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Flags Currently Flying at Half-Staff in Honor of Police Officers Killed in Baton Rouge

The flags at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office have been flying at half staff since the Nice attacks and Dallas police officer shootings. Photo by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

Minus a few days between the attacks in Nice, France, and the shooting of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, the flags at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office have been flying at half-staff since July 8, according to Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.

This July, the flag has flown at half-staff across North Carolina and the rest of the country on three separate occasions on the orders of Gov. Pat McCrory and President Barack Obama.

Currently, the flag is flying half-staff to honor the lives of the three police officers in Baton Rouge who were killed on Sunday by Gavin Long, a former Marine who served in Iraq.

In issuing this order to remain in effect through Friday’s sunset, McCrory stated, “This tragic incident involving the killing of police officers in Baton Rouge is another example of the danger our law enforcement officers face every day in communities across our nation. Ann and I are praying for the families of these fallen officers who were murdered while simply doing their job. Now more than ever it is time to show our support for those men and women in law enforcement who put their lives on the line every day to protect us.”

In Avery County, Sheriff Kevin Frye recently wrote a 600-word post on the Avery County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page after the dust settled in Dallas. Frye noted that social media and the 24-hour news cycle has caused the hundreds of thousands of officers to become targets of public outrage, convicted in the court of public opinion – and “not given the benefit of waiting on court and evidence.”

“Last night I watched a debate where some are calling for the total disarming and dissolution of law enforcement, their idea was to let the communities take care of their problems and this lady was from the murder capital of the US, Chicago. I heard people say they were more afraid of the police than the gangs, which control sections of their cities,” Frye wrote on July 12.

“Although I have empathy for people living in those conditions the facts, something often overlooked, do not bear out this type of reaction. Radical people and radical thoughts seem to get all the press, seem to get all the attention and seem to be heard more than those who try to use facts and common sense to try to find real solutions. It is going to take responsible journalist, responsible corporations ( Youtube, Facebook, Twitter etc) and responsible citizens to change the path we seem to be on and to keep from inflaming people with quick rash videos and provocative statements and political rhetoric.”

In closing, Frye mentioned how he and his deputies were greeted by dozens of folks while at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and received dozens of cupcakes and cards of support form the American Heritage Girls Troop NC 0516. He described how “heartwarming” it was when these folks offered their support and talked about how much they respected the efforts of law enforcement.

“We as law enforcement know we are supported by the vast majority of citizens and I want to thank you so much,” Frye wrote.