VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens of people from residents to elected officials gathered in Virginia Beach to show their support to law enforcement officers and first responders.
The “Back the Blue” event was held in front of the Virginia Beach Police Headquarters Saturday afternoon. Many gathered with signs and Thin Blue Line flags to show officers they have their backs during a time of turmoil nationwide.
Katrina Spivey, who helped organize the event, says it was put together to give people an opportunity to outwardly show their appreciation.
“It’s long overdue show of support,” she said. “I think the citizens wanted this, more than anybody, to have a place to come and show their support. They had no way of expressing it. This is a way of coming out and expressing it.”
Showing support hits close to home for Spivey.
“I’m not just a spouse of a police officer, I’m the mother of a police officer too. My husband’s out of the third [precinct]. My son’s out of the fourth. The past ten years, I’ve been more afraid for him than I ever had been in my life,” she said. “Our men and women are being hunted. They’re not appreciated. It’s a thankless job.”
But many who spoke at the event or showed up in attendance did just that. They thanked the first responders.
Interim Police Chief Tony Zucaro also thanked the crowd for their support. He expressed how important it is to have a partnership with the community.
“We’re open to comment. We’re open to criticism. But more importantly, we’re open to your partnership and support,” he said.
Zucaro also told the crowd that if they could only take away one thing from Saturday’s event, he hoped it would be that the police department is here to help the community.
Mayor Bobby Dyer says seeing this support from both residents and the police department is not only heartwarming but hopefully a template that other communities in the country can use to move forward.
“What makes the people of Virginia Beach so great are the people of Virginia Beach,” he said. “Our community, our unity, our law enforcement, our police, and everybody- they’re part of our community. they’re part of the DNA of our community,” he said.