CLARK COUNTY, Wash. – A local sheriff is taking action against a symbol that honors fallen officers and demonstrates appreciation for law enforcement—the thin blue line flag.
However, the meaning of the flag has been hijacked by anti-police groups who’ve associated it with hatred and bigotry.
The symbol is sometimes flown as a flag, attached as a sticker, or weaved into material for a variety of items.
Sadly, the thin blue line flag is now removed from anything associated with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. In a directive sent out late last week, Sheriff Chuck Atkins told all workers that fall under the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to remove all thin blue line materials from uniforms, cars, and office buildings, KPTV reported.
Atkins spoke about the decision to remove the symbol during a Juneteenth webinar with the NAACP, saying he didn’t want a sticker to be the reason people might be afraid to come to law enforcement for help.
“I’m not gonna let that little sticker be the divide among people in the community who will be afraid to come to us because of that,” Atkins said. “I will remove that sticker, we’re still the same people. So, I hope the actions they see we take says we want to be part of the solution.”
Atkins admits he’s received flack from members of law enforcement for the decision, but says he still believes it’s the correct one. The sheriff’s office on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that all of the stickers had been removed.
The sheriff isn’t the only law enforcement leader afraid to stand up to the bullies who’ve misrepresented the honorable symbol. San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott prohibited officers from wearing a thin blue line mask in early May during the spread of coronavirus.
Even while issuing this directive, Chief Scott acknowledged the symbol dates back three decades and was adopted by the National Law Enforcement Officers’ Memorial calling it a, “meaningful expression to honor fallen officers.”
Nevertheless, the sellout chief said, “symbolism on some of our officers’ face masks may be perceived as divisive or disrespectful.”
As a result, the police union turned the disheartening directive into a fundraiser.
Labeling the face masks the “official mask of the SFPOA,” the San Francisco Police Officers Association made them available for purchase through a website.
“We’ve received calls from all over the country,” the union wrote on Facebook in May, adding that 50 percent of sales will benefit a scholarship program for the children of fallen officers. “The outpouring of support has been huge,” Law Officer reported.
A county executive in Maryland banned a police station from displaying a wooden thin blue line flag that was a gift from a local resident in November 2019, Law Officer reported.
“The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said at the time. “Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department.”
Elrich’s thoughtlessness was an insult to James Shelton, the woodworker who made the flag and graciously offered it to the officers of the 5th District.