By Jennifer Ortiz
HOWELL — Municipal officials are asking residents to stand in support of law enforcement officers who have given their lives in service to their community.
The Township Council’s action on July 11 followed the murder of five police officers by a lone shooter in Dallas on July 7.
On July 17, three police officers in Baton Rouge, La., were slain, allegedly by a lone shooter.
Howell’s effort to “Support the Blue” asks residents to stand with the Dallas Police Department and law enforcement agencies throughout the nation and to honor officers who have given their lives in service.
Residents and business owners are asked to display a blue light in a visible location through Aug. 31.
“I just want to take a moment to thank all the officers who are out there protecting us every day, and particularly the officers in the Howell Police Department,” Mayor Bill Gotto said.
“We are very lucky in Howell that … we do not seem to have the issues some other areas of our country seem to be having with racial tension. We are very lucky for that, but I am very confident that if we did, I know our police department would step up and continue to protect us and all of our citizens as a model for all law enforcement throughout the country,” the mayor said.
Police officers “put a badge on every day and go to work every day knowing they may not come home, and unfortunately, we saw five officers (in Dallas) to whom that happened,” Gotto said.
At the July 11 meeting, the council accepted the retirement of several municipal employees, including members of the Howell Police Department.
The employees who were recognized were Howell Police Cpl. Fred Bauer, 27 years; Howell Patrolman Jason Symons, 16 years; Edith Acosta, various departments, 38 years; Howell Police Sgt. Christopher Hill, 26 years; Howell Police Cpl. John Weg, 29 years; Gale Schoenemann, senior services, 16 years; Josephine Vigliotti, police department and municipal court, 19 years; Sam Lauro, public works, 23 years; Howell Police Lt. Michael Martin, 23 years; and James Ward, senior services, two years.