Thin Blue Line
The Thin Blue Line is a symbol used by law enforcement, originating in the United Kingdom but now prevalent in the United States and Canada to commemorate fallen and to show support for the living law enforcement officers and to symbolize the relationship of law enforcement in the community as the protectors of fellow civilians from criminal elements. It is an analogy to the term Thin Red Line.
In the United Kingdom, the primary use of the badge is as a mark of respect for fallen police officers or staff. However, it also represents the thin line between order and chaos - this has become a large topic of interest in recent years, as severe cuts to government spending on public services has led to a dramatic decline in the number of police officers and staff in the UK. A variation of the emblem places a horizontal thin blue line across a Union Jack rendered in black and white. The sale of badges with this emblem is used to raise money for families of police officers that have died in the line of duty.
In the United States of America, each stripe on the emblem represents certain respective figures: the blue center line represents law enforcement, the top black stripe represents the public and the bottom represents the criminals. The idea behind the graphic is that law enforcement (the blue line) is what stands between the violence and victimization by criminals and the would-be victims of crime.
Proponents of the symbol assert that the identifier is intended to show support for police and the US flag-based version of the thin blue line has became a symbol for the Blue Lives Matter movement. In the wake of the 2016 shooting of Dallas police officers, a US flag based version became popular among law enforcement personnel, their families and supporters.
The term came into broad use after the release of Errol Morris' 1988 documentary film The Thin Blue Line, about the murder of a Dallas Police officer Robert W Wood. Judge Don Metcalfe who presided over the trial of Randall Adams, states in the film, that prosecutor "Doug Mulder's final argument was one I'd never heard before: about the "thin blue line" of police that separate the public from anarchy." The judge admitted to being deeply moved by the prosecutor's words, though the trial resulted in a wrongful conviction and death sentence.
The Thin Blue Line emblem has been controversial in both the US and the UK.
- In 2015, police officers in Sussex, England were told by their superiors to remove the badge from their uniforms since it was not part of their official uniform. There was a concern that it could be seen as a political statement related to cutbacks in police forces.
- In Chicago, in November 2016, protesters carried the US version of the flag to show support for police after a police shooting of a black man. The protesters confronted another group of protesters who felt the shooting was racially motivated.
- The US version of the flag has been seen by some as a desecration of the official US flag.
- In Warwick, New York, the painting of a blue line down a roadway was protested by some citizens as being in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. The town has since painted the line red white and blue, the colors of the US flag.
- The Thin Red Line - Fire services
- The Thin Grey Line – Corrections officer
- The Thin Yellow Line – Tow Truck Drivers Also used in some circles for security officers, who are associated with the Thin Yellow Line
- The Thin Green Line - Park Rangers, Game Wardens, conservation officers, as well as certain federal officers such as Border Patrol and the military.
- The Thin Gold Line – Dispatchers
- The Thin White Line – Emergency medical services. The thin white line differs from other thin lines in that the background is blue instead of black, with a white line crossing horizontally through the middle. EMS also still uses the "Thin Orange Line" which is primarily used by Search and Rescue.
ThinBlack Line - Nurses. The thin black line differs from other thin lines because it is a white background with a horizontal black line through the middle
- Jack Phillips, “'Thin Blue Line' Flags Appear Across the US”, Epoch Times, 12 July 2016
- James Murray, “Fury as police told not to wear UK flag badge in memory of colleagues killed” Express, 12 October 2015
- “Sussex PC told to remove union jack police charity badge”, BBC 17 February 2015
- Brenda Waters, “Thousands Line Canonsburg Streets To Pay Final Respects To Fallen Officer”, CBS local, 16 November 2016
- "Thin Blue Line: Interview Gallery". Errol Morris. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
- Howard Ludwig, “Three Groups of Protesters Come Face To Face in Mount Greenwood”, DNAinfo, 20 November 2016
- Richard J. Bayne, “Blue line causes friction in Warwick”, Times Herald-Record, 6 December 2016
- NCFFF, “The Red Line of Courage”, 03 March 2017
- “Tow truck driver killed on pike to be honored by colleagues”, 21 February 2015
- The Thin Gold Line, “The Thin Gold Line”, 05 January 2015