WAPAKONETA — The proud mother of an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper felt helpless when all she could do was listen as her son mentioned he and his fellow officers experienced a noticeable decline in respect for law enforcement over the past decade.
Little did the dispirited member of law enforcement know that his fleeting moment of vulnerability in the fall of 2019 would be the catalyst for something much bigger than he and his mother, Anne Niemeyer, could ever have imagined.
Niemeyer received a “Support Our Law Enforcement” bracelet shortly after their discussion, and that was all she needed to spark an idea that turned into Let’s Back the Blue.
In 2020, Niemeyer launched the popular response to declining respect for law enforcement known as the LBTB. The nonprofit works to counter the disrespect for officers by showing a community-wide appreciation for the men and women of law enforcement who protect their families and their streets.
As part of their initiative to lift law enforcement, LBTB held a grand raffle last year with the help of many generous businesses in Wapakoneta and Auglaize County to benefit local enforcement groups. of the law. The organization used the funds raised to provide scholarships for people attending three local police academies.
“We have launched scholarships for training academies in the region,” Niemeyer said. “We handed out $1,000 scholarships to Wright State and Rhodes State and $500 for Apollo Police training.”
Niemeyer said LBTB offers scholarships because many people interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement have families to support and cannot afford to pay tuition while taking unpaid leave. balance to accommodate their class schedule.
“Today, it takes two incomes to pay the family bills. And, now the person who goes through the academy is not paid, so we started these scholarships to help the families a bit,” said Niemeyer.
LTBB’s mission is to strengthen the relationship between police and residents across the country and foster mutual respect between the two.
“We’ve always wanted to make it clear that we’re not here to choose sides or diminish other people’s feelings,” Niemeyer said. “We want to elevate our law enforcement there who want to get out there and make a positive difference in the community.”
Homes like this in Wapakoneta and surrounding Auglaize County have remained blue long after last May’s initiative to use blue outdoor lighting to show support for police.
Families used blue lights on their homes to show their support for law enforcement.
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