HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A rally to support local law enforcement was in Holland’s Centennial Park, which featured a guest appearance from U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.
“The goal is just to send a message to law enforcement — not only local but nationwide — that we appreciate what they do,” said Kerri Pepoy, an organizer of the event. “And we want them to know that there are people in their communities that appreciate them.”
The rally started around 10 a.m. Saturday with plenty of political signs in the crowd despite the message being one of unity.
“I do have law enforcement in my family,” she said. “I have friends in law enforcement. That’s why it’s a big deal to me because I see the stress that they face and the danger they face. They’re risking their lives for us on a daily basis, and they get very little thanks for it.”
The star of the event was Huizenga, who talked about the importance of police in a community and speaking up.
“It’s sad that everything has become a political statement, from masks to whether you support the police or not,” he said.
Any opposition to the event was unnoticeable and the police presence was minimal.
Though there were a few officers in civilian clothes,those News 8 approached did not wish to comment.
“Simply because you’re here today does not mean you are against social justice,” said Huizenga. “And just because you were marching at some other rally doesn’t mean you’re against the police department.”
The rally came a day after 33-year-old Michigan State Police trooper Caleb Starr died. He was in the hospital for weeks after his cruiser was hit by a suspected drunk driver while on duty. Huizenga said it’s important to see the human element and pay respects.
“This is about saying thank you to those folks that have decided to serve our communities,” Huizenga said. “And their families. And as Trooper Starr’s wife and daughters are feeling it right now, they are the ones that often pay that price. And we have to be there to support them and say, ‘thank you’ and let them know we’re praying for them.”