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Signs Of Appreciation For Searchers Cropping Up Across Clinton County

Pat Bradley/WAMC
Search for fugitives continues in Cadyville 6-13-15

With the massive search for two escaped murderers continuing for a 10th day, the many individual acts of kindness to show appreciation to law enforcement personnel in the North Country are becoming more organized.

The search for fugitives Richard Matt and David Sweat, who broke out of Clinton Correctional Facility, is now in its second week.  As of Sunday, more than 13 square miles had been searched in Cadyville, between Plattsburgh and Dannemora. 

More than 800 law enforcement officers have been scouring residences, businesses and forested terrain in weather that has ranged from sunny and warm to torrential downpours. 

The area is dotted with residences, farms and forest just outside the Adirondack Park.  The terrain can range from open paddocks to thick forests and underbrush.  Hundreds of searchers have checked every building within the search or entered swamps waist deep in muck.

Meanwhile, armed officers check cars at roadblocks.  Most are working 12-hour shifts — or longer — in a search costing $1 million a day.  People have been bringing officers snacks, but this weekend organized community support efforts surged through social media.   A blue ribbon campaign to express thanks is spreading across the region.

Another called “Grab-and-Go-for-COs” is gathering needed supplies according to Sara Laundry,  one of its organizers.  She says with the search lasting so long and the community wanting to help, she and others with family in the corrections community asked what is needed.  “A lot of them are from six hours away, three hours away. Figured they’d be here three, four days. They need toiletries, toothpaste, deodorant, socks, t-shirts, things like that. The comforts from home is a big, big request that we’ve gotten in the last two or three days. And nobody has any idea how long we’re going to be here.  We are here to stand behind them for as long they’re here working to find these two gentlemen and get them back behind bars where they belong.”

Co-organizer Diana Colwell says due to the large law enforcement presence in the area there is a sense of safety.  “There are so many wonderful men and women out here trying to find these guys and keep us safe at the same time that nobody’s scared of anything.  The children are out playing. They’re not being kept in any more and it’s wonderful the show of support.  It’s gone from ten people who were baking goods to drop off to three hundred and something already.”

Cheryl Oliver is from Mooers, north of the search area. She was dropping off a number of items including energy drinks and snacks.   “I started out asking to start  a campaign for boots and socks. Then I joined the Grab-N-Go-For-CO’s.  I hope it shows them that people are standing behind them and supporting them.”

Laundry used a phrase that’s beginning to make the rounds – a variation once heard in Vermont and Boston —  as residents deal with the possibility that violent escaped murderers may still be in their backyard.   “Everybody just wants to show how they can help the community.  And the littlest thing is tying a ribbon on your doorstep.  Every little bit helps. Everybody comes together when we’re needed and this is what we do. We are Clinton County Strong.”

Matt and Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional facility sometime early June 6th.  

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