Another Mass. fire dept. removes 'thin blue line' flags from trucks

Somerville's mayor said the flags were part of "an unauthorized action"; the removal comes after a similar controversy in Hingham, Mass.

Heather Adams, Springfield, Mass.

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The ‘thin blue line’ flags have been removed from Somerville fire trucks.

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the flags were part of an “an unauthorized action” and that they have been removed, according to WHDH.

“We sincerely hope that the people who did this did not understand how hurtful this would be to our community,” said Curtatone, the news station reported. “I and the city have respect for our first responders and their work to make everyone in the community feel safe. This is not the way to advance the effort.”

The removal of the Somerville flags comes soon after ‘thin blue line’ flags were removed from fire trucks in Hingham and given to Weymouth, the Norfolk County city where Police Sgt. Michael Chesna was fatally shot two years ago in the line of duty.

Chesna’s widow, Cindy Chesna, criticized the town of Hingham’s efforts to remove the thin blue line flags from its fire trucks in an emotional Facebook post.

Cindy Chesna said the town’s actions are “a personal attack on everything Mike stood for as a police officer and a decorated army veteran.”

“The thin blue line flag is not a political statement and does not represent an opposition toward anything. It simply represents the police officers role of separating the good from the bad while creating order from the chaos,” she said.

The controversy weighed on Hingham Police Chief Glenn Olsson, who ultimately decided to retire. Although, he noted that he had been thinking about retiring for a while, Olsson told The Patriot Ledger. His contract was set to expire in May 2021.

“My parents said, ‘When it’s time to retire, you’ll know.’ And they were right,” Olsson told the Ledger.

In Somerville, Tom Ross, the president of the Somerville Firefighters Association Local 76, says the flag is meant to honor fallen officers.

“This isn’t a political statement that was meant to generate any kind of hate from anybody in the public,” he said, according to WHDH. “The only thing this was meant for was to honor the police officers who have died in the line of duty in the past.

©2020, Springfield, Mass.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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