Businesses in downtown Mount Airy have begun displaying some extra lights — not to get an early start on the holiday season, but in recognition of a special week.
“The downtown businesses are honoring law enforcement by decorating and lighting their windows in police blue,” explained Melanie Jones, a founding member of the group Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department.
That is coinciding with the observance of National Law Enforcement Week, to recognize the service and sacrifices of officers to protect the community. Jones said this year is believed to be the first for such an activity among local merchants.
An impromptu tour through the downtown area Monday revealed the windows of several stores displaying lamps with blue bulbs, or strings of lights, and others are encouraged to show their support throughout the week.
“It might be a light or a candle,” said Cathy Stevens, the secretary of Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department.
“Some are being really creative with it and putting a strand around their windows,” Stevens added of merchants displaying blue lights this week.
City hall display
Another visual gesture lending support to local law enforcement involves a display on the lawn of the Mount Airy Municipal Building on South Main Street.
It features figures of a K9 officer and a police car outlined in lights to illuminate the display at night, and a large banner with the words “Thank you Mount Airy Police Department for all you do for our community.”
The items were placed at City Hall under the direction of Michella Huff, Mount Airy’s grounds and maintenance supervisor.
Other local activities planned in conjunction with National Law Enforcement Week include a poster contest at local schools focused on appreciation for officers, with winning entries to be displayed at the Mount Airy Police Department.
A memorial service was held Sunday at Calvary Baptist Church to kick off the week, which included recognition of the two police department members who have died in the line of duty, Henry Dow Kennedy in 1946 and Clinton Monroe Boggs in 1971.
The Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department was formed in 2011 as an offshoot of the Citizens Police Academy. Among other support, the group holds fundraisers to provide equipment not covered through the departmental budget.
It has been conducting a fundraising campaign in recent weeks as part of efforts to help the force acquire another K9 member, or dog, along with a SMART Board. The latter is an interactive whiteboard that can aid training and other purposes.
Tickets were sold during April for a prize-a-day-giveaway throughout this month, which Jones said has been “quite successful.”
She also mentioned that Friends of the Mount Airy Police Department is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to which citizens can make contributions to assist law enforcement efforts.
Anyone who would like to support the city police department may send donations to Friends of the MAPD, P.O. Box 6444, Mount Airy, NC, 27030.
“Everything we do is to benefit the police department,” Jones said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.