- The Calgary Police Commission has ordered that all on-duty officers stop wearing ‘thin blue line’ patches on their uniforms by Friday.
- The Calgary Police Association’s president, John Orr, said he doesn’t know what will happen if officers continue to wear the patch after Friday.
The Calgary Police Commission has instructed on-duty police officers to stop wearing ‘thin blue line’ patches on uniforms by Friday, stating that they must be replaced with “a symbol that better reflects the values of Calgarians.”
The Calgary Police Commission announced the decision on Wednesday.
“While the thin blue line patch was never accepted for officers to wear, it began to appear on uniforms regularly when officers were issued external body armor with patch attachment points,” according to a press release.
“Officers were allowed to continue wearing the thin blue line patch while consultations were taking place, but all on-duty officers will be expected to remove it by the end of the month.”
Officers, as well as family members, wear the patch “to honor the fallen” and show support for those who serve, but “the thin blue line also has a contentious past with roots in division, colonialism, as well as racism, most recently being prominently displayed at counter-protests against the Black Lives Matter campaign,” as per a press release.
Calgary Police Commission chair Shawn Cornett stated, “We know members of the service assist the principles of community policing, being dedicated to those they serve and nurturing trust.”
“Members have also informed us through engagement surveys that they are committed to addressing racial injustice and being respectful and compassionate to all Calgarians, including those who do not share the majority’s views.”
Calgary Police Association president John Orr stated he doesn’t know the punishment if officers keep wearing the patch after Friday. However, a “significant” number of officers currently wear one.
“However, we believe the symbol is very important for policing,” he said. “It has been misunderstood and misrepresented by some, but it means a lot to us.”
Some Calgarians “have conveyed that the thin blue line patch on police officers makes them uneasy due to its history and current use by groups opposing racial equity,” according to Cornett, who led a year-long consultation process that included two Calgary police associations and Beyond the Blue, which supports police families, as well as several community groups like the Anti-Racism Action Committee and also the CPS Community Advisory Board.
“The symbols of policing must evolve as well. It is the right thing to do to stop using a symbol undermining some Calgarians’ trust in the police, “she stated.
The two police associations and Beyond the Blue are now collaborating with an independent creative agency recruited by the commission to create a new symbol that officers can wear. The invitation has not yet been accepted, but it is still available.
ACCORDING TO ORR, the CPA found out about the redesign plans on Monday.
“However, I don’t believe there is enough trust among the members I represent and the Calgary Police Commission at this time to realize that without any new symbol losing its meaning,” he said.
The Calgary Police Commission comprises ten community members and two city councilors who provide oversight for CPS.
According to Alberta’s Police Act, the police chief must report directly to the commission, and the commission must give direction to the service through the chief.
Source: CTV News
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