A stream of citizens filed past the front of the Urbandale Police headquarters yesterday and into the night.
Beyond words, they offered physical gestures like handshakes, hugs and salutes to a small group of officers who formed a receiving line. The magnitude of the outpouring of public sympathy for police in Urbandale, as well as Des Moines, could be seen in the ever-growing collection of flowers, notes and balloons placed around squad cars parked outside the headquarters of both police agencies.
Elsewhere, people tied blue ribbons on trees along busy city streets. After sundown, blue bulbs started glowing from the porch and yard lights of homes. The Simpson College wrestling team decided to wear blue socks to its meet tonight, since the two central Iowa officerskilled were graduates of the school. And the president of the United States issued a written statement to honor “the men and women who wear the blue” every day all across the country, including the two officers who were shot to death as they sat in their squad cars early Wednesday morning.
The president’s written statement, issued late Wednesday afternoon, began by calling the shootings “shameful acts of violence.” President Obama said Sergeant Tony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin “represented our best, most decent instincts…to serve our neighbors…honorably” and the president said Americans owe the police “our respect and gratitude.” Obama went on to challenge the country to emulate that sense of service to others.
Obama concluded by saying, “Thankfully, that’s the Iowa” he knows well from his travels here, a state with “good, big-hearted people” who he said “look out for each other and are willing to come together across our differences.”
(You may read the president’s full statement below.)
The two major party presidential candidates took to Twitter and, in a rare moment of harmony in a campaign fraught with discord, each conveyed their condolences on Wednesday morning.
Hillary Clinton said she was “heartbroken for the families” of the “two brave officers.” And she said: “There is no justification for this kind of violence.”
Donald Trump said he was “praying for the families” of the Iowa police “who were ambushed.” Trump concluded by saying: “An attack on those who keep us safe is an attack on us all.”
Statement by the President on the Shooting of Police Officers in Des Moines, Iowa:
Yesterday, two police officers put on their uniforms to serve and protect the communities they loved. And early this morning, they were taken from us in shameful acts of violence.
Sergeant Anthony Beminio and Officer Justin Martin represented our best, most decent instincts as human beings – to serve our neighbors, to put ourselves in harm’s way for someone else. They knew the dangers of their job. They knew the risks. Yet they chose to dedicate themselves to those values anyway. So today, Michelle and I join Americans across our country in expressing our condolences and stand in solidarity with their grieving families, fellow officers, and the communities they served so honorably.
All across the country, our police officers go to work each day not knowing whether they’ll come home at night. Their families live each day with the same fears. So as Americans, we owe them our respect and gratitude for their efforts to safeguard our families and our communities. And so as we once again mourn American police officers lost in the line of duty, we must also renew the call to match that same sense of service, that same devotion within our own lives and our own communities.
Thankfully, that’s the Iowa I know well. That’s what I’ve experienced every time I’ve visited Urbandale and Des Moines – good, big-hearted people who look out for each other and are willing to come together across our differences. That’s the spirit we all must summon now not only to heal, but to honor the service of Sergeant Beminio, Officer Martin, and all the men and women who wear the blue.