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Sarasota Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010 7 years ago

Bumper stickers show police support

by: Robin Roy City Editor

Fed up with what she sees as only negative news coverage of the Sarasota Police Department, a police sergeant’s wife said she knew she had to do something.

“(Police officers) never seem to get signs of appreciation,” said Diane Stafford. “I really wanted to do something so officers know the community supports them.”

What she did was make her own signs of appreciation — bumper stickers. Stafford created, at her own cost, 50 magnetic bumper stickers that say “Support Sarasota Police.”

She put one on her pickup truck and gave a few to some friends, but she wants to distribute the rest to the public.

“I’d do this even if I wasn’t married to a police officer,” said Stafford. “I grew up in a small town called Maple Shade, N.J., and we respected the police department. You saw an officer, and you waved. Nowadays, they get no respect, even from the general public.”

Stafford said an incident her husband, Sgt. Eric Stafford, experienced recently is just one example of how Sarasota police officers are not respected.

Sgt. Stafford was getting a cup of coffee before work one day at a coffee shop. Someone who was standing in the same line yelled out to him: “I hope you’re going to pay for that, because we’re going to.”

“That’s referred to a lot (among the public) that cops get things for free,” said Stafford. “It’s just general negativity that I think is enforced by the press, because they don’t report good things.”

Stafford said the bumper-sticker idea came about after she pulled up behind a car in traffic. The car had a bumper sticker on it that made her smile.

“I just want an officer who is having a bad day to have something make them smile,” she said. “If I was an officer and pulled behind a car with one of those bumper stickers, it would make me feel like someone appreciates me.”

Stafford has no plans to make more bumper stickers after the first 50 are gone, but she said she hopes that a store may make some and sell them.

“I’m so thankful someone wants to be in law enforcement,” she said. “It’s a job I couldn’t do.”

Contact Robin Roy at [email protected].

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