Blue lights take over town

Ashley Smith · Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Front porches across West Liberty have recently started glowing blue at night, thanks to a new initiative by Chief Kary Kinmonth and the West Liberty Police Department.

According to Kinmonth, the lights are meant to show support for police officers and other first responders. Already nearly 200 of the lights have been distributed to community members.

“We first gave them away beginning Friday, February 3. I had bought 100 of them and between delivering them to people that asked for them and having them available at City Hall - we went through the first hundred that day,” said Kinmonth.

“The following Friday, we delivered more. We have a few leftover available for free at City Hall. I will be happy to go out and buy more if the demand is there,” he said.

The lights are meant to be used as a porch light or outdoor light, said Kinmonth. “Officers see these on patrol and it is a nice feeling to see the support.”

Kinmonth said he first noticed blue lights being used to support first responders last year in the Des Moines area.

“2016 was the worst year in Iowa law enforcement for active duty deaths. Five officers in the Des Moines metro area died – three in on-duty car crashes, two by homicide,” said Kinmonth.

The public wanted to show their support for the police, and blue lights began to pop up in Des Moines and across Iowa.

“In my neighborhood about every third house had a blue porch light,” said Kinmonth.

“When I got to West liberty, I quickly found out we had great support from the community. I wanted to see if people were willing to show that support by lighting a blue light,” he added.

The community response in West Liberty has been fantastic, said Kinmonth. Delivering the blue lights to West Liberty residents also served as a great way for the new chief to introduce himself to community members.

Kinmonth became West Liberty Police Chief last month, after previously serving as Chief in Mitchellville, Iowa.

There may be more projects like the blue lights coming to West Liberty soon, Kinmonth said.

“I always have ideas!” he said. “I am thinking about offering blue ribbons that can be tied around trees, or blue wristbands that can be worn to show support for police.”

“I am also thinking about offering blue painters tape,” he added. The tape goes across the rear window of a car, and shows support for police by representing the thin blue line, an emblem representing police officers.
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