By Susannah Sudborough / email@example.com
TAUNTON — In a show of support for police during a time of national debate on the role of policing, City Councilor John McCaul is organizing an opportunity for residents to express their gratitude to Taunton police.
The Blue Light Night will happen Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. Residents and businesses who wish to participate need simply light up a blue light on their porch or outside their business at that time.
“When I grew up, I was taught to respect law enforcement, and I don’t see that much going on right now,” McCaul said. “I think that’s totally wrong.”
McCaul said he was inspired by people in Huntsville, Alabama, who called the police department one night saying there was a citizen in need. When the officers got on scene, the whole neighborhood was lit up with blue lights on their porches.
“They were saying thank you to the police officers, showing unity in their community,” McCaul said. “And I thought it was an awesome idea. And I said ‘Why can’t we try and do something like this?’”
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McCaul said he has been dismayed by the sometimes violent protests and “defund the police” movement. He said he would like to see an open dialogue between parties instead.
“When you get into a situation at home — your house gets broken into, you call the police. If something is an emergency at home — you call the police,” he said. ”...If I was a police officer and I saw the whole community supporting the police department, it would make me feel like I’m doing my job....People do respect me and thank me for what I’m doing.”
That is exactly the effect the Taunton Police Department said this has on them: “We would like to offer our sincere appreciation to our community for organizing and participating in a Blue Light Night,” the department said in a statement.
“To pass by a business or home and see a blue light, symbolizing support and partnership with our residents, humbles our officers which are committed to supporting and protecting such a great community.”
Mayor Shaunna O’Connell also expressed her support for the initiative: “I’m proud to support the men and women who protect our community every day. Taunton police officers are personally invested in our city. They are involved in the UNITE Team, the Taunton Opiate Task Force, and many community outreach and engagement initiatives that help countless individuals. I want to thank Councilor McCaul for encouraging our community to show their support.”
So far, McCaul has been spreading the word through Facebook and word of mouth, but he said anyone with questions can email or call him. Those who want to participate, he said, can purchase blue lights through Amazon, Home Depot, Ace Hardware or Lowe’s.
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