When Blue Lives Matter organizer Shelley Huskins talked with longtime friend Barbie Partington, she knew she wanted to do something to recognize the efforts of local law enforcement officers in Ellis County, but wasn’t sure how to get the ball rolling.
“We thought the courthouse square would be a great venue. We wanted to have a candlelight vigil for the officers and their families, and decided that something simple on the courthouse square would be a great way to honor them,” said Huskins. “This event isn’t about pushing a political or racial agenda. That’s not at all what this is about. It’s about a simple 20 minute ceremony to honor those who risk their lives daily to protect us.”
The vigil will start at 8 p.m. Monday in downtown Waxahachie and at least 1,000 people are expected to attend the event, according to the Blue Lives Matter event page on Facebook. Blue is the color known on a nationwide level that represents law enforcement.
Retired DPS trooper Steve McKinney, now a current Ellis County sheriff’s deputy, will give a brief message. Huskins said deputy McKinney’s background gives him a unique perspective on the risks associated with law enforcement.
“Trooper McKinney not only brings years of experience as a DPS trooper and local deputy, but his son Cody McKinney, a Midlothian police officer, was shot in the line of duty in a 2006 standoff, where two other Midlothian officers and a DPS trooper were also wounded,” said Huskins. “So he has that perspective both as a law enforcement officer and a parent who has a son wounded in the line of duty.”
Following trooper McKinney’s address, the public will observe four minutes of silence. Two minutes of the four minutes will honor two Texas officers killed in a little more than a week, one in Abilene and another in Harris County. On Friday, the Waxahachie police force and other police departments answered a statewide call by Gov. Greg Abbott to stand and honor slain deputy Darren Goforth as well as all officers across the state. Abbott asked Texas law enforcement officers to turn on their red and blue flashing lights for a minute at 11 a.m., which corresponded with funeral services for Goforth in Harris County. Goforth was killed Aug. 28 while pumping gas into his patrol car.
The third minute of silence on Monday night will be for all local law enforcement officers, and the fourth minute will be for officers and their family members.
“Our intent isn’t for this to be an elaborate, slick production, but a simple acknowledgement of the risks and effort these men and women undergo every day,” said Huskins. “Sometimes, we lose sight of just how dangerous their jobs can be. The recent killings reinforce that, and we simply want to show them that the people of Waxahachie and Ellis County are behind them 100 percent.”
Huskins reminded everyone to get there early, and take advantage of the free, covered parking garage available at East Jefferson and South Jackson streets.