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Thin Blue Line

What started as a phrase, became popularized as a graphic image, then unfurled as a thin blue line flag, has been around for a long time. The thin blue line is seen on police cars, lapel pins, coffee cups and COVID-19 masks. Only recently has the thin blue line flag sparked controversy.

Content within the Thin Blue Line topic lists frequently asked questions about the thin blue line, discusses what police officers should consider before displaying a thin blue line flag, and reviews some of the current discussions as to whether law enforcement agencies should display thin blue line imagery within their departments.

Departments and officers should factor in citizen concerns, the U.S. Flag Code and the First Amendment in their decision
A retired sheriff addresses what the Thin Blue Line flag means to him and so many officers who wear or have worn the badge
Cpl. Demetrius German poses in front of one of the largest thin blue line flags in the country
The request to fly the flag was in honor of fallen Trooper First Class Aaron Pelletier, 34, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash on May 30
The proposal was voted down by the Wethersfield town council, which cited a rule that requests to fly the flag be submitted 30 days in advance
The court sided with the officers, saying that the township failed to demonstrate “real, not conjectural, harm” by using the flag
“I will take every resource out of the academy … I will not allow another potential probationary police officer to be part of this academy,” a Bloomingdale PD official said
London’s Metropolitan Police had banned officers from wearing the badge to avoid officers “showing allegiance to any cause”
A board had voted to ban the display of the flag on township property, police uniforms and officers’ tattoos while on duty
Several community members saw the post and began labeling the flag as a symbol of “extremist views”
“The flag, to me, presents the honor, valor, dedication and sacrifice of LE to protect our communities, but that view is not universally held,” Chief Michel Moore said
Tom DiSario plans to file a suit against his HOA, promising that “every officer in the state of Ohio … will be able to fly this flag without any HOA telling them to take it down”
The flag was said to cause “divisiveness” and players were told it should not be flown back in September
Parents and students wore shirts featuring a “Thin Blue Line” flag, with the words “THE BLUE HAD OUR BACKS NOW WE BACK YOURS!!”
Football team players are not allowed to carry the flag during games any longer due to “divisive controversy”
“I don’t believe that’s a political statement,” Rep. Kevin Miller, a former state Highway Patrol trooper, said
Read about a cop’s savvy crisis response, a heartbreaking friendship and more from this week’s news
West Haven city officials are now working to address a gap in the city’s charter
The law protects flags that support first responders, regardless of HOA regulations
An Ohio neighborhood is showing its support for the father of a slain police officer
If the flag flies into traffic and causes a crash, the state could be held responsible, said officials with Ohio’s transportation department
“It saddens me to see the blue line being redefined and misrepresented,” said a retired trooper whose brother died in the line of duty
Thomas DiSario has flown the flag since his son was killed in the line of duty in 2017
“During roll calls, please inspect our members and remind them the Thin Blue Line is PROHIBITED!” an email said
Mount Prospect Police Chief John Koziol defended the patch saying it is a “slap in the face” to officers when people say the flag is a symbol of hate
We received dozens of emails from readers in response to recent news that police chiefs were removing thin blue line imagery from their departments
Sheriff Dale Schmidt criticized the decision, saying he believes banning the imagery sends the wrong message to citizens and law enforcement
Following community criticism, two police chiefs announced they would be removing thin blue line imagery from display in their agencies
UW-Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman said the flag has been “co-opted” by extremists with “hateful ideologies”