By JODI MYERS
Daily Globe News Editor
SHELBY - A large crowd gathered at the Shelby Justice Center Wednesday night to show their appreciation police officers and pray for their safety.
“This is a wonderful outpouring of support for the Shelby Police Department,” Mayor Steve Schag said in his opening remarks. “I’m very, very impressed with the crowd we have here this evening. And I think this is representative of the love and support from the vicinity of Shelby and the communities around for our police department.
“We want our police department to know we value their presence and we are grateful for their service day in and day out,” Schag said.
“I’m going to thank those in law enforcement who have made the time to be with us tonight to hopefully feel something of what we have in our hearts for our law enforcement officers. You’ll feel the support that is here, the love that here and the gratitude that is here.
“I believe we’re here tonight for a time of remembrance; all across the nation there have been times of remembrance and prayer vigils and we want to join hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart with those times of remembrance,” Schag continued.
“Also it’s a time of expression; a time of expression of our support and our gratitude for the brave men and women of the Shelby Police Department,” Schag added. “And as advertised...a time of prayer.”
The mayor then went on to read the names of the eight law enforcement officers who were killed in Texas and Louisiana in recent days.
Pastor George Johnson from the First Church of God then delivered a prayer to the families and friends of those who were taken too soon.
Schag then had all current and past law enforcement personnel line up in front of the Justice Center to be recognized. Former Police Chief Charlie Roub was then ushered the podium where he read a poem written by Paul Harvey nearly 50 years ago in tribute to police officers.
Police Chaplain Dan Gates then offered up another prayer for police as the crowd bowed their heads.
“I’ve been told, and I know it’s true, I’m not very good at receiving,” said Police Chief Lance Combs. “I’m very uncomfortable with outpouring support or gifts.
“On behalf of the police department I want to say we do appreciate the support,” Combs said. “I have not been stopped as many times as I’ve been stopped the past couple weeks just by people who want to say thank you.
“While we appreciate all the gifts and all the acts of kindness that we receive I think we have to remember that police have families,” Combs said. “We’re fathers, we’re sons, we’re daughters, we have spouses...we’re no different than anybody else.
“I think the best thing I have to say is if you want to thank us, just treat us like you would anybody else,” Combs added. “Treat us like your neighbors, treat us like your friends, treat us with respect and dignity. I think if everybody, including the police, treated everyone with respect and dignity I think we wouldn’t have some of the issues we’re having today.”As the evening came to and end, Schag led the group in singing “God Bless America.”