LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) – A Lakeland gun shop owner says he’s tired of all the negativity about police. So he’s promoting law enforcement outside his business and trying to get more people on board.
Dan Derringer’s already handed out a few hundred signs that read “We support law enforcement” and 1,000 bumper stickers with the same message. He said he’ll continue ordering them as long as people take them.
It’s Derringer’s ways of sharing what he believes a lot of people feel- but fail to express.
“I think 99% of the general public support law enforcement do the right thing, pay our taxes and abide by the laws. And it’s nice for us to say we appreciate what you do and we appreciate it,” Derringer said.
Ashton Bardwell, the manager at his gun shop, Derringer’s Firearms, was a driving force behind the move.
As a child, she remembers strangers wanting pictures with her father in uniform.
Now, she hears her police officer husband come home with stories that have a much different tone.
“Now my husband goes driving around at night and says kids throw rocks at his car and curse at him just driving down the road. It’s sad to see the attitude toward law enforcement and how that’s changed,” Bardwell said.
Now she’s aiming to help turn that around. But the positive effort isn’t just happening there. Monday someone tweeted a picture to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office showing a deputy pushing the car of a stranded driver. The person noted the deputy’s good deed didn’t go unnoticed.
And last month, someone anonymously left a sign at the Lakeland Police Department that read “LPD saved my life.”
Derringer said with all the news he reads and watches he can’t imagine the stress officers must feel out on the streets these days. He hopes when they ride by and see the signs they’ll know someone has their back.