Com­mu­nity dis­plays ap­pre­ci­a­tion for po­lice

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Gin­ger Rae Dun­bar gdun­bar@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @GingerDun­bar on Twit­ter

DOWNINGTOWN >> Some­times sup­port can go a long way, even as high as the sky.

Downingtown Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cers and staff re­cently re­ceived sup­port from the com­mu­nity dur­ing the last Sum­mer Jam series, a com­mu­nity event. At that time, peo­ple could sign their name and write a mes­sage on a bal­loon. About 35 bal­loons with mes­sages writ­ten on both sides were then brought over to the Mu­nic­i­pal Hall and dis­played on the flag pole that Fri­day night.

“Boys in blue,” one bal­loon reads, “we love you!”

Many of the bal­loons said thank you and were signed by name or a busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“Thank you for all you do!” The Burns fam­ily signed the bal­loon.

Sev­eral mes­sages also in­cluded thank­ing the po­lice for their ser-

vice, for a job well done, pro­tect­ing the com­mu­nity and for mak­ing the com­mu­nity a safe place to live.

Downingtown Po­lice Chief Howard Hol­land said they trea­sured the “very sup­port­ive” mes­sages that en­cour­aged them. Some mes­sages were ad­dressed to the “won­der­ful crew” that “keeps us safe.”

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the con­tin­ued sup­port from the com­mu­nity mem­bers,” Hol­land said.

They also re­ceived that same sup­port from the lo­cal elected of­fi­cials.

Bor­ough Coun­cil­woman Ann Feld­man wrote, “thank you for your ser­vice!” Downingtown Mayor Josh Maxwell wrote, “Thank you for rep­re­sent­ing the best of Downingtown. Hash­tag small town heaven. Ap­pre­ci­ate your lo­cal ser­vice.” State Rep. Harry Lewis, R-74, of Caln, and his staff thanked the of­fi­cers “for all you do. Stay safe.”

The po­lice were also thanked by the res­i­dents for all their ef­forts dur­ing “hard days” and say­ing “all lives mat­ter.” Sev­eral signed their bal­loons with “much love.”

The sup­port­ive event oc­curred af­ter na­tional protests in the sum­mer fol­low­ing po­lice shoot­ings in July that killed Al­ton Ster­ling in Ba­ton Rouge, Louisiana, and Phi­lando Castile in St. Paul, Min­nesota, both black men. Ten po­lice of­fi­cers were killed in the line of duty na­tion­wide that same month, in ad­di­tion to sev­eral who were in­jured. Event rep­re­sen­ta­tives said that de­spite the tim­ing of na­tional protests and duty deaths, the event was de­vel­oped to show sup­port to po­lice for their lo­cal as­sis­tance.

The Down­ing­townThorn­dale Cham­ber of Com­merce wrote, “God bless all of you. Thanks a mil­lion. Thanks for be­ing there.”

Hol­land noted that Mario Spoto and Hank Hamil­ton from the Downingtown-Thorn­dale Cham­ber of Com­merce in­quired about the com­mu­nity out­reach the po­lice depart­ment has in the bor­ough and East Caln, where the depart­ment serves. Hol­land pro­vided them with a list of the 56 events the Downingtown Po­lice Depart­ment as­sists with, in­clud­ing drug take-back events ev­ery Oc­to­ber, 5K events, pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity at the Downingtown high school foot­ball games and more.

Hol­land said the cham­ber mem­bers knew about their ad­di­tional pub­lic ser­vice, and were pleas­antly sur­prised at such a high amount of events that the po­lice of­fer their as­sis­tance. He said the cham­ber mem­bers, who wanted to be sup­port­ive of the po­lice, de­vel­oped the idea to honor the po­lice at the Sum­mer Jam in Au­gust.

“The best pro­tec­tion for the best com­mu­nity,” an­other bal­loon states. “Thanks!”

The Downingtown Sum­mer Jam Series is held the last Fri­day of each sum­mer month at the Con­cert Gazebo in Kerr Park with live mu­si­cal acts, lo­cal crafters, food and beer. The Downingtown Main Street As­so­ci­a­tion co­or­di­nated the series, a free event to the pub­lic.

“Thank you so much,” wrote Jor­dan, 5, of Downingtown. “Pro­tect and serve.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Com­mu­nity mem­bers wrote sup­port­ive mes­sages on bal­loons to the Downingtown Po­lice Depart­ment of­fi­cers and staff, which were dis­played at Bor­ough Hall and the po­lice sta­tion.

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