WATFORD CITY, N.D. - A McKenzie County resident is using everyday items to show his support for the sheriff’s office. The message is simple: 'Back the Blue.'
It’s hard to miss the black and blue wood pallets when you’re entering Watford City. In case you did, you will see more once you are inside the city.
“To show our support and make sure that the law enforcement knows that they have support in the community,” says Eric Homer, Back the Blue founder.
Homer started painting the wood pallets a couple of months ago to show his support for three McKenzie County Sheriff's Office personnel who are facing legal proceedings. Local businesses donated the supplies.
“We have a great community outreach program here. Community support has been top notch,” says Homer.
In recent months, Deputy Travis Bateman has been acquitted. But cases are still active against Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger and Detective Michael Schmitz. The community support is reassuring for Sheriff Schwartzenberger
“To see the support from the citizens and to hear them out there. Wwhen I talk to them on a daily basis they say, 'keep doing what you’re doing Sheriff, we support you.' That means the world to me and it makes me continue to stay the course,” says Schwartzenberger.
The support for the Sheriff's Office has expanded to include all law enforcement personnel after the deadly shootings around the nation in recent months.
“I wanted to help, I thought it was a really good idea to get everybody in the community involved to think about the cops every day on the road and what they do,” says Mandi Cloud, deputy’s wife.
Trying to balance his busy schedule, Homer doesn’t make any more 'Back the Blue' signs. He has passed on the responsibility to the McKenzie County Girl Scout Troop.
More than 60 'Back the Blue' pallets are on display across the county.