Photo: Participants at Saturday’s rally in support of the Belmont Police Department.
Despite a brilliant, cloudless day, the sun’s warmth was wanting Saturday, Jan. 10 as winter’s deep freeze arrived in Belmont.
The frigid conditions did not stop between 30 to 40 residents from rallying across Concord Avenue from the Belmont Police Stations at Town Hall to show and voice their support for the town’s law enforcement officers.
With signs proclaiming “Thank You,” “We Support Our Belmont Police” and “My Dad, My Hero,” the participants waved to vehicles passing along Concord Avenue just past noon, receiving honks and thumbs up from the motorists.
Thirteen-year-old Conner Shea was with his mother “supporting my dad” who is a Belmont Police officer. Karen Davison said, “all lives matter, including the police.”
For Belmont’s Lynne Mailhot, whose husband is a BPD sergeant, the few hours in the cold holding signs of support was worth the discomfort to show local law enforcement that their work is not being forgotten.
“With all the negative news directed at cops, we just want to come out to show that we support them,” said Mailhot, who helped organize the rally with fellow Belmont resident Kathleen Cowing whose husband is also on the force.
The rally comes after several high-profile incidents in which unarmed African-American men died during confrontations with law enforcement sparking a wave of protests and civil actions across the country – including in Belmont – for the past several months directed towards police and the justice system.
“They need a morale boost because the public perception of the police is not very good at the moment,” said Mailhot, who added Saturday’s action was not a counter-demonstration to those who have an opposing view.
“We just feel that our voices should also be heard,” she said.
Mailhot said Saturday’s gathering was proposed after about a dozen Belmont officers attended the funerals for New York City Police Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, who were shot on Dec. 20.
“It was really hard going to the services. You can imagine how much it hurt because they belong to this brotherhood,” Mailhot said.
Joan Seaver said unlike the work most people do for a living; the police live with an uncertainty that few would want to take on.
“A lot of us go to work in front of a computer with financial spreadsheets. These men and women don’t know if they are coming home at the end of their shift,” she said, saying that more police officers have been killed on duty in 2014 than in the previous decade.
For Mailhot, the rally was one way for those who support the police “can be more visible to the public.”
“And for those guys in the building in front of us.”