Talented news intern Megan Burbank contributed to this post.
Last night, roughly 20 people—friends, families, and supporters of Seattle Police officers—rallied outside the West Precinct to show support for a department full of men and women who, they say, have been unfairly characterized by a few explosive events in Seattle over the past year. The rally was spearheaded by several wives of officers and wasn't sanctioned by SPD.
- "I needed to be here to show that someone appreciates and supports them." -Candace, a wife of an SPD officer who says she's "not from around here."
Most of the ralliers were women and many admitted that they didn't live or work in Seattle, and so couldn't speak to questions on what, if anything, SPD could do to improve the department's relationship with Seattle residents (the people these officers police, not come home to).
More pictures of ralliers and their stories after the jump.
- Negative media attention "affects our families" says Dusty Pruitt, right. "The positive stuff doesn’t make the media. It’s just a few isolated incidents. Cops saving puppies doesn’t make the news. They’re out to get a story.” Pruitt is the president of the Seattle Police Family Support Group. She lives in Renton with her daughter.
Carol Garcia, a Federal Way resident, handed out prayer cards to passersby, "so when you see an officer, you’re not scared of them, you just say a prayer for them.” Garcia said that SPD officers “could be a little nicer,” but that respect goes both ways, and that it’s probably more of a priority for everyone else to be nicer to the officers.
- "We live near where that cop was killed several years ago. These guys risk a lot, they have a tough job, and we're here to show our support." -Paul, a resident of Leschi.
Last week, an anti-police rally led by a small group of anarchists—Seattle's most credible lobbying force—locked down SPD's East Precinct. In February, another anti-police rally led to property damage and vandalism on Capitol Hill.
- "The police are here to serve and protect, and we should respect them. In China, you'd never be allowed to criticize officers. Here, we take them for granted. We don't thank them enough." -Eva Chapman, a mukilteo resident
Cars driving by the West Precinct at the tail end of rush hour honked encouragingly to the ralliers. Children ran around playing with signs and ribbons. Women stood around with their signs, sharing stories about how much they love officers. The vibe was festive, like a tea party. A gun-loving tea party.
- "We're thankful for all that they do for us—it's important that they know that." -April, a friend of SPD officers and an Auburn resident.
The next SPD support rally will be held at the SPD East Precinct on Monday, March 28th at 6:30 p.m., with subsequent rallies scheduled each week at each of Seattle's precincts.
- This little girl loves her dad.