‘Walk in Their Shoes’ to show support for police

From right, Crystal Rau of Felton; Susanne Whitney of Felton; Stephanie Cubbage of Hartly and Kristie Wyatt of Wyoming are the organizers of Saturday’s “Walk in their Shoes” event, which starts at 9 a.m. at Caesar Rodney High School. From there, participants will walk to the Camden Police Headquarters to show support for police officers throughout the state.  (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

From right, Crystal Rau of Felton; Susanne Whitney of Felton; Stephanie Cubbage of Hartly and Kristie Wyatt of Wyoming are the organizers of Saturday’s “Walk in their Shoes” event, which starts at 9 a.m. at Caesar Rodney High School. From there, participants will walk to the Camden Police Headquarters to show support for police officers throughout the state. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

CAMDEN — It’s time to show support for law enforcement officers, organizers of Saturday morning’s “A Walk in Their Shoes” event say.

The gathering is part of a larger National Thank a Police Officer Day designed to demonstrate public backing for those tasked with serving and protecting the community in an often hostile environment nationwide.

Locally, Stephanie Cubbage hatched the idea to organize an event to support for law enforcement, and police officer wives Crystal Rau and Susanne Whitney immediately joined the cause, along with Kristie Wyatt.

“We just want our officers to know they are not alone and that we stand with them and we back the badge,” said Mrs. Whitney, whose husband Mark is a corporal with the Camden Police Department.

“The profession that they have chosen is difficult on its best day and it should not be made worse by them having to

IF YOU GO What: A Walk in Their Shoes to support law enforcement officers. When: 9 a.m. Saturday Where: Starts at Caesar Rodney High at 239 Old North Road in Camden, then proceeds with a one-mile walk to the Camden Police Department at 1783 Friends Way

IF YOU GO
What: A Walk in Their Shoes to support law enforcement officers.
When: 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Starts at Caesar Rodney High at 239 Old North Road in Camden, then proceeds with a one-mile walk to the Camden Police Department at 1783 Friends Way

fear for their lives for doing a job.”

Citing an earlier conversation, Mrs. Whitney quoted Ms. Rau who said, “The silent majority does not want to remain silent any longer. We are giving them a platform to let their voices be heard.”

The event will begin with a 9 a.m. gathering at Caesar Rodney High at 239 Old North Road, followed by a one-mile walk to the Camden Police Department at 1783 Friends Way. A shuttle service for transport back to the high school will be available afterward.

Organizers urge participants to bring signs, banners, or balloons with words of support, while wearing blue and taking part with family and friends. There’s also a rally cry planned to “Back the Badge” as the planners put it:

“What we do … support the Blue! Now it’s time … to hold the line!”

Working in law enforcement for 10 years, Mrs. Wyatt said she’s now part of the “Blue family” and worries daily about the safety of her friends in uniform.

“When I go to bed each night, friends of mine are still on a shift,” she said. “I live in fear of waking in the morning and seeing a text that something terrible has happened to one of them.”

Added Mrs. Wyatt, “It seems the tide has changed in society regarding police and how they are viewed when doing their jobs to keep others safe, especially in the past 10 years.

“What’s bad is now considered good and what’s good is now considered bad. … We need to get back to what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.”

Interest grows quickly

Mrs. Whitney said she created a Facebook page on Sept. 3 to promote the event “and it just took off.” She said more than 2,000 invitations had been made in the first 24 hours, and more than 3,000 within five days. On Thursday morning, 4,600 had been invited, with 394 confirmed as going and 158 saying maybe.

Word of mouth has spread news of A Walk in Their Shoes, along with fliers distributed throughout the community.

Organizers said they considered possibly making Dover the gathering point, but decided ongoing tension there warranted going somewhere else and not adding pressure to law enforcement.

Camden Police Department was contacted, and the idea was met with approval by Chief William Bryson and Cpl. Whitney. The Caesar Rodney School District was OK with making Caesar Rodney as the starting point, Mrs. Whitney said.

Waves of community support through donations continue to arrive, providing food and drink and services to make the event a family-friendly gathering. A kids craft table will allow children to make their own thank you cards to first responders.

Mrs. Whitney said The Dover Air Force Honor Guard will begin the walk, and Stephanie Fellabaum will sing the national anthem through a portable sound system provided by June Jam Organizers. Ladder trucks from Dover and Little Creek will display an American flag between them.

Blue rubber wristbands with the slogan “Back the Badge” will be on sale. All donations will be sent to local law enforcement departments to buy supplies, organizers said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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