With all of the national headlines involving police shootings and outrage surrounding police practices, it’s important to reflect on the job our own brave men and women in uniform perform each and every day.
It’s easy for police and other law enforcement officials to get a bad rap. With anything else, if you put yourself in other people’s shoes, it changes your perspective. The fact of the matter is police have a hard job: protect and serve, keep the peace, help ensure we have some semblance of law and order in our community. It’s easy to forget the dangerous nature of the job; police often venture into situations where their lives can be in jeopardy.
The shooting that took place in Hillview Heights in Saco combined with the threat atThornton Academy reminded us that, yes, bad things can happen anywhere. More than that though, it demonstrated how effective our police force can act in times of crisis. They are working around the clock to make sure we aren’t on the news every night because of a shooting, bomb threat or other major crime. We are lucky it’s so rare that we sometimes forget that it can happen here. It is because of the strength of our community, excellent education system, dedicated volunteers and courageous police and firemen that we have such a place to call home.
At the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement, we have a new program called the Good Deed Crew. Its objective is to inspire random acts of kindness through a variety of creative projects. It will focus on group activities and promote individual ideas by having people post a picture to our Facebook page using the hashtag #GoodDeed. The more people who post their good deed, the more it will inspire our social circle to follow suit.
The first group good deed is our Project Blue Light. A blue light is a symbol of police and law enforcement officials so by placing some form of blue light, in your window, on your porch, in your yard lamp, etc. you can do your part to thank them for their service. We will start distributing blue light bulbs this weekend that fit inside holiday lighted candles that you typically put in your window. The first neighborhood on our list is Hillview Heights. Once this area is blue lighted, we will open it up to anyone in the Saco Bay area. We have a link to where you can purchase the blue bulbs to do it yourself or request ours on our website at SacoBayCenter.org.
One of my board members who is leading this project is Michelle Goulet. She has a personal connection that inspired her to help get this off the ground. Michelle’s greatgrandfather, Biddeford patrolman Honore Dutremble, was shot to death on April 8, 1932, while approaching a car that had been stolen fromPortland. The Biddeford Police Station still bears his name. She has been participating in Project Blue Light for a while now, which has taken off across the country and would love for others to follow suit.
As a new member of the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee, issues that surround our police force and public safety will be of important significance moving forward throughout this legislative session. This is just a small way we can do our part to send a clear message we are thankful to our friends, neighbors, and even family members who don the blue uniform on behalf of the greater good.
Justin Chenette is serving his second term as state representative for Saco District 15. Outside the Legislature, he is owner of Chenette Media LLC, a multimedia public relations company, and is the president/CEO of the Saco Bay Center of Civic Engagement, a 501c3 nonprofit service organization. Follow updates atwww.justinchenette.com, Facebook.com/JustinChenette, and Twitter.com/ JustinChenette.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco