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Residents support police with parade

Law enforcement in Chilton County were shown support during the inaugural Chilton County Backs the Blue Parade July 18.

Bryan Kelley came up with the idea for the parade and ran with it as a way to show local police officers what he thought was a much-needed sign of support after the job in general has been highly-scrutinized of late at a national level.

Several police officers took part either in the parade or the festivities afterwards.

“Every one of them [police officers] that I talked to were grateful for the sign of support,” Kelley said. “Some had tears in their eyes, because they were so happy.”

According to Kelley, roughly 300 participants took part in the parade which traveled down Sixth Street in downtown Clanton.

Kelley has plans for the parade to become an annual event held in the middle of May during National Police Week.

“Even though it was hot, people lined the streets wanting to get a picture and be a part of it,” Kelley said.

Following the parade, a prayer rally was held, as well as a cookout that kept the festivities going for about two more hours.

“It would be great for it to grow and get bigger over the years,” Kelley said.

The reasoning for the parade was near and dear to Kelley’s heart after he and his father both served as members of law enforcement.

“These police need to know that we’ve got their backs as a community,” Kelley said. “They do more for us than most citizens even have a clue about. When they leave home to go to work, they don’t know what will happen or if they will even make it back.”

Kelley stated that he had heard how bigger cities in other states were being hit with a high number of police resignations and he did not want those thoughts of doubt to creep into the minds of law enforcement locally.

According to Kelley, he is in the midst of negotiations to have further events to honor police officers throughout the year with cookouts and appreciation banquets.

“We are grateful for all that they do, we don’t want to lose them,” Kelley said.