More than 30 people from the Billings community came out Monday evening for the Back the Blue Rally organized to show support for local law enforcement in the area.
Representatives of the Yellowstone County Sheriff's office and Montana Highway Patrol were present outside the Yellowstone County Courthouse as people gathered for the event a few minutes before 5:09 p.m.
The time was selected, organizers said, based on a biblical reference found in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
Kids carrying signs with slogans supporting officers and written messages of support walked around the rally gathering more messages for officers. Faith Chapel Youth Pastor Shane O'Brien led a prayer and a moment of silence was observed for law enforcement across the nation.
Mekka Pertuit, 12, carrying a "We see you" sign, said she wanted to reassure law enforcement that their actions are noticed. Mekka's mother, Kira Pertuit, organized the event along with Echo Jamieson.
Pertuit said she and several members of a women’s ministry named Beautifully Designed were in Dallas to attend the funeral of five officers killed by a sniper on July 7. Cities in all 50 states participated in the women's ministry's rally, Pertuit said.
The event was a "small gesture" of support for law enforcement, Pertuit said.
Yellowstone County Undersheriff Kevin Evans was at the event along with his wife, Michelle.
Michelle Evans said when she first met her husband, it seemed there was a little less danger to being a law enforcement officer.
"To watch him leave every day and to have our kids watch him leave," Michelle Evans said. "We pray daily he comes home safe."
She said even though she and her family worry, her husband makes her proud. She said the law enforcement family around her husband is filled with great men and women, who are knit together through tight bond of understanding.
"They have to wonder every day who hates them," Michelle Evans said. "It's good to look around and see, the majority of people support them."
Kevin Evans said the climate has made him more aware of his surroundings during daily patrol, but that he has felt the support of the local community. He said people approached him at Saturday's Fiesta Car Show and said that they support their local police.
Kevin Evans later passed out stickers to some of the kids who came to the event.
Jackson Eckley, 8, was one of the kids who came out to show his support of police. He said police protect people and are really helpful and that is why he likes them.
The event in the courthouse lasted about 10 minutes, and after, Pertuit asked everyone to follow the handprints plastered around the courthouse, police station and sheriff's office. The prints were done a few hours earlier by young volunteers.
Back the Blue bags, which include bottles of water, lip balm and messages of support, will be distributed during the rest of the week to local law officers in the area.