California Highway Patrol forbidden from displaying Thin Blue Line devices

Two weeks ago, one area command office of the California Highway Patrol issued a new directive stating that no “Thin Blue Line” insignias, devices or other paraphernalia would be allowed in department spaces or anywhere the public might see it. This included material hung in offices or displayed on uniforms or vehicles, including personal property. The memo they sent out went so far as to specify that nobody could use the slogan in the signature block of their emails. Considering the meaning of the “thin blue line” to law enforcement officers, that seemed like a fairly radical step to take, wouldn’t you say?

But as the Daily Wire reports, once they were contacted by the media, a retraction was issued… sort of. It was all a misunderstanding, you see. Somebody had misinterpreted an existing policy prohibiting the promotion of “social causes” on department property.

Fran Clader, CHP’s Director of Communications in Sacramento, stated, “The item … was included as part of a shift briefing for one area command within Border Division and has since been rescinded since it was a misinterpretation of department policy … [It] was intended as a generic reminder to personnel to refrain from promoting any social cause on state property or equipment visible to the public. The advisement does not pertain to personally owned items. “

A CHP representative in the field told Press California that the memo was issued by the commissioner’s office in CHP headquarters, adding, “CHP wants to stay neutral and not appear to endorse any particular group.”

Sorry, CHP, but that dog simply won’t hunt. It might be understandable for the state government to want to avoid the idea of a taxpayer-funded agency, including the CHP, “taking sides” in some sort of social debate or political issue. But this was not an act of endorsing any sort of outside activity. The Thin Blue Line reminds us of the importance of law enforcement. These are law enforcement officers. How is that “taking sides” in anything except possibly the side of law and order?

Further, as the DW goes on to point out, the taking of sides already started inside the state and municipal governments long before this and it wasn’t subtle in any way. The San Francisco Police Commission sent out an order for every police station to immediately put up a large Black Lives Matter sign and ensure that it was “visible to the public.”

On top of that, when you have mayors going out and helping activists paint gigantic BLM murals in the streets, it’s rather obvious that sides are being taken and you know whose side they are on. This shouldn’t have ever come down to some sort of partisan standoff offering a choice between supporting the police or endorsing the value of the lives of Black citizens, but here we are.

California’s reactionary liberal government has deep roots and it trickles down to all levels in most areas. Somebody specifically ordered the removal of Blue Lives Matter insignias from all law enforcement offices in one district. They didn’t say that *all* socially relevant messages were barred. Just that single slogan that showed support and respect for law enforcement. When the media called them out on it they tried to backpedal and pretend they’d meant something else, but the damage was already done. The police know who does or doesn’t have their back. And in at least some segments of the CHP management structure, the officers are not the first priority. Expect yet another wave of early retirements and resignations coming down the line before long.

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John Stossel 12:00 AM | April 24, 2024