Pro-Police Rally in Colorado Springs Brings Tiny Crowd, No Cops

Nicholas Bollinger, 9, carries an U.S. flag through Acacia Park during a pro police rally Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Nicholas Bollinger, 9, carries an U.S. flag through Acacia Park during a pro police rally Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

It was a pro-police rally with not a uniformed officer in sight nearly two hours into the event.

Pro Police Rally Colorado, a new group that’s made its mission to publicly support police, held its second “pep rally” in Colorado Springs Sunday afternoon, at the tail end of a heavy rainstorm and a Broncos game that went into overtime. Even when the sun started shining brightly over Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs, hardly more than a few dozen people had shown up.

“I was kinda hoping there would be more people,” said Janette Pashby, a native Colorado Springs resident who moved back here 12 years ago after she and her husband moved elsewhere when he was a Fort Carson soldier. Pashby was one member of the small crowd, and said she wanted to come because people don’t realize how important police really are.

The event was organized by Ron MacLachlan, a Denver man who held a rally in his own city earlier this year, and who hopes to bring similar rallies all over the state in due time. When asked whether police were invited to the Pro Police Rally, he said, “they know that we’re doing this, absolutely,” but police are selfless and “it’s hard to come to a place where you’re going to get a pat on the back.”

Much of the rally was a performance by 9’s a Pair, a band of Denver firefighters. At least two of the speakers seemed less focused on applauding the good work police have done than pushing a political agenda.

Speakers on the list included Richard Randall, a KVOR radio host, who criticized reporting of police brutality elsewhere in the country; Charlie Ehler, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate; Jared Maddox, coordinator of the John Birch Society in Colorado Springs, which seeks to support the Constitution; and Joseph Santoro, Colorado coordinator for the Oath Keepers, which also seeks to support and defend the Constitution.

Several people in the crowd openly carried handguns, at least two of whom had them tucked into the waistbands of their jeans and skirt.

MacLachlan wanted to host the event to set a positive example for his children, to lead by example that it’s important to support the people who protect them.

“I think we live in a society of sound bites,” MacLachlan said earlier in the afternoon, before any of the speakers took the stage. On many occasions, the truth is not what people were first led to believe, and a misleading story can “wrap itself around the world twice before the truth makes it down the block.”

“Instead of a protest against protesters, the idea is to have a pep rally,” he said, adding that he recently attended an open forum where El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder and Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey both spoke. He praised their cooperation and said Colorado Springs is blessed to have the law enforcement that it does.

The hope for Pro Police Rally is to make it a non-profit organization, and make supporting police a regular thing, said Michelle Mallin, who coordinated the event with MacLachlan.

“It’s a movement,” she said. “We don’t want it to be one or two days in the park.”