Scouts build thin blue line picnic tables for IMPD

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent,” reads the Scout Law.

To that list, would-be Eagle Scouts Zach Luther and Finn McCain have added, “industrious.”

When Luther, a 15-year-old freshman from Franklin Central High School, brainstormed on a project he could tackle to become an Eagle Scout, he sought the advice of former IMPD Officer Santos Cortez, a family friend.

“He reached out to me and asked me what he could do for law enforcement. He would like to do something for his Eagle Scout project,” said Cortez who retired from the department after a collision with drunk driver while on duty in 2012 cost him the use of his legs. “Southeast district was, ‘Hey, we could really use a picnic bench here.’”

“Yeah, we talked about that, ran through some ideas about what was at each IMPD district office and how they could be improved,” recalled Luther. “They have no way to be outdoors and enjoy nature.”

With plans discovered in a Popular Mechanics magazine and sketched out on cardboard, and $800 raised by selling pizza gift cards, Luther and his scouting friends went to work, building six wood-and-composite picnic tables, each adorned with a plaque and center board painted blue to represent the thin blue line officers pass over each day to keep Indianapolis safe.

“Whether its law enforcement or anything, just seeing what our young men and women are becoming, it’s an awesome sight,” said Cortez, “because we know there is going to be a big shift in the way society is now. I mean, you have kids eating Tide pods, and now you have kids that are growing up and those are gonna be the ones that lead our country.”

Luther enlisted the assistance of fellow scouts like McCain, a FCHS freshman who is also hoping to make his way up to Eagle Scout rank.

“I thought it was pretty cool, especially when he said it was for IMPD. It’s great to help out the community,” said McCain. “I learned that working together as a team is really helpful and getting your plan done early so you’re not just trying to wing it altogether helps out.”

Luther and McCain are set to turn over their Eagle Scout picnic tables to Mayor Hogsett, Chief Roach and IMPD at the department’s southwest district headquarters Wednesday at noon.

“What do you want them to think about when they spot these tables at these districts?” Luther was asked.

“’Man,’” said the scout, “’they look nice.’”