Back the Blue addresses city council, wants more respect for officers

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Hundreds of people packed city council Tuesday night, all in support of police officers and safety.

Back the Blue Champaign County marched from the police station to the city building before the council meeting. More than three hours were public comment, with dozens of people lined up ready to speak. The group voiced their concerns and opinions, and wants the council to respect and support the police department.

People said they want to see council members do ride alongs with police, and don’t want the department to be defunded. They added gun violence is rising, and said part of the cause is that police are being degraded, with both people and police living in fear.

“Because of those lack of actions it has led to the unfortunate death of Officer Chris Oberheim and critically injured Officer Jeff Creel,” said Matt Stuckey, founder of Back the Blue Champaign County.

Speakers from Back the Blue and neighbors in Garden Hills said the city is dealing with infrastructure problems. They said some neighborhoods lack street lights, and there isn’t enough money going to some of them. They said that makes those areas more dangerous, not just for neighbors, but police too.

Several officer wives spoke as well about the fear they endure every day.

Council listened to what was said, and commented on the budget, saying they will re-evaluate it to look at making safer neighborhoods.

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