Over 1,500 people lined Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station on Monday afternoon to show their support for the men and women in blue.
For three hours in 90-degree heat on June 22, people from across Long Island brought their black and blue flags, signs and apparel to say “thank you” to law enforcement, and voice that they want to defend the police, not defund it.
“There have been so many calls to abolish, dismantle and defund the police,” said organizer Jonathan Stuart. “We saw this and just wanted to give support to the police. We wanted to give them a sliver of a thank you.”
Planning for the event began about two-and-a-half weeks ago. Through a Facebook group, the page had over 2,000 shares with over 4,000 people interested. When the rally began at 3 p.m., the corner of routes 347 and 112 was completely filled.
Waving dozens of American flags into the street, people of all ages showcased their national pride. And although many signs and flags promoted President Donald Trump’s reelection this year, Stuart said the main focus of the rally was to not be political.
“I’m not democratic, republican or independent,” he told GreaterPortJeff. “I’m a citizen and I just believe in order and to have a safe society.”
Members from the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association and law enforcement motorcycle clubs stopped by and thanked the crowd for standing by their side.
“We were contacted by members of the community who have been outraged by anti-police rhetoric from the Black Lives Matter movement and from elected officials,” Noel DiGerolamo, president of the PBA said. “In an attempt to show support, we wanted to help organize a rally for the people who risk their lives every day.”
“The people in law enforcement are normal people just like us,” Stuart added. “I just believe they should be supported and that was our goal for today… to say thank you.”