Backing the Blue, One Stripe At a Time
An informal group of volunteers, known as the Blue Line Bandits, started showing its appreciation to Delaware police last month. The group’s mission, says John “Plunger” Peterson, one of its four founding members, is to “hit” every law enforcement agency in the state with some sort of blue lines in visual support of the police.
Police officers risk their lives every day to keep us safe and what they do and see on a daily basis takes a physical and mental toll on them, Peterson says. “Add the constant criticism and attacks on their ethics by the mainstream media, failures of the justice system and more and more violent crimes, they need to know they are not forgotten,” he adds.
Peterson says he and his group of volunteers, including Susanne Whitney, Jennifer Rambo, Dan Kapitanic and Jon Boone, decided they “needed to do something… something that would show all of law enforcement that their sacrifice to their communities is not taken for granted.” The three men in his group all have experience in the building trade, “so we know how to layout a line,” he explains.
The group’s first “hit” was to tape a blue line in front of the Delaware Attorney General’s offices in Dover last summer. But it started to peel so they decided they wanted to clean it up and make it more permanent this June.
“We went somewhat dormant during that pandemic,” Peterson states, “however, Cpl. Keith Heacook’s murder ignited a fire under us. Starting in mid-May, we have now ‘hit’ six local Delaware departments in Sussex and Kent counties.”
He says the group’s goal is to contact every law enforcement agency in Delaware and offer them something, a blue line on the door, a blue stop line, a blue line at the officers’ entrance, etc. So far he says he has not heard “no” from any department he contacted. The stripe on the road in front of the AG’s office is the only one they did without asking for permission, he points out.
In addition to the Attorney General’s office, the group has blue striped police departments in Delmar, Harrington, Rehoboth, Lewes, Georgetown and Camden.
Peterson is a licensed master plumber who owned a plumbing contracting firm in Washington, D.C. for 30 years. He sold his business in 2014 but still holds five of his master plumbing licenses. He now volunteers his time between the Lewes Fire Department and the Delaware Patriot Guard.