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Central Point has a blue hue for its police

Days into a monthlong effort to "turn the city blue" by swapping out porch lights and signs with blue bulbs in a show of support for law enforcement, local officers and residents say few streets in town are without a half-dozen or more blue lights.

The project, spearheaded by resident Sandee Galligan and her two children, was a response to recent news of officer-involved shootings and anti-law enforcement sentiment on social media.

Not one to get political, Galligan said last month she "just wanted to show support for the police in our local community."

Galligan said residents, asked to display blue porch lights, had gone above and beyond.

In return for the effort, local officers have taken to leaving door hangers at the homes of residents who display blue lights, thanking them for their support and letting them know at what time their streets were patrolled the night before.

Central Point police officer JR Godley said, with national headlines on the hearts and minds of local officers, the blue lights installed by residents and businesses were a comfort and silent show of support for local police.

"It's kind of starting to blow up a little bit. I'm working daytime and they still have them on during my shift," Godley said.

"Every garage door, yard stake lights, door lights. It's pretty awesome and it feels great to have the community show their support."

Godley said some residents reported difficulty finding blue lights around the Rogue Valley, but Ray's and Lowe's had both ordered extra supplies and both Lowe's and Bobbio's Pizza had distributed free bulbs to customers.

Residents, aside from displaying their blue bulbs, also dropped off cards and tokens of appreciation ranging from coffee gift cards to treats.

"It's been kind of a hard turn of events for law enforcement recently and even though we're kind of a small town, it feels good to have that support our community has given us," Godley noted.

"We feel the tension from other places, whether it's Portland or Medford or Detroit or Dallas. When you're off duty and out of uniform, and in a large group of people, not everybody knows you're a police officer and you definitely hear things people are saying."

Central Point resident Daryl Griggs, who said that finding blue bulbs for his yard was a challenge, swapped out a handful of lights and laughed as he admitted having to deal with limited supply.

"I drove all the way out to White City and beyond. The hardware stores and everywhere are all out. It was a wild goose chase.

"I ended up with tacky looking blue flood light that shoots straight up so I don't really have the pretty blue lights that some people do but it was important to me to show my support," Griggs said, noting that he received one of the police door hangers on which an officer had noted a patrol time of 2 a.m.

"I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, not because the police department left it for me but because it was 2 in the morning and just the fact they were keeping our neighborhood safe."

Optometrist Graham McPartland, owner of Oregon Eye and Vision Center, turned his building's illuminated letters to blue for the local department.

McPartland said the gesture was small compared to "what the local police force does for our town."

"With everything going on, which is so heartbreaking, it's important for the community to come together," McPartland said. "It doesn't matter where things are happening because I'm sure what's going on nationally is weighing on the minds of these men and women who put a uniform on every day to protect all of us."

Griggs, an African-American martial arts instructor who served in the military, said he relishes being able to raise his children in a small community.

"What I do know, in my community, it feels like the African proverb of, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' " he said. "This is my village and it's only going to be as good as the people that are part of it."

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.