Jacksonville barbecue joint replaces pro-police sign stolen by vandals

Officers pack Willard's Bar-B-Q Junction to show support as new banner raised


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The owner of a Jacksonville barbecue restaurant whose pro-law enforcement sign was stolen last week replaced the banner Wednesday with dozens of officers looking on.

James Willard, of Willard’s Bar-B-Q Junction on San Juan Avenue, said he was angered over the disrespect shown to officers by the vandals, who left vulgar, anti-police stickers in place of the banner.

Willard hung a replacement banner Wednesday that read "Welcome Here" with the outline of badges and a “thin blue line” in honor of law enforcement. It was placed higher than the previous banner to help prevent theft.

“First of all, you feel violated, second of all, it turned to anger because of the disrespect our officers get,” Willard said. “It touched me personally because I know what they put on the line every day.”

Willard said he turned his anger into something positive and saw overwhelming support from the law enforcement community.

Shortly after the banner hanging ceremony, the restaurant was packed with members of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office who had lunch.

About the Author: