HOA asks woman to remove pro-police 'Back the Blue' sign from yard

Homeowner says she put up sign following August's deadly Kissimmee shooting

By Jennifer Ortega - Reporter

ST. CLOUD, Fla. - A sign of support for police is now at the center of controversy in St. Cloud.

Neighbors are being told to take down these signs that read "Back the Blue" because they're supposedly breaking the rules.

"Why would this make a difference?" Janet Van Kirk said. "(It's) just a sign that says 'Back the Blue.'"

Van Kirk said she has displayed the sign on her lawn for months now, alongside a handful of neighbors who are showing the same support. It wasn't until this week when the homeowners association she's a part of sent a notice, saying the sign is unauthorized.

"All I'm trying to do is back the law enforcement officers, (who) serve and protect our community," Van Kirk said.

Van Kirk said she first put out the sign when the two Kissimmee police officers were gunned down in August, adding that some of her family members serve in law enforcement and the incident really hit close to home.

"It's not like it's controversial," Van Kirk said. "It's not like it's a hate group. Why does this make a difference on my property values?"

In the notice sent to residents, it states, "The primary purpose of a community association is to maintain and increase the value of each owner's property. It is not the desire of the board of directors to impose hardship."

Some neighbors agree with the association.

"When is enough enough?" one man asked. "You just have to obey the rules and that's it. I think
the signs should not be there and (should) come down."

Added Van Kirk, "If we can't make some compromise with the home association, (in) going to the meeting and coming up with something, then I'll remove (the sign) at that point. But I'll leave it up till then."

News 6 reached out to the homeowners association asking the group what will happen if the signs aren't removed. We're still waiting to hear back.

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