Crowd gathers to "Back the Blue"

Crowd gathers to "Back the Blue"

LAWTON, Okla._More than 100 people gathered at Lawton's City Council meeting Tuesday to show their support for the police department.

The "Back the Blue" movement, in part, shows the community's support of the ongoing contract talks with the city. The two sides have been negotiating for the past few months on a new deal to replace the contract that expired July 1. Tuesday, the City Council met in executive session to get an update on the negotiations, but when they returned to the chambers, there was no action taken.

While the pay raises and the officer shortages have been a hot topic, Tuesday's display of support was about more than that. The "Back the Blue" movement is designed to show Lawton police officers the community they protect and serve appreciates them.

"The citizens in this town are very supportive of the police department, we know it's a hard time to be a police officer," said Pamela Williams, a spouse of a police officer.

With officers across the nation being targeted and killed by members of their own communities, the "Back the Blue" movement is hopeful Tuesday night's display of support will put Lawton police officers at ease.

"There are people and probably the majority of people who've remained silent thus far, who do support them and that the reports that we hear in the media are not indicative of the way most citizens feel about law enforcement," said Michelle Churchwell, a spouse of a police officer.

A strong law enforcement is a key part of maintaining a safe community.

"It's not personal, it's not just a bunch of spouses who are worried about our men and women in blue. It is about our community. It's about being a safe place that we can all go out in public and not worry about fear and looking over our shoulder," said Lauri Porter, a spouse of a police officer.

At the end of the day, Porter said it's imperative the officers know they serve citizens who respect and care for them.

"We love them. That our community backs the officers so the officers know the community loves them," Porter said.

Churchwell said they will be putting on events designed to get families to interact with the men and women in blue, so the community can see and value them in a positive light.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, the City Council turned down a proposal to decrease the amount of liability insurance required for owners of dangerous dogs. It was brought to the table by Councilman Dwight Tanner, who thought the $1 million amount that the council established in July was too steep, considering most home insurance policies include a pet liability line. However, the council voted 6-1 to keep the policy in place.