Colusa County residents and businesses came together in a short period of time to “Back the Blue,” at a time when many are calling to defund law enforcement in the wake of the George Floyd tragedy.
On July 1, each member of the Colusa Police Department, the Williams Police Department, the California Highway Patrol, and the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office, Probation Department and Office of the District Attorney were delivered gifts as a way for the community to show their appreciation for the work their law enforcement “heroes” do, said Barbara Daniel Gomes, who organized the event.
All 144 members of the local agencies were given a substantial collection of donated baked goods, snacks, goodies, drinks, gift certificates, and more as a way for the community to show their support. Another 11 people in law enforcement that live in Colusa County but work in agencies elsewhere will receive their gifts this week.
Although many people donated money to purchase items and gift cards from local businesses that were particularly hurt by an extended COVID-19 shutdown, many businesses matched the purchases with donations of their own. Local kids also wrote personal notes to show their support.
“It was just a huge act of kindness all away around,” Gomes said.
Although some office staff knew in advance that gifts were coming, many recipients were surprised by the generosity and touched by the community’s undying support at a time when some California legislators are calling for people to “reimagine” what policing and safety will mean in the future.
Assistant Sheriff Michael Bradwell, on behalf of the department, offered his sincere thanks to the citizens of Colusa County who showed their love and support to law enforcement during these strange times.
“The amount of time and effort put in to complete such a task is so appreciated,” Bradwell said. “This came as a complete surprise spreading joy throughout our office. We are proud to protect, honor and serve Colusa County.”
Gomes said the project was so successful that donors don’t plan to stop at just law enforcement.
The group is taking donations to present gifts to the Colusa County Public Health Department and County Transit Agency next.
Gomes said having so many people get onboard so quickly with the project after pitching the idea to just a few people shows what an amazing community this is.
“The support of our community speaks volumes for our county,” she said. “I truly believe in the ripple effect. It only takes one. I think if people see Colusa County doing this, then others will do something positive when there is so much negativity in the world. Maybe we will cause a ripple effect.”
The group also hasn’t ruled out organizing “special thanks” to all local government departments, schoolteachers, and essential workers in the coming weeks.
“Everyone needs thanks for the work they do,” Gomes said. ■