GERMANTOWN HILLS, Ill. (WMBD) — Taking a stand Thursday, Germantown Hills residents and visitors from across Illinois packed a parking lot outside of the village hall.
The “Support the Blue” rally brought out hundreds of people, dozens of them holding the “thin blue line” flag, also known as the police flag.
Allison Salinas of Peoria, said a proposal to remove the American Flag and police flag sparked action. Rally participants gathered to take a stand. They said the flags should remain in the village.
“That’s where our freedoms stands, that’s where our justice stands and that’s the respect for the men and women who serve this country,” Salinas said.
Brent Rohman, a retired federal law enforcement officer, said he will always support police officers, adding being in law enforcement is one of the toughest jobs you can imagine.
“These people put their lives on the line all the time day in and day out for very little in return,” Rohman said.
Woodford County Sheriff, Matt Smith was at the rally and said he is gracious for community backing. Sheriff Smith said all police officers are not bad police officers, he believes most of them are good. He said he hopes more people can learn to lean on them.
“To have the public trust it is very important to law enforcement it helps us do our job better so when there is a rally like this and you see the overwhelming support that kind of emboldens police that in our community the people feel we are doing the right thing,” Sheriff Smith said.
The sheriff and some participants agreed that police officers should still receive more training, adding there is always room for improvement. Sheriff Smith said people should not be scared of the police and in order to bridge that gap he said there needs to be more community policing.
At the rally Thursday, one of the speakers cheered telling rally participants the Germantown Hills board decided against removing the American Flag and the police flag.