The "Thin Blue Line" flag has become a symbol of pride for law enforcement officers and their loved ones. It's their way of saying they are proud of their profession and dedication to the community. For those who display the flag or the symbol, it's a way of letting law enforcement professionals know "I stand with you."
Because of the riots and anti-police sentiment taking place across the country, Boise Police Department Chief Ryan Lee is asking his officers to refrain from having the flag or symbol on display, either while on or off duty. The directive includes images on face masks and coverings.
“The decision to not put them out in public is to avoid creating any barriers or causing any division with people in our community,” BPD spokeswoman Haley Williams told the Idaho Statesman.
Although the flag is allowed inside the police department and officials “understand the symbolic importance of the blue line flags to many people," the symbol creates issues with other external groups.
Then-Acting Chief Ron Winegar made the decision last month. Lee decided to keep the decision on the books.
“Blue line flags and masks and just about whatever variety you may have are still welcome inside City Hall West,” Winegar said at the time. “I do ask that you refrain from wearing or displaying them out in public while on duty.”
The directive was made after a school resource officer at a local high school was asked to remove a "Thin Blue Line" flag from his office.
“As much as it breaks my heart to make this decision at this time, when it seems like our morale is being bombarded at every turn, I believe it is the best decision based on all of the circumstances,” Wagner stated. “The bottom line is the administrator of the high school has asked us to remove the flag. We are attempting to navigate through some very difficult times related to race relations in this country, as well as relations with our school partners here in Boise, and when that symbol creates a problem or a barrier for our partners externally, we need to be responsive to their requests.”