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Paso Robles community members decorate city to show support for law enforcement

Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 12, 2020

One day after the search for an active shooter in Paso Robles came to an end, the city’s downtown area looked much different on Friday.

Following weeks of protests against police brutality across the country and Paso Robles' active shooter situation in the last couple of days, members of the community took to the streets to show their support for local law enforcement.

"This is our way of showing the officers and even the dispatchers and deputies how much we appreciate them," said organizer Brandon Steir.

"There's a lot going on in our country right now where we probably need to take a good hard look at ourselves, but I think this is an opportunity to really celebrate what our officers did the last couple of days for us," said Paso Robles resident Kathy Miller.

Balloons, flags, and ribbons were put up in Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, and even in King City to honor wounded law enforcement and James Watson, the man who was killed on the train tracks in Paso Robles early Wednesday -- gestures that were greatly appreciated by Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis.

"I think that I serve the best community in California, maybe probably the world, and this shows exactly why we do what we do," Lewis said.

While organizers of Friday's event say they recognize what is happening in the country and support peaceful protests against police brutality, they wanted to show support for the local law enforcement officers who have been on the front lines in the active shooter investigation.

"They're putting their lives in the line of fire directly to make sure we don't get hurt and I think we need to really see that and see that they do more than just pull people over," said Tyler Henry, Protect Paso co-creator.

As people gathered outside the Paso Robles Police Department decorating and thanking officers, Chief Lewis was emotional when seeing the outpouring of support.

"Just thank you, that's all I can say, thank you," Lewis said.

Organizers of the event say they plan on leaving the ribbons and other decorations up in the city for at least the next two weeks to continue to thank local law enforcement.