There’s more to Fourth of July than fireworks, friends and festivities — Blue Line Alliance wants to remind Ocoee of the law-enforcement officers who protect their family members and neighbors.
A pre-Fourth of July barbecue will be hosted on June 29 at Orlando FFL, 306 Ocoee Apopka Road, with all proceeds going to helping law-enforcement training and families who have lost someone in the line of duty.
Blue Line Alliance was founded by certified law-enforcement officer Marc Bernstein in 2018 with the goal to provide training, equipment and financial help to law enforcement agencies and their families, according to its website.
“I wanted to be in law enforcement my whole life,” Bernstein said. “For me, (it’s) ‘How can I help? How can I support the fight that’s going on across the country?’”
Fundraising was the most practical way to help, he said. There’s a lack of funds for community law-enforcement officers, a shortage of officers and old equipment. Blue Line Alliance wants to “fill that void,” according to its mission.
The organization has started working with a SWAT team in Kansas City to provide firearm resources. It has also worked with a small police department in Georgia to provide new bullet proof vests.
The organization is currently reviewing four new applicants for a partnership, Bernstein said.
The barbecue on Saturday will include vendors such as Orlando Harley-Davidson, the United States Conceal Carry Association and Bang Energy. There will be local restaurants providing food, as well as bounce houses for children and a batting cage.
Hosted by Orlando FFL, an Ocoee firearms and supplies store, the owners will have their liquor license approved for the day and will serve drinks, too.
Orlando FFL also will be a vendor selling firearms, supplies and classes it offers at the store. Guests can sign up for conceal carry classes and tactical training courses, all offered at the store.
All proceeds from the event will go toward the Blue Line Alliance. The nonprofit organization currently has a few national partners, but it is looking to help law enforcement close to home, Berstein said.
“What we’re trying to do is reach out to local law-enforcement agencies,” he said.
“We want to help everybody nationally, of course, but we’d much rather start with our home departments.”
For more information regarding the event or the organization email [email protected].