Hundreds march in Virginia Beach to support law enforcement

Posted at 8:02 PM, Jan 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-03 22:40:06-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Hundreds gathered Saturday afternoon at Town Center to show support for law enforcement  all over the country.

"I've got to imagine they're feeling pretty bad about their job right now and I'd like for them to see this and say 'you know, people do care,'" said Glenn Rosso, an event organizer.

The crowd walked from Pembroke Mall across the street to Town Center.  Some carried signs reading - "Blue Lives Matter Too" or simply "Thank You."

"It's important just like when you support the soldiers," said a member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, "When we go overseas, we're the first line of defense.  Here at home, these police officers are our first lines of defense."

"The community's got to realize they're not the bad guys," said Linda Colon, a former 911 dispatcher.

The march was held because of recent events nationally, but one of the organizers says it was not intended to be political.  It was a chance to show officers that the community is behind them.

"I just wanted to come out and say 'look, we support you, we've got you, we understand the job that you have and we just want to pat you on the back.'  We're not taking sides either way, we all have our opinions but ... this is not what that's for, this is for just saying thanks," said Rosso.

It was also a somber reminder of the dangers police officers face everyday.  After reaching Town Center, people stood quietly as the names of fallen officers were read out loud.

The show of support from so many, is something police officers at the event say was important to see.

"As a police officer, I know how important it is to have the community's support and know that people trust us,"  said John Sandhofer, an ODU Police Officer, "Police officers have to make split-second decisions in order to save lives, and that's why we're out here doing what we're doing.  We're out here saving lives and hopefully preventing some crime."

A small group of people calling for police accountability gathered across the street during the march.  That held signs that read things like, "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace."