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Arlington firefighters, citizens show support for police

 

Christopher Andersson

Firefighter Zach Hanson, left, and firefighter/EMT Chris Peterson put a stripe on the back of an Arlington food truck to show support for Arlington police and police across the nation on July 29.

Many Arlington residents are now sporting a blue stripe on their car to show their support of local law enforcement.

Members of the Arlington Fire Department and Presidents Elementary PTA worked on July 29 to provide the tape stripes to any citizen who stopped by the school with their vehicle.

After the July 7 killing of police officers in Dallas and other similar incidents, Fire Chief Bruce Stedman said he wanted to show solidarity for Arlington's police.

"What's going on today is absolutely ludicrous, that our police officers are being assassinated," he said.

"This is an opportunity for the Arlington Fire Department and the [Presidents Elementary] PTA to show support for Arlington Police Department and also law enforcement officials across the country," he said.

Many police departments run a "mourning band stripe" over their badges when one of their officers dies in the line of duty and until that officer is buried.

Arlington's fire department members have been wearing the stripe along with the police.

"That's just another way of showing police officers support, that we have their back," said Stedman.

Stedman saw a citizen in south Snohomish County with a blue line on their car, and thought it was another way to show public support.

After posting pictures of the department's vehicles, a lot of the public asked "hey, can we do that as well?" said Stedman.

Stedman worked with the Presidents Elementary PTA to set up the event for July 29 to help citizens do just that. Firefighters and PTA officials helped tape cars on that day for citizens who wanted to show solidarity with police.

Kimberly Casteel, secretary of Presidents Elementary PTA, police department volunteer and organizer of the event said that the local group was glad to help.

"We've been doing a lot of stuff in the school with the K-9 unit, so they've formed a really good relationship with the PTA, so the PTA jumped at the chance to help," she said.

During the first hour volunteers provided stripes to about one car each minute.

Casteel said it was good to see the community involvement at the event.

"Arlington has been good at embracing their law enforcement and firefighters, so this is another way to show they care," she said.

Stedman said he believes Arlington, in general, is friendly toward their law enforcement officers.

"I truly believe that the vast majority of Americans support the police department but they don't know how to show that support," he said.

Arlington Police Chief Jonathan Ventura said the recent events can sometimes be "overwhelming" for police officers, but shows of support can be helpful.

Christopher Andersson

Captain Scott Hillis helps affix a blue stripe on the back of a truck as a symbol to show support for police on July 29.

"It's incredible for our guys. This is a hard time for law enforcement," he said.

"There's sometimes a feeling that the public is not with us," said Ventura.

Stedman, who previously served as the Public Safety Director for the city overseeing the police department, is very familiar with many in the department.

"I know these people and I'm extremely impressed at their dedicated hard work and at times I don't know how they come back to work," he said.

Ventura said that many citizens have also brought in other shows of support to the department, like cookies, 'thank you' cards and food.

He also believes that the Arlington community as a whole believes in the police department.

"It's a lot of trust the community has to put into a department, and that means a lot of work from us to maintain that trust," he said.

 

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