By Lourice Angie
The Warwick community gathered on Sat., July 19 with county officials, law enforcement agencies and the families of fallen police officers, veterans and local organizations for a peaceful ‘Back the Blue’ rally at Veterans Memorial Park in Warwick. The purpose of the event was to show support and appreciation for law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk while serving and protecting the community and standing against racism and hate.
The ‘Back the Blue’ message is one directed to law enforcement officers. Many people from the Warwick community and throughout the county want to remind police officers that they have supporters near and far. Their focus at the rally was on facilitating communication between citizens and law enforcement officers that will encourage and provoke a positive change.
Hundreds of people attended the rally showing support by wearing law enforcement T-shirts, waving flags and adorning their vehicles and motorcycles. The large crowd peacefully bowed their heads as Pastor Jarrod Jones led them in a prayer for the safety and protection of all police officers. There were several speakers during the rally including Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, New York State Senate candidate Mike Martucci and Orange County Undersheriff Ken Jones.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus spoke out against racism and hate and the important roles and sacrifices of law enforcement officials in Orange County.
“When you call 911 for a fire, EMS or police call, we don’t ask what color you are or what sex you are – we send people to help you. I am proud to stand with my friends in law enforcement and firmly believe that public safety starts with a healthy relationship between the police and the public.”
Last year while being deployed overseas, Neuhaus explained how his special operations task force was combined with roughly a quarter of law enforcement officials including members of the NYPD, NYS and local Police departments and Deputy Sheriff’s – all of which worked together in Iraq.
“People who are veterans and have been overseas can agree there is a fine line between a civil society and complete chaos and that line is blue. I think there is a lot of healing needed in our country but we’ve got to stand up, recalibrate and move forward.”
Neuhaus went on to explain that it is important to support Orange County’s law enforcement and respect their commitment, dedication, and bravery.
“We’re willing or rather, volunteer to die for people we don’t know in order to protect them. There are very few occupations that are willing to make that sacrifice. We stand against racism and back the blue,” said Orange County Undersheriff Ken Jones.
The event was organized by local retired law enforcement officers, the PTSD and suicide awareness organization and with the help of the Hugs for Courage organization. Event Organizer Angel Maysonet and his wife, Peggy, who are both retired NYPD Detectives of Puerto Rican descent, and have been Warwick residents for 15 years spoke during the rally.
“The narrative that Warwick is a racist town is nonsense. I have never felt oppressed by anyone in Warwick,” said Angel Maysonet. “Police officers are currently the most marginalized members of society, without a doubt. We are judged by the uniform that we wear and the shield that we proudly pin on our chest and not by the content of our character. We don’t pick and choose who we’re going to help and what crimes are going to take place, so that we can go harass people of color. That’s not what we do.”
Carmela Borrazas, from the Hugs for Courage Organization, who assisted Maysonet with organizing the ‘Back the Blue’ event said, “This community is a great and a very selfless one, but not all people have a voice they can use. Hugs for Courage has helped create a spotlight for men and women that need a voice. We have their backs. We are unafraid! God bless you all and God bless the USA.”
On Sat., July 18, hundreds of people gathered at Veterans Memorial Park in Warwick, for a ‘Back the Blue’ rally in support of all law enforcement officers.
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus discusses the importance of law enforcement within the communities during the’ Back and Blue’ rally in Warwick on Sat., July 18.
People who attended the ‘Back the Blue’ police rally in Warwick, showed support for law enforcement while standing against racism & hate.
Many people who attended the police rally in Warwick waved flags & held up signs in support of law enforcement.
The ‘Back the Blue’ rally in Warwick on Sat., July 16, showed support & appreciation to all law enforcement officers who put their lives at risk while serving communities in Orange County.