MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Dozens of Minnesotans gathered outside the state capitol Saturday night to say thank you to police officers who have paid the ultimate price.

The groups Backing the Blue Line, Minnesota Auxiliary and Wives Behind the Badge organized the vigil, which happened at the Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial.

Officers and their families, as well as grateful citizens, came out to the memorial, holding small glow sticks to honor the fallen.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Organizers read the names of 118 officers, and 20 canines, across the country who lost their lives in the line of duty last year.

Officer Grant Snyder said local police brutality protests–as part of a nationwide movement and the random killings of two New York City officers–highlight the building tension that needs to be addressed.<

“I like the idea of more open dialog and conversations,” Grant Snyder said. “I think the biggest thing we can do as police to try to engage the public in our jobs is exactly what’s happening here, and that’s to get a conversation started and start that conversation based on empathy.”

The group said it’s hopeful more honest and productive dialogue can help heal communities across the United States.

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