Walk to “Support the Police” takes place in Fernandina Beach

By Susan Hardee Steger
July 3, 2020

Editor’s Note:  We thank Lea Gallardo for providing terrific photos of Fernandina’s Support the Police Walk.   We also thank Michael Ritter for providing a photo.

Yesterday, approximately 300 people showed their support for the police during an occasional rainy walk that began in historic downtown Fernandina.   The walk was billed as a non-political event. Lead organizers were P J Voorhees and Ricky Robbins. No speeches were made before the event.

Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper and Fernandina Beach Police Chief  joined the walk.     “I am hopeful that this peaceful march demonstrates widespread support for local law enforcement, while I am still committed to engaging in discussions about best practices and ways to develop community trust,” said Fernandina Beach Police Chief Jim Hurley.



Support the Police walkers line up on Ash Street in Fernandina Beach.  Photo courtesy of Michael Ritter.


Fernandina Beach Police Service Aid Member (R) offers free masks to parade participants.  A Fernandina Observer Photo.



Intermittent rain did not stop the parade of walkers. A Fernandina Observer photo.


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Medardo Monzon
Medardo Monzon(@mmonzon)
3 years ago

I support the police AND I support the Black Lives Matter movement. It seems some people think they are mutually exclusive positions.

Diana Herman
Diana Herman(@dianah1229)
3 years ago

I wanted to attend to show my support like I attended the Black Lives Matter March. However, I did not because I was concerned with the recent surge in corona cases, and the number of people who might choose not to wear a mask. It seems (as seen in the above photos) lots of people were not wearing masks. Glad I didn’t go.

Mark Tomes
Trusted Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
3 years ago

My experience with the FB police at the BLM march a few weeks ago was that the police were there to maintain law and order, “white-people style.” An angry man was shouting at me from his lawn, but rather than the police having the patience to let him calm down, I, the peaceful one, was told to move on, move on, move on, and when I resisted a bit, they got very angry with me, and it was obvious I was going to be the one arrested if I didn’t comply with their orders. This is the white people’s way (called “tone policing”) – don’t rock the boat, don’t get emotional, and maintain “order,” all designed to maintain the status quo. There is no doubt that law enforcement does mostly good in our community by keeping us safe from criminals. But we have to realize there’s a long, long history of law-enforcement that is used to ensure that white privilege stays in power, including up to this day.

Evan Nosbig
Evan Nosbig (@guest_58180)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Perspective, it’s always interesting to read someone’s take on a situation. Were you responding in kind by shouting back, did you expect to change this homeowners mind via a confrontation? FB PD was escorting the march to ensure safe and orderly passage for the participants, not to referee or wait for someone to”calm down”. Equating being asked to keep moving to ” white privilege” is nonsensical at best. Exercising freedom of speech goes both ways, whether you agree or not. And do you think complying with law enforcements instructions might have prevented some of the tragedies?

Dave Lott
Dave Lott(@dave-l)
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Mark, the angry man standing on his lawn was exercising his freedom. You certainly had the right to exercise your freedom of speech as you continued to move along – after all it was a “march”. Your perspective is through your lens. I trust you were not offended by any of the shouts during the BLM march as there was no “tone policing” by LEOs.

stephan Leimberg
stephan Leimberg (@guest_58173)
3 years ago

We are most fortunate to have a police department of truly professional individuals who are courteous, well trained, zealous about honoring their commitment to serve and protect the public – all of us regardless of color – and headed by a team of senior officers who care deeply about both their community and their officers. Their jobs are more difficult and stressful than most of us can imagine – and they do those jobs under a spotlight and microscope in today’s difficult environment. We must not forget that they put their health and lives on the line for us – every day! And one of them may well be the first face we see when we really really need help.

It is OUR responsibility to elect officials who appoint responsible police chiefs, individuals who will carefully hire and continually train and constantly monitor officers – and set the example of culture – to assure ethical and judicious, appropriate and civil behavior – toward every person – regardless of race, religion, wealth, or sexual preference. We must be willing to pay for a level of selection and training that assures it unlikely that lethal force will ever be used against anyone – unless in self-defense or in the dire need to protect others – and only then when no viable alternative remains.

No matter who is in charge of the Fernandina Police Department (and we currently do have a top flight leadership team of individuals of honor and integrity), we will not have perfection. We will have “bad apples.” Missteps and mistakes will be made.

But we do and can continue to have (and should demand) a cadre of officers who respect the dignity of all people. We are an island town – in many ways like people on a boat rowing through rough waters to shore. We need each other – and we need our police by whatever name we chose to call them!

Dave Scott
Dave Scott (@guest_58174)
3 years ago

Chief James Hurley said there were more than 400 people participating. I was one of them and from what I observed the number was well over 400. It was a polite, orderly and cheerful crowd of locals honoring the people who serve in area law enforcement.

Mary Ellen Carroll
Mary Ellen Carroll (@guest_58186)
3 years ago

Glad to live in a law and order community. God Bless all those who could walk. I am unable to walk any distance but I pray for all the one who had the courage and love for our community,

Ed Richtsteig
Ed Richtsteig (@guest_58192)
3 years ago

I completely forgot about this. Wish I would have remembered, would have loved to have taken part!

DAVID LOTT(@dave-l)
3 years ago

The value of the City and County police force: PRICELESS!