CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Police Department's flag isn't an official symbol, but it's become an honor that can move officers to tears.
Mimi Barkey and her late husband, William, decided in 2008 they wanted to honor Cincinnati police officers whose exemplary actions set them apart from the rest of the force, so they created the design themselves and began leaving the custom-made flags in addressed manila envelopes outside district police stations.
They never told anyone who was sending them.
"(We left) a little thank-you note: ‘Thanks, you're a hero,'" Mimi Barkey said.
Until Monday night, when she and Honor Flight Tri-State together presented flags recognizing officers who had also served in the military. Many were overcome with emotion upon receiving the unofficial honor.
"I don't even know that I have the words right now," Officer Kelly Best, a 14-year Marine veteran and 16-year member of the Cincinnati Police Department, said. "I need time to reflect. It's overwhelming."
John Dunigan, who spent four years in Vietnam and 24 with the Cincinnati Police Department before his retirement, said he was grateful to be recognized.
"I felt like it was recognition I'd been waiting for for a long time," he said. "You can't help being heartfelt and emotional about it."