A nationwide campaign, Blue Lives Matter has made its way to Connecticut.
You may have seen it on the drive going southbound on Interstate 91: a digital billboard that reads “Blue lives matter.”
It’s located at exit 34 in Hartford and is part of a series of public service billboards the creators say salute law enforcement officers across the nation.
"We wanted to recognize the local police departments and men and women that put their lives on the line everyday,” said Stephen Hebert of Lamar Advertising, which owns the billboard. “I don’t know how they do it and we just wanted it to be part of the community."
The sign comes from a Memphis Tennessee branding agency named Tactical Magic.
Hebert said Lamar has now placed 302 billboards across the nation with the message.
In Connecticut, there are 21 boards where more “Blue Lives Matter” billboards could be placed, if the space becomes available. The message also includes the hashtag #THANKUBLU.
"For other groups that want to kind of expand on it for their own causes more power to them," said John Simmons of Hartford.
“The police: they do matter and they do protect us and we gotta watch out for them as they watch out for us," said John Vasquez of Hartford.
NBC Connecticut reached out to Scot Esdaile, President of Connecticut’s NAACP. He said in a statement:
“This effort to Co - Opt the Black Lives Matter Movement is totally unnecessary, the NAACP has an enormous amount of respect for Law Enforcement an worked closely with Law Enforcement leadership from across the State to pass the recent Law dealing with An Act Concerning Excessive Use of Force. Connecticut is moving in the right direction, and we've proven that the community, civil rights advocates, lawmakers and public safety leaders along with Governor's Office can make real change. We have many friends in the Law Enforcement Industry; and the community and police do not have to be at odds!!! It's imperative that we work together and not continue to fuel tensions!”
We reached out to a number of law enforcement officials in Connecticut today for their reaction to the billboard. All declined to comment.