A group of citizens in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has purchased ad space on billboards in the city to show their support for the men and women in blue, in an effort to push back against the attacks on the law enforcement community amid nationwide anti-police protests.
What are the details?
The Argus Leader reported the campaign was launched by Kirby Proehl, who decided to buy two billboards at the beginning of the effort. But when word got out, money started pouring in.
“What compels me, and so many others working with me, is to say thank you to the overwhelming amount of ethical law enforcement out there, at a time when they need to hear it most,” Proehl told the newspaper. “Police have a very difficult job. In the current environment, they have nearly an impossible job.
“So, let’s offer some humanity when it seems to be in limited supply today because I believe it to be contagious,” he added. “And if law enforcement feels the compassion, I assure you that they will spread it too when they are out protecting our community.”
The quiet effort started by Proehl has spread. Another member of his group, Rob Thurston, explained that their goal for the campaign “is extremely large.”
They want to see other communities in the Midwest join them in sending the simple message displayed on billboards in their city: “THANK YOU LAW ENFORCEMENT. Paid for by your law abiding citizens.”
The effort in Sioux Falls comes after weeks of protests in the U.S. sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody. The movement has spurred a push by activists calling for the “defunding of police.”
Riots have also devolved into vandalism during several demonstrations, often leaving behind anti-police graffiti in their wake. Several police officers have also been killed in the violence.
The backlash against police is taking its toll. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms (D) told CNN that she believes morale in her city’s police department is down “tenfold,” and the outlet reported that one Los Angeles Police Department supervisor told them morale in his department “is the worse he’s seen it since the aftermath of the 1992 riots.”