With music provided by local band Old Skool, supporters of the Antioch Police Department recently showed their appreciation for the force by doing something a little old-school themselves: giving them something to eat.
But while the grilled goodies at the second annual Police Appreciation Barbecue at Prewett Family Park were free for the asking for everyone, the reason more than 600 people attended was for something more altruistic.
We want the community and the police department to know that we support the PD 100 percent, said organizer Gary Gilbert, founder of United Citizens for Better Neighborhoods, sponsor of the event. It's even more important to rally behind the department, he added, in light of recent lawsuits filed against the city and the PD. Allegations of racial profiling have been lodged against the department's Community Action Team (known as the CAT team) as it deals with unruly behavior on the part of some residents. Chief Jim Hyde, however, said the event shows that that department, and the CAT team, enjoy the backing of the community at large.
It shows what the former silent majority' thinks, said Chief Jim Hyde. They appreciate what we've been doing. It's a nice thank-you and a wonderful event.
It was also an unusual event. None of the dozens of officers or city officials on hand have ever seen a community come together just to thank the men and women who protect them day-to-day.
You see the opposite when people come together to protest, said City Councilman Brian Kalinowski, who is also a sergeant in the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department. This is the least we could do for them.