Supporting the Blue: Local police connect to the community with ‘Viva McAllen Streets’

McALLEN — Residents from across the Rio Grande Valley turned out in high numbers Saturday to honor local law enforcement and “support the blue” at the “Viva McAllen Street” event.

McAllen Crime Stoppers, a nonprofit organization built on a solid partnership between law enforcement, the media, and a team of volunteers working together to help solve crime sponsored the event at the McAllen Convention Center. The organization encourages citizens to aid us in solving crimes, by offering cash rewards, and assures anonymity to those who furnish valuable information leading to the arrest of criminals, according to their website.

Roy Cantu, McAllen Crime Stoppers president and other board members chose the theme “Support the Blue” to celebrate all the men and women in law enforcement.

“As an independent organization, (McAllen Police) Chief Victor Rodriguez wants officers to make an effort and go out to the community and meet with the people and we supported the idea and that’s we started this event.” Cantu said.

In its fifth year, “Viva McAllen Streets” aimed to promote health and fitness for Valley residents with an early morning bicycle ride in which 200 riders participated with the option of 25-, 40- and 60-mile rides throughout Upper Valley cities. Approximately, 600 individuals participated in the family run and walk and another 200 in the kids run, both taking place within the convention center grounds.

Additionally, Crime Stoppers promoted their campaign of “Run, Ride and Share” with the transit and traffic departments conducting a stimulation through a bike rodeo for children to practice safety tips.

Residents also had the chance to stop by and speak with the local law enforcement, such as McAllen Police Department, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, among others.

H-E-B also took part this year, giving away drawstring backpacks filled with school supplies.

McAllen resident Julissa Macias, 11, who will begin the sixth grade this fall, attended with her family and received school supplies to help her prepare for the upcoming school year.

“Color pencils, binders and rulers,” Julissa said of the supplies she received and added that, “she’s now prepared for school.”

Julissa also participated in the kids run around the Oval Park, as well.

Julissa’s dad, Oziel Macias, said he found out about the event through his neighbors and was excited to attend for his children to receive school supplies since he is unemployed and doesn’t know if he would be able to purchase the supplies for his children.

The day was concluded with 40 teams that participated in the cook-off that included favorites such as fajitas, beans and pan de campo.