Blue lights to illuminate police support
Cape Coral residents are again being asked to show their support for fallen and active police officers by “lighting the town blue” on May 15.
In 1962, former President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it fell as National Police Week.
The police department’s Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association is hosting the second annual Blue Light Project to raise awareness for National Police Week, and residents are encouraged to display a blue light at their home in the outside lamp posts, entry way or windows.
“We wanted to honor our local police and the everyday officers and raise awareness of how many people have actually fallen in the line of duty,” Ron Brusius, project organizer and a member of the alumni association, said.
There have been 54 officers nationwide who have been killed in the line of duty this year. Five have been from Florida, including two Miami-Dade police officers, two St. Petersburg officers and one Florida corrections officer.
On Thursday, Cape police Officer David Wagoner returned home from the hospital after being shot three times during a routine traffic stop. Two of the bullets struck his bullet-proof vest, but the third struck his abdomen.
“When you think about it, every time an officer makes a stop, he or she is putting their life in danger,” Brusius said.
To help the project along, the alumni association is selling blue light bulbs. The bulbs range in cost from $5 to $1.50 and include CFLs or energy-saving bulbs, regular incandescent bulbs, candelabra bulbs and LED flicker lights. The LEDs have replaceable batteries and fit in a votive candle holder.
Last year, the association sold approximately 800 blue bulbs.
“We just didn’t know what would happen,” Brusius said.
He added that the final number was over and above what was expected.
Also last year, the group only sold the regular incandescent bulbs.
“What we have done is added different types of bulbs,” he said.
Brusius explained that the association received so much feedback from citizens who wanted to participate but could not because the bulb was not the right type, or they lived in a building that did not have outside lights.
“So everybody can participate now,” he said.
The bulbs are available at three locations: Crown Trophy, at 861 S.E. 47th Terrace; Rhythm in Motion, at 3333 Del Prado Blvd. S.; and F.O.S. Furniture, at 790 Del Prado Blvd. S.
To volunteer as a point of sale location, contact Brusius at 549-6474
Though Brusius did not know the total number of bulbs sold as of Friday, he did say that he recently placed an order for another shipment — 300 bulbs.
The first bulb sold in the Blue Light Project was sold to a Fort Myers police officer and his wife last year. According to Brusius, the association sold the bulbs the first year to a mix of people, including some Canadian officers who were visiting the Cape on vacation.
“The most heart-rendering stories were the ones from parents of fallen officers and the wives,” he said.
A minimal mark-up on the bulbs helps to fund the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association’s Citizen of the Year Award, according to police officials.