A pro-police rally is planned in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to show support for law enforcement at a time when departments nationwide have come under scrutiny for officer-involved shootings and a handful of police killings have left officers feeling increasingly under siege.
The “Sea of Blue” march, organized by the wives of three local police officers who work in the Metropolitan Police Department and the Prince George’s County Police Department, is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday at the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Northwest.
“We were just so tired of watching our husbands come home day in and day out feeling deflated,” said organizer Kelly Wince, whose husband works in MPD’s 7th District. “They just really felt like no one was supporting them anymore.”
Amid a backdrop of national demonstrations against police brutality in the wake of several highly publicized killings of unarmed civilians, both government officials and protesters have been criticized for anti-police rhetoric.
The tense climate, coupled with extra shifts local police have had to work to staff such protests, have recently eaten away at officers’ morale but Ms. Wince said that she’s seen the need to organize something like Saturday’s rally for some time.
“Do I think some of the things going on today have beaten them down more? Yes. But I think this is long overdue,” Ms. Wince said.
The final straw for her was when a man ambushed and fatally shot two New York City police officers in December.
“I want our officers to know we care about them,” Ms. Wince said. “Our guys go out every single day and put their lives on the line. I don’t know if my husband is coming home every night.”
The D.C. rally follows in the footsteps of a December event in Cleveland that drew thousands. Similar Sea of Blue events drawing smaller crowds have also been held in cities across the country.
Saturday’s event will begin at noon with a moment of silence. Attendees will then march to the Capitol, where a series of speakers will address the crowd.
Organizers say speakers will include Craig Floyd, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund; Terrance W. Gainer, retired Senate Sergeant at Arms; and numerous family members of law enforcement officers who have either been killed or injured in the line of duty.
Asked about concern of any potential community backlash to the event, Ms. Wince said the rally is meant to unite not divide police and the communities they serve.
“It is about the officers but it is about bringing the community back together again,” she said.