By Russ McQuaid
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 4, 2014)-- Anyone with a t-shirt, bumper sticker or appreciation for the work of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) is invited to join the policemen and women of the city on Monument Circle at 11:30 a.m. Friday in a "Day of Unity" celebration.
The rally is the dream of Lynn Renn, the widow of Officer Perry Renn, who died in the line of duty confronting an armed man July 5th. FOP Vice President Rick Snyder said the event will demonstrate repayment of the city's debt to officers like Renn and Patrolman Rod Bradway who died rescuing a woman and child from a gunman last September.
"If you take a look from those two tragedies, you really saw a momentum build where our community has really rallied together and said that enough is enough and they're tired of the crime and they're tired of the violence and they're also tired of attacks on our police officers."
Snyder noted that 12,000 t-shirts bearing the IMPD resolve, "I Will Always Get Out Of My Car," have been sold, reaffirming the committment of officers to run toward trouble as Renn did the night he died.
The son of Metro Officer Andrew Troxel, himself wounded during a fatal gun battle with a south side man in 2004 that took the life of Patrolman Jake Laird, raised $17,000 to buy breastplates for the protective vests of officers.
"Here's an eight year old little boy who set the example for our city," said Snyder. "He may not be able to do everything but he could do one small thing that really grew and the momentum built upon that and he made a difference."
The Father's House, a southeast church, led the way in the summer of 2013 in raising money for and assembling trauma kits that each Metro officer now carries in his or her car.
"At some point you have to do what you can," said Dr. Chris Holland. "Everybody can do something. A little bit helps, whether its to walk up and shake an officer's hand to say, 'Thank you for the job that you do. I appreciate you.'
"Find a need," said Holland. "Let that become your vision and then you begin to talk about the vision. People that see the vision...you cast it...they'll bring provision. So with vision always comes provision."
IMPD is urging churches, businesses, communities and schools to participate in an "Adopt-A-Cop" program that bring residents and the department closer by inviting officers to meet with residents to express their thanks and determine what needs the force has that neighbors could fulfill.
Friday's rally will kick off a month of unity as September marks the anniversary of two officers, Bradway and Marion County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Baker, who died in the line of duty, a 5K run in Baker's honor, a memorial service at the statehouse and a U.S Attorneys conference currently being held in Indianapolis.