Pataskala, and downtown Columbus in that order.
“We encourage the public to line the route in remembrance of our fallen officers and support of our currently serving officers,” said Groveport Police Officer Ernie Bell
For a detailed map and schedule of the caravan visit www.lightohioblue.org.
“Light Ohio Blue is an annual campaign to show support and solidarity for law enforcement professionals and the role they play in our communities, day in and day out,” said Madison Township Police Chief Gary York. “But, more importantly, it is an opportunity for Ohioans to come together and lift up the families, friends, and departments who have lost a brother or sister in blue over the last year.”
“Light Ohio Blue is an important event as it helps to create awareness and show support for the law enforcement officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Confer. “It also serves as an opportunity for communities to express their gratitude to current officers who work tirelessly to ensure public safety. The event fosters a sense of unity and appreciation, strengthening the bond between law enforcement and the community they serve.”
Added Bell, “Light Ohio Blue is an organization that honors fallen police officers and keeps their memory alive and encourages a positive relationship between Law Enforcement and the public. The organization was started right here in central Ohio by a gentleman by the name of Bill Swank, he is an agent for Homeland Security. It has expanded rapidly to include the entire state of Ohio.”
According to Light Ohio Blue officials, this year and last, Ohio has lost six law enforcement officers in the line of duty.
“We can never remove the grief and trauma that these many families and agencies experience, but we can vow to never forget the officers and their families’ extreme sacrifice to their communities and to our state and nation,” according to a statement from Light Ohio Blue.
Citizens participated in Light Ohio Blue by placing a blue light bulb in their exterior porch lights; wrapping blue Christmas lights around homes and businesses; lighting up homes and businesses with blue flood lights; placing blue ribbons on mailboxes, nearby columns, or posts; and wearing blue on May 15.
“The blue porch lights, the folks who stand outside their homes to wave Thin Blue Line flags and cheer on the caravan, and the words and actions of support from strangers all carry such a positive affirmation for our men and women who don the badge every day,” said York. “Especially in today’s world, where law enforcement officers are often unfairly demonized, it has become imperative to respond to that negativity with integrity and professional, positive interactions.”
Confer said when officers see blue porch lights on people’s homes, it serves as a powerful visual reminder of the support they have from the community.
“This gesture of solidarity means a great deal to officers, providing a morale boost and a sense of encouragement during challenging times,” said Confer. “The simple act of lighting a blue porch light conveys a message of gratitude and respect for the officers’ dedication and sacrifice in their line of work.”
Bell said the blue lights remind the patrol officers that the public they serve supports and appreciates them.
“We have some homes that use blue lights all year round, not just during Police Month,” said Bell.
“We hope you will join us in supporting this meaningful event by lighting up your porch with a blue light during the campaign,” said Confer.
For information visit LightOhioBlue.org, or find Light Ohio Blue on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Tell the government they better start doing what they’re supposed to 😂 or u knows Patriots are going to have to rise up