GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Nearly 100 people formed a 'blue line' at Gulfport's Jones Park on Saturday as part of the National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
The human line along the park's walkway went beyond words of support.
The appreciation day had triple the meaning for organizer Kristin Stachura Allen, who is married to a police officer and has two brothers also in law enforcement.
"It's a humbling experience, and I know that today is something that they need. They don't need just to hear it, they need to see it, and that was our whole goal in all this is," said Allen. "..to make sure they know and see our love, support and appreciation for them. I'm very thankful that I'm blessed with a family full of those who love to help other people."
Almost 2,000 people were invited to the event, which drew law enforcement representatives from all along the Coast.
Tom Wilkie, a Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Deputy and former Biloxi police officer, came all the way from Florida. Wilkie believes law enforcement officers are experiencing bad times.
"Yes, it is. I comment to several people that we're the bad guys now," Wilkie said. "And, that's sad."
The effort was well received by three-year Gulfport Police Officer Landon Williams.
"It means a lot. It shows the support from the community," Williams said. "With all the things going on today, today's world and how the media and people scrutinizing the police in general, it gets everybody together and you can actually see the support that everybody's showing."
The show of support also meant a lot to Landon's wife, Stephanie Williams, who lives in fear every day.
"It's been scary since day one when he told me he wanted to be a police officer," Stephanie said. "I supported him all the way but in the back of my mind I was terrified. But each day I support him in every decision that he makes."