GERMANTOWN, Md. – A county executive in Maryland has banned a police station from displaying a wooden thin blue line flag that was a gift from a local resident.
“The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said in a note. “Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department.”
The flag, a gift to the 5th District officers from Montgomery County woodworker James Shelton, is also known as a “blue lives matter” flag in response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which is why police antagonists claim it opposes their views.
However, “the flag is simply pro-police, not a symbol against anything or anyone, regardless of what Elrich purports,” said Jim McNeff, retired police lieutenant and managing editor of Law Officer.
A photo on the Montgomery County Police twitter page Wednesday shows Shelton and his young son presenting the artwork to three uniformed officers, WBFF reported.
“Thank you to resident James Shelton, who presented Montgomery County 5th District officers with a wooden American Flag that he had made in recognition of National First Responders Day. The flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station.”
Thank you to resident James Shelton, who presented Montgomery County 5th District officers with a wooden American Flag that he had made in recognition of National First Responders Day. The flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station. pic.twitter.com/kbAI32xHkY
— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) October 30, 2019
On Friday the police department posted what it said was a note from Elrich saying otherwise.
“Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones and I understand the concerns of the community,” the county executive said in the note.
He concluded by saying, “Under my administration, we are committed to improving police relations with the community and will immediately address any action that stands against our mission.”
Major Travis Yates, author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies” calls the decision by city leaders one of the most outrageous and cowardly acts he has ever seen.
Yates told us that “the time has come for our leaders to actually lead and sometimes in leadership you have to stand up and if we can’t stand up for the American Flag with a blue line that shows support for law enforcement, we will never stand for anything.”
Yates says he is embarrassed for any leader that bows down to “crazy outrage” by a few citizens in the name of improving police relations.
Yates, who leads the “Courageous Police Institute” said that who ultimately suffers is the good, honest citizens in the community and the officers that serve them.
“Right now I can guarantee you that the citizens in that community are wondering why any police leader would pay attention to this nonsense and the officers are wondering if anyone will ever support them considering the support of a symbol that honors law enforcement can’t even be supported. I can’t even imagine the fear these officers must have working for individuals that are displaying such weakness,” Yates said.
"The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others. Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department."
— Montgomery County Department of Police (@mcpnews) November 2, 2019
WBFF first reported on Ehrlich’s response to the flag gift late Friday.
The national spotlight has been on Montgomery County recently. This past summer police arrested at least seven confirmed undocumented immigrants for alleged rapes and sexual assaults. Elrich signed an executive order earlier designating the county a “sanctuary” jurisdiction, which facilitated the county controversy.
The order states that no county agency – including police departments – can cooperate with ICE. Immigration agents are barred from entering secure portions of county jails, and must take custody of illegal immigrants in public areas, such as jail parking lots. So is it any wonder that he would find the thin blue line flag offensive?