Carson City to turn blue in support of law enforcement
In honor of National Police Week next month, Carson City is hoping to illuminate the city blue.
The city is participating in Shine Blue Lights, a national campaign where residents put blue light bulbs on their front porches in support of law enforcement. Event coordinators hope residents will participate not only for National Police Week — May 14-20 — but all year to show local law enforcement the community has their backs.
“Those of us who care need to show (law enforcement) that we are the majority and we will back the police and we respect the job they do,” said Chris Chrystal, one of the event organizers. “How else can you easily and conveniently make your voice heard? You are speaking out when you flick on that light.”
The event was created by four local women: Chrystal, Susan Sutton, Barbara Nicholas and Donna Schultz, after seeing all of the anti-police sentiment across the nation.
“We felt so awful about the murders of the police across the country and the shooting in Dallas last year left us upset and frustrated that there was nothing we could do,” said Chrystal.
A law enforcement friend of hers suggested Chrystal put a blue light on her porch to show her support for local officers.
“They look great and I felt like this was a small act to take to show police and the sheriff’s office deputies — who risk their lives every minute they are on duty, who risk their lives for us — if they are on patrol and see it, then maybe it will make them feel like they are supported,” Chrystal said.
So, the four decided to bring their idea to the city to see if they would drum up support on a larger level and they were met with overwhelming support from the city and Chamber of Commerce.
“Turning on a blue light is a simple but meaningful action we each can take to publicly display our appreciation for the men and women behind the badge who have our backs,” Mayor Bob Crowell said. “We support our brave officers who face danger — and possibly even death — every day, tackling criminal activity, answering frantic 911 calls and dealing with any emergency.”
The color blue signifies law enforcement, and Carson City officials decided it was time to flood the area with blue.
“If you were a sheriff’s deputy driving around at night, looking for signs of trouble, listening to the radio how would you feel (seeing that blue)?” Chrystal said. “If I was doing that and saw all the blue lights I think I would feel like we are all in this together and this community appreciates me and that would mean a hell of a lot to me in doing my work.”
And for the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, the support means a lot.
“We appreciate all the support the community has given us,” said Sheriff Ken Furlong.
Many community partners are also participating in the campaign, including the Downtown Business Association, WEDCO, Inc., Carson City Visitor’s Bureau and Nevada Sheriffs and Chiefs. Dick Campagni Auto Group is giving out free blue lights at their Toyota, Ford and Hyndai dealerships.
“The city came to us with the idea to do something for the fallen officers since it will be National Police Week and we thought it was a great idea and it is something everyone should be aware of,” said Dana Whaley, general manager for the Dick Campagni Carson City Toyota. “Our area is extremely safe and liveable because of our law enforcement.”
Whaley said he has had personal contact with the sheriff’s office when they have responded to alarm calls at the dealership and was in awe of the work the officers and the police K9s did. He said they are happy to support law enforcement past and present.
“This is just one way to thank the officers who risk their lives everyday for us and the ones who have lost their lives for this,” Whaley said. “It is important that everyone recognizes them and recognizes the fallen officers throughout the state and not just in Carson City.”
Dick Campagni dealerships ordered nearly 3,500 blue lights for citizens to get for free. They’re giving one bulb per household while supplies last. Whaley said he hopes to get whole streets to have blue lights shining.
In addition to the lights, crews spent Monday putting up blue bows across the capital to show support.
This is the first year the city has held this event, and to continue it in the future, Crowell issued a proclamation at the April 20 Board of Supervisors meeting, designating May as the Shine Blue Lights tribute and remembrance for all peace officers serving Carson City.
“As Nevada’s capital city, it is appropriate for us to establish Shine Blue Lights as an annual event to be observed every May,” Crowell said. “We hope it will encourage other cities around our state to get in the spirit and initiate a similar program so that all Nevada police officers, sheriff’s deputies and the Nevada Highway Patrol will receive visual support from the people they protect.”
The proclamation will be presented during the 20th Annual Nevada Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Ceremony on May 4. The annual event will be held at 1 p.m. at the Capitol Grounds.
The service will honor the 130 Nevada Peace Officers who have died in the line of duty since 1861. The last officer killed was Detective Chad Parque of the North Las Vegas Police Department who died Jan. 7 after succumbing to injuries sustained in a head-on auto crash. The last officer to be killed in the line of duty in Carson City was Deputy Carl Howell who died Aug. 15, 2015.
The event will begin with the Nevada Law Enforcement Honor Guard and the delivery of the annual runners memorial baton. The baton is run from Las Vegas to Carson City in the days leading to the ceremony, with each leg of the run completed in memory of each officer listed on the memorial.
There will also be a special ceremony and blue laser light demonstration May 3 from 8 to 10 p.m. at the memorial to rededicate the officers’ names.