NAMPA — A few hundred people gathered Monday evening at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa for “Back the Blue,” an event aimed at supporting law enforcement officers across the state.
Organizer Joe Anderson said all proceeds will be donated to the Idaho Peace Officer Memorial, The Canyon County Thin Blue Line of Hope, Meridian Police Employees Association (Fallen Officer Fund) and Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS), both locally and nationally.
Monday’s event featured multiple speakers, including:
- Gov. Brad Little
- Dr. Darrin Porcher, a former New York police lieutenant and U.S. Army officer
- Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin
- Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue
- Meridian Deputy Police Chief Tracy Basterrechea
- Paul Butler, a 27-year law enforcement veteran and police chief from South Carolina
- Boise Police Cpl. oe Andreoli
Many speakers touched on the growing push nationwide for police reform, which has prompted protests against police brutality and racial injustice throughout the country, including in Boise.
Basterrechea told the audience police officers help keep cities in the United States from plunging into anarchy, saying “the thin blue line may be the only thing holding our democracy together.”
Basterrechea also recognized that there are some officers who are unfit to serve on the force.
”Are there officers who don’t deserve to wear the badge? Yes,” he said. “It is our duty to weed those who don’t deserve this honor out.”
Porcher, who provided the keynote address, echoed Basterrechea’s sentiments, and spoke on the need for community support as well.
“There’s been a state of radicalism that’s been plaguing the country and separating law enforcement and the community, and it’s ultimately leading to the destruction in those communities,” he said. “We need both entities to coexist as one. … The police can’t do it alone, they need your support.”
Porcher said coming to Idaho was a “breath of fresh air,” in part due to the immense support for law enforcement in the state, as evidenced by the amount of people attending Monday’s event.
“That’s not happening here in Idaho, and that will never happen here in Idaho,” he said of the anti-police sentiment seen in some parts of the country. “You have the power to make your society great or have your society fall into the ocean. It’s in your hands. I’m saying this as a tourist, you’re doing a great job. … You are setting the tone — this is what the rest of the nation needs to pay attention to.”