When the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., was making national headlines, some members of the Wichita community asked how they could support local law enforcement.
The answer to the question – a parade. And that is how the Support Local Law Enforcement Community Parade came to be, said Wichita police Sgt. Bart Brunscheen, one of the parade organizers.
The parade will be at noon Saturday, with about 70 participants beginning at the Law Enforcement Memorial at Central and Main and going three blocks down Main to First Street.
The procession will include floats, bagpipes, a 20-piece band, riders on horseback and representatives of neighborhood groups, churches and minority organizations, said Brunscheen, a member of the Fraternal Order of Police executive board.
The police union is sponsoring the parade.
The event will begin with children’s activities at 11 a.m., including face-painting and displays of emergency vehicles on Third and Second streets off Main.
The parade is not meant to be political, Brunscheen said. It’s a way to show that “there’s a symbiotic relationship between police and the community they protect,” he said.
It’s a chance to mingle with the community and to put that relationship on display, he said.
One of the community members who will be in the parade is Larry Burks Sr., a 60-year-old retired Army lieutenant colonel who also is a first vice president with the Wichita Branch NAACP.
“Our community owes a debt of gratitude to law enforcement,” Burks said. Police and the community have to be able to work together, he said. The parade is a chance to “just kind of take some time to say that publicly, because they (police) are a very important part of our everyday lives.”
Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org.