Milwaukee PD told to ‘inspect’ officers for thin blue line imagery

“During roll calls, please inspect our members and remind them the Thin Blue Line is PROHIBITED!” an email said


By Suzie Ziegler 

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Police supervisors have been told to “inspect” their officers’ uniforms and remove any thin blue line imagery, such as pins or bracelets, reported Wisconsin Right Now

In an email dated April 11, Capt. Carolyn Birch reminded supervisors that officers are prohibited from wearing thin blue line imagery while on duty. According to the email, an officer was recently photographed wearing a thin blue line bracelet. Birch ends the short missive by telling supervisors to inspect officers at roll call. The email reads: 

“A photograph of a D7 member wearing a ‘Thin Blue Line’ bracelet has been circulating on social media. During roll calls, please inspect our members and remind them the Thin Blue Line is PROHIBITED!” 

In February, Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman banned thin blue line imagery from “any MPD image posted publicly.” Officers are still allowed to use thin blue line imagery off duty and for certain ceremonial events. 

Norman’s statement, obtained by Wisconsin Right now, reads in part: 

“This is our directive; the blue line image should not be attached to any MPD image posted publicly in any of our buildings or attached to any of the MPD property, such as equipment or vehicles. That’s not the full list of the particular places but again examples of, but please note that I do not take this directive lightly; thus, this directive does not affect your off-duty life nor does it affect any pre-approved ceremonies or materials attached to one of our fallen officers.” 

[RELATED: State your case: Should the thin blue line flag be banned from police departments?]

Norman’s decision particularly ruffled some feathers when he ordered that “Thin Blue Line Chapel” signs be removed from police stations. The signs had been advertising a faith-based support group, according to an earlier report from Wisconsin Right Now. The support group still operates under the name, “Thin Blue Line Chapel,” but signage was removed, the report said. 

When asked if the department was banning all thin blue line imagery, Sgt. Efrain Cornejo said in February that “the uses are subject to approval by the Executive Command Staff.”

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