NYPD families tie blue ribbons to show support for police
Pro-cop movement spreads to 27 states
A movement started by two Staten Island women to demonstrate support for police officers in the wake of the shooting deaths of three Baton Rouge cops in July has quickly grown into an international show of respect for law enforcement, according to the founders, who came to Bay Ridge on Tuesday.
Carmen Shouldis and Lori Mohlenhoff, who started the organization Blue Ribbons, tied ribbons around trees outside the district office shared by state Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis at 7408 Fifth Ave. following a press conference in which the two lawmakers pledged their support for the effort.
The goal of Blue Ribbons is to tie ribbons on trees and gates and place ribbons on doors and in windows in a show of support for police officers, according to Shouldis, whose son is a cop. The idea is to place as many blue ribbons on the streets as possible so that when police officers are on patrol and they see the ribbons, “they will know that they are loved and supported,” Shouldis said.
The Blue Ribbons movement has presented ribbons to all police precincts in Brooklyn and Staten Island and plans are underway to start in Manhattan.
The movement has spread to 27 states and has grown into an international endeavor, with blue ribbons decorating public places in countries like Brazil and Iceland.
Shouldis said she and Mohlenhoff, whose husband is a cop, got the idea to start the Blue Ribbons movement after the tragic deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge who were gunned down on July 17. That incident took place just five days after five police officers were shot to death in Dallas.
“We couldn’t get our heads around the fact that eight police officers were killed for simply putting on their uniforms,” Shouldis said. “We had to do something to offset the damage.”
The two women started placing blue ribbons all over Staten Island and then began doing the same in Brooklyn.
Golden and Malliotakis both said they will keep a steady supply of blue ribbons in the Fifth Avenue office they share for local residents to pick up so that they can tie ribbons around trees on their sidewalks.
“This is the right thing to do,” said Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn), a retired cop. Golden’s son Patrick is also a police officer.
“We love them and we’re here to support them,” said Golden, who added that when a cop is killed in the line of duty, “it leaves a hole in the heart that never, ever closes.”
Bay Ridge is getting behind Blue Ribbons in a big way, according to Golden, who said several organizations, including Ragamuffin Inc., the 68th Precinct Community Council, the Merchants of Third Avenue and the Bay Ridge Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District, will all be distributing blue ribbons.
Malliotakis, who tied a blue ribbon around a tree in front of her Staten Island home, said it’s important to let police know they are supported by the public. “We pray all the time for their safety,” she said.
Police Officer Frank Tramontano, a coordinator for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said most cops join the police force to make a positive difference in people’s lives. Police are grateful for the Blue Ribbons movement, he said. “You can never get enough support as a police officer,” he said.
For more information on the Blue Ribbons movement, visit the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/659443767555122/.
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