The Thin Blue Line (emblem)

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The "Thin Blue Line" symbol
A blue laser beam was projected during the 24th annual National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on 13 May 2012 in Washington, D.C.

The Thin Blue Line is a symbol used by law enforcement in the United States and Canada to commemorate fallen officers.

Each stripe on the emblem represents certain respective figures: the blue center line represents law enforcement, the top black stripe represents the public whilst the bottom represents the criminals.[1]


Proponents of the symbol assert that the identifier is intended to show support for police.[1]

The display of the emblem has allegedly been used to gain favorable treatment from officers in order to get immunity from traffic tickets (also known as "professional courtesy").[2] Even serious offences such as drunk driving are subject to professional courtesy "discretion", and federal law assists in the process by exempting police officers and firefighters from a federal law that requires truckers to be blood-tested after an accident.[3]

Police have attempted to prevent non-police from using such emblems by supporting laws that stop anyone but law enforcement officers from displaying such stickers, but these laws have been struck down.[4][5]


The Gold Star attribute signifies law enforcement and military officers who have retired or are currently serving meritoriously.[citation needed]

Popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Thin Blue Line". 19 September 1999. Retrieved 16 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Special license plates shield officials from traffic tickets". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  3. ^ Nalder, Eric; Kamb, Lewis; Investigative, P-I (2007-08-05). "A broken system works in favor of cops busted for DUI". Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  4. ^ Kravets, David (2 April 2010). "Law Against Police Bumper Stickers Unconstitutional". Wired. Thread Level (blog). Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  5. ^ "Village can’t bar civilians from displaying police-related decals". First Amendment Center. Associated Press. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]