LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Community members in Long Beach gathered Wednesday morning to show their support for law enforcement. It was part of a nationwide movement as an answer to recent violence against police. The movement invited people to meet at police stations and pray.
It was less than a month ago that Michele Ponte saw a post on social media that caught her eye. The post was inviting people across the country to meet at their local police departments and pray. So, she wanted to make that happen in her hometown.
"Over half the country at this time on this day is meeting to pray over our law enforcement," said Ponte.
The event drew a healthy crowd of supporters greeting and thanking those who work to keep the city safe.
"It reminds us of why we decided to do this job in the first place," said Police Chief Wayne McDowell.
This kind of encouragement is what McDowell said lets the men and women on his force know that they are appreciated. It's part of a trend that McDowell has started to see recently.
"We've been seeing more and more people coming up to us, bringing stuff to us, telling us thank you. It just makes the community and the area so much better," said McDowell.
Those who came out say they wouldn't have missed it for the world.
"When I heard about it I thought we've got to do this," said Jim Delinski.
Delinski is retired and said he doesn't usually get up this early. But Wednesday was an exception he was happy to make.
"I think it's a good idea once in a while for the community to come out and say just thanks," said Delinski.
And saying thanks wasn't the only way this crowd was showing its support. Those gathered bowed their heads for a moment of silence and a police officer's prayer, led by Father Cuddy of Saint Thomas.
Throughout the crowd, you could spot blue ribbons worn to express appreciation and respect.
"That's our whole mission today; to give them a positive support. We are with you guys," said community member Myrna Jordan.