The following letter is submitted jointly by Newport Out and Bike Newport Newport Out, Directors Sean O’Connor and Daniel Cano Retrepo Bike Newport, Executive Director Bari Freeman

Open Letter to Members of the Newport Police Department:

Many thanks to generous and community-minded members of the Newport Police Department. Their support of Saturday’s Pride Ride was greatly appreciated by all. Our bike ride around the City in support and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community is growing every year. This year they helped us to safely manage 125 people of all ages and abilities on bicycles for our ride around town. They did so with kindness, professionalism, and delightful good humor. A wonderful time was had by all, everyone was safe, and no one was inconvenienced. The atmosphere was overflowing with happiness and joy. 

We want to recognize and thank Newport Police Officers Drane, Sullivan, Mey, Coyle, Poplawski and Clarizio for volunteering to escort the ride on their own time. So generous and community-minded! 

Thanks also to Lieutenant Naylor for his quick and committed coordination and leadership. 

Extra thanks to Officer Poplawski for managing the only disruption of the good time. When an aggressive bystander with an aggressive dog intruded with harassment and homophobia, Officer Poplawski’s calm professionalism returned order quickly and ensured that the fun continued undeterred. 

Our society and our community are managing through many changes as we elevate and honor our diversity and the demands for equity. In this context, there are people and moments that shine enough to help light the way. Every time we step up because we care about our community, we shine that light – as everyone did on Saturday. 

How can we continue to make progress together? Let’s continue to think about proactive and productive collaboration.

Thanks to these stellar members of the Newport Police Department for being part of the Pride Celebration, and of our community every day.

From Your Friends at Newport Out and Bike Newport

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