MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. -- As the nation mourns the three police officers killed in Baton Rouge, people in Maple Valley said they felt moved to show their support.
Andy Audette started Project Blue Stripe, which involves putting blue painter’s tape on car windows to show solidarity with police. Audette says it’s a simple gesture that has now taken on a life of its own.
With a simple blue stripe on his Dodge truck, Audette wanted to show police he supported them.
“When Baton Rouge shootings happened, I said we have to do something immediately,” said Audette.
It’s an act he shared on the community of Maple Valley Facebook page.
“So I thought what could people do immediately that isn’t going to cost anything and isn’t going to take up much time, and just as I was thinking through that, I was in the garage, and I found a roll of blue tape,” said Audette.
But what happened from there isn’t what he expected.
“I thought it would be cool to see a few blue stripes around Maple Valley; I had no idea that it would get all the way to Australia, Arizona, Hawaii- I had no idea,” said Audette.
Now volunteers are striping cars at Pocket Park, near Maple Valley’s QFC. They estimated they striped more than 150 before a planned event even kicked off.
“I put blue tape on my Jeep and back there so everyone can see it; I just want to show as much support as I can,” said Ryan Wales, who lives in Maple Valley.
It’s an action that even prompted a King County sheriff’s deputy to stop by.
“Knowing that the community appreciates what we do is validating in my career,” said Deputy Ron Capalungan.
And the movement isn’t just limited to cars, the blue stripes can be seen on storefronts, too, like Johnson’s Home and Garden in Maple Valley, which is offering a 25 percent discount on blue painter’s tape for anyone who wants to participate.
“We just had to beef up our order and we’re going to get a lot more coming in but with the feedback, I think we’ll need lots more,” said Jim Nadig, the store manager.
While Audette didn’t expect for this movement to spread the way it did, he says it only affirms just how many people stand by police.
Johnson’s Home and Garden’s manager says they sold more than 50 rolls of blue painter’s tape Monday, more in one day than they have in several months combined.
Organizers are encouraging people to continue striping their own vehicles or homse to show police your support. They’re asking people to use the hashtage #projectbluetape to share.