Community members gather to show support for police

Garnett Payne holds a sign that reads "thank a cop" at a rally in support of police Aug. 7 in Breckenridge.
Photo by Libby Stanford /

BRECKENRIDGE — Outfitted with masks, signs and American flags, several dozen Summit County community members made their way to the Breckenridge Police Department on Friday, Aug. 7, to rally in support of local law enforcement. 

House of Representatives candidate Kim McGahey and Summit County Republicans chairman Mike Tabb organized the event along with other community members. While community members gathered to show their support of police officers, there were not any speakers at the event. 

McGahey said he didn’t want speakers in order to keep the event from being politicized. 

“I wanted it to be about support for local law enforcement,” he said. “If you’re a Republican, that’s great. If you’re Democrat, that’s great. If you’re an independent, that’s fine too. The most important thing is to support.”

Many of the people at the event wanted to show their support of law enforcement in light of national criticism of police officers in response to a number of police brutality incidents throughout the country. The rally came after a series of Black Lives Matter protests in the county as well as a mural installation in support of the group. 

“(Police officers) are people that get up every morning and go to work and they put their lives in danger in order for us to retain our liberty and express our freedom,” McGahey said. “That is so important to acknowledge out there and so important to support.”

Garnett Payne, a Frisco resident who attended the event, said she felt that showing support for police officers is more important now than ever. 

“I think it’s especially important right now because of the narrative in not just the national media but the local media as well that seems to have politicized the Black Lives Matter movement and made it synonymous with a perception of police brutality,” she said. “I think that’s very unfounded. Certainly there’s bad cops, but there’s a heck of a lot more good cops than bad cops.”

Kevin Snell holds a sign that reads “All true Americans support law enforcement” at a rally in support of police on Friday, Aug. 7.
Photo by Libby Stanford /

Kevin Snell, a former Summit County deputy sheriff, was holding a sign that read “All true Americans support law enforcement.” Snell said he feels that people who are against police right now are not true Americans. 

“I’m very sad and disappointed in many Americans for not supporting our police and not supporting our country,” he said. “So I want to back up the true Americans as often as I can here in this country and even in my small community of Summit County.”

Breckenridge Assistant Chief of Police Derec Gress said he felt supported by all of the people who came out, although he wasn’t surprised by the turn out. 

“This is a great turn out,” Gress said. “We didn’t ask for this, but it shows what we’ve kind of already known, that the community backs the police department, whether you’re the sheriff’s department or Frisco or any of the other agencies.”

Those who weren’t able to attend Friday afternoon’s rally will have other opportunities on Saturday, Aug. 8. Community members will be gathering at 9 a.m. on Saturday in front of the Frisco Town Hall and later that day at 10:45 a.m. on a houseboat on Lake Dillon Marina.

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