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EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville showed its appreciation to its police officers in a big way Saturday on National Thank a Police Officer Day.

The Illinois Auxiliary Wives Behind the Badge Inc., sponsored Paint Illinois Blue across the entire state on Saturday, to coincide with the National Thank a Police Officer a Day.

Communities throughout the state showed their pride and appreciation for their local police departments displaying something blue outside homes, offices, businesses, etc. Ribbons or bows were tied around trees and there were messages on businesses.

In Edwardsville, businesswoman Paula Simmons led some of the efforts downtown with ribbons on her business and a sign thanking police. Cleveland Heath had a painting on its front window showing its appreciation. One neighborhood in Vicksburg on Chamberlain Drive had ribbons up and down the street. About 40 businesses participated in the thank you effort.

Other companies that showed strong support were County Seat Café and Sports Chiropractic in Edwardsville.

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Edwardsville Police Sgt. Matt Beihan said he and the other officers were thankful for businesses and people who remembered them with their signs of support over the weekend.

“We are always appreciative of the days where businesses come out and support us,” he said. “A lot of businesses volunteered and showed their appreciation with a bunch of ribbons and signs. That was very nice of them.”

Beihan said at the Police Academy, officers are taught that their job will not be easy and it can often be a thankless occupation working with the lowest forms of people, but said he and the other officers could not find an occupation more rewarding.

Just saying thank you means quite a bit and driving by and seeing the signs knowing we are appreciated goes a long way,” he said.

Nearby Caseyville, Hamel, Worden and Collinsville all celebrated law enforcement with days of appreciation on Saturday, Beihan said.

“Normally people don’t call you at the police department to say hi, so it is nice to see a ribbon or a sign saying thank you,” he said. “We are glad the public took the time to show their support.”

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