JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - On Sunday, organizers put together a rally for law enforcement support. The motive comes as officers have been scrutinized after multiple officer-involved shootings. Organizers say the men and women in blue have been getting backlash from the communities they’ve sworn to protect.
The rally attracted supporters of all ages, colors and backgrounds. The main message: trying to bring unity and support to the officers who lay their lives on the line every day.
“Police need to know, that people got their back,” said Dave Clark, who is a law enforcement supporter.
Clark traveled across the bridge from his home in the Portland neighborhood in Kentucky to Jeffersonville, Indiana to exercise his first amendment right.
“Police have a tough job,” Clark said. “[Officers] don’t always get it right, but more times than not, they do. They’re out chasing the people, citizens won’t chase themselves. They’re cleaning up our neighborhoods; white, Black, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter.”
The rally started off with people peacefully getting together, standing up for the men and women who leave their homes everyday, not knowing whether they’ll return to their families.
Tamara Watson was one of those first responders. Watson is now a retired a state trooper who worked in the streets of Indiana. Since the civil unrest, she tells WAVE 3 News she’s been asked multiple times to return to the force.
Watson says ISP has asked her to come back as a Community Resource Officer to bridge the gap between the community and police.
“That’s where we need to focus our effort,” Former Trooper Watson said. “Identifying the problems, removing them and moving forward in a positive manner.”
Watson says if there is one thing people take away from this rally; they’re not protesting. They’re trying to teach what it means to be a man or woman with a badge.
“It is our defense against chaos, it is our order,” Watson said. “Right now in our society, law enforcement thrown under the bus. Do we need change? Absolutely, we need change. Do we need community buy in? Yes, because law enforcement and keeping our community safe is a team effort.”
Like most people at the rally, Watson says they’re fighting for the same thing protesters are. Change in the right places and to come together.
“We’re so polarized right now, the division is so deep,” Watson said. “We’re not able to have really good conversations about where does the change need to happen, how does it need to happen. I will also tell you; if you have corruption, it starts at the top. Change starts at the top.”
Black Lives Matter protesters also showed up to the Back the Blue rally. Many with signs and speakers trying to disrupt the peaceful gathering.
Most people in attendance for Back the Blue rally wanted to keep the peace.
Tamara Watson spoke over the microphone and told rally attendees, it is the protesters right to express their opinions and speak on behalf of their First Amendment right. Watson added to avoid any confrontation, she asked Back the Blue attendees to not engage unless there was going to be a productive conversation.