More than 50 people showed support for law enforcement officers Tuesday evening outside the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office station in Bradenton at a gathering hosted by the West Florida LEO Wives.
It was a small way for the group made up of law enforcement officers’ wives, girlfriends and significant others to take part in “Back the Blue,” a public awareness campaign dedicated to displaying public support for law enforcement throughout the United States.
The goal of what we’re trying to do is just show our support to Dallas — ‘We stand with you, we’re behind you 100 percent.’
Caitlin Smith of West Florida LEO Wives
Caitlin Smith, an organization members and wife of Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputy Brent Smith, passed out small cardboard posters used later to spell out messages such as “We Stand With Dallas Back The Blue” and “All Lives Matter.” A blend of sheriff’s office explorers and local residents held up signs, with members of the sheriff’s office standing behind them. Brent Smith took photos of the group.
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“I just wanted to let you guys know that West Florida LEO Wives, we really appreciate this,” Caitlin Smith told the crowd. “If you guys have wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiances that want to join, please find us on Facebook. We will be sending these out to Dallas PD and they have already told us they’ve seen all the pictures that everyone has been sending in and they really appreciate it. It’s really lifted morale.”
Aside from the photos with the messages of support, Smith said the group is also sending cards of appreciation and buying pizza for the Dallas Police Department.
It’s like I tell all my guys, it’s only a small percentage of the population that doesn’t like us. It’s all the other ones that do like us, is why we do our job.
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Sandra McIver
“The goal of what we’re trying to do is just show our support to Dallas. ... We stand with you, we’re behind you 100 percent,” Smith told a Herald reporter after the photo. “Not just to Dallas PD, but to Dallas as a whole. ... the entire city.”
Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Sandra McIver said last week’s fatal shootings in Dallas devastated her. It’s nice to know people are behind law enforcement, she pointed out.
“All week long, since the Dallas shootings, we’ve had people sending cards, sending emails, coming by the districts bringing food,” she said. “It’s like I tell all my guys, it’s only a small percentage of the population that doesn’t like us. It’s all the other ones that do like us, is why we do our job.”