As a resident of Madison, I am shocked to learn that the University of Wisconsin – Madison Police Department officers have been banned from publicly displaying the “thin blue line” imagery. This means that on-duty officers will not be allowed to have pins, bracelets, cups, etc., that display the “thin blue line”. This ban should be withdrawn or overturned.
The “thin blue line” imagery is used to show support for the men and women of law enforcement. Police officers have taken an oath to protect and serve. These men and women put their own lives at risk to ensure law and order and to prevent society from descending into chaos. Many police officers lose their lives while on duty. The “thin blue line” is displayed by people to honor those who have served, and those who are serving in law enforcement agencies across the United States.
Opponents of the “thin blue line” claim that it is a symbol of racism. Last year, Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania removed masks with “thin blue line” images from the college’s bookstore after receiving complaints from the educational institution’s Office of Multicultural Life.
Also, last year, a school district in Ohio banned “thin blue line” flags after a high school football player carried a flag with the imagery out into the field in honor of first responders. While the student did so as a sign of patriotism, the superintendent of Chardon Local Schools declared that such display would “not be a part of future pre-game activities at Chardon athletic contests.”
This is not the first time that police officers have been banned from displaying the “thin blue line” imagery. In 2019, a county executive in Maryland called the “thin blue line” divisive. The county executive of Montgomery County banned a police station from displaying a “thin blue line” flag made of wood, which was a gift from an area resident.
While some say that the “thin blue line” is divisive, in reality the “thin blue line” imagery unites people in support of law and order in society. The decision to ban the “thin blue line” imagery in the University of Wisconsin – Madison Police Department should be withdrawn or overturned.