Detroit — The city's police officers were feted Thursday as a way of thanking them for doing a tough, dangerous job.

As part of the Back the Blue campaign, which was started in 2015 by the Detroit Public Safety Foundation, volunteers served food at Public Safety Headquarters, and in the city's police precincts.

The event coincided with National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which is organized by the Camdenton, Missouri-based nonprofit Concerns of Police Survivors

"It's nice when you hear the words, 'thank you,'" Detroit police 1st assistant chief Lashinda Stair said Thursday, as other command staff filled their plates with chicken, potatoes and other food provided by the Public Safety Foundation. "This makes (officers) really feel appreciated."

Public Safety Foundation director Patti Kukula said the initiative "is about thanking the personnel who watch out for us every day. These people don't know us personally, but they'll run into danger to keep us safe anyway."

"These sacrifices are for our families and our communities, and we need to recognize that," Kukula said.

Calvin Hasberry, who was among the Downtown Detroit Partnership employees who passed out "Back the Blue" bracelets Thursday in Campus Martius, said the event is about "supporting law enforcement across the country … it’s also just to show how we support our Detroit law enforcement."

“I know some (officers who) go to my church, (and) some that I grew up with in my neighborhood," Hasberry said, adding that police officers give "the city and myself that feeling of security."

Several venues, including Comerica Park, Ford Field, Little Caesars Arena, the Fox Theatre, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and MGM Grand Detroit displayed blue lights in support of the initiative.

Buildings owned by Quicken Loans' Rock Family of Companies, including Ally Detroit Center, the Federal Reserve and One Woodward buildings, were among those also bathed in blue Thursday.

Marathon Petroleum provided snacks for officers at the 4th Precinct in southwest Detroit, and also helped pay for workout equipment for precinct officers.

Among the other Back the Blue activities:

  • The Farbman Group provided 100 breakfasts for the Major Crimes Unit.
  • The Detroit-Wayne Joint Building Authority held a flag-raising ceremony with the Detroit Police Department Honor Guard.
  •  Lecom Inc./ Golden Dental featured a blue searchlight at their office on Trumbull Avenue.
  • "Law enforcement is a unique profession," Kukula said. "I think people should stop and learn about the sacrifices police officers make."

Detroit police deputy chief Marlon Wilson said it was nice to feel appreciated.

"It's a great day," he said. "This shows we're bridging the gap between police and the community, and it highlights the good work officers do, not just in Detroit but across the country."

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Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN

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