The History of the Thin Blue Line Flag
In today’s America, the phrase “Thin Blue Line” has become an important cultural symbol as a way to refer to the police. However, it was first used in 1911 to refer to the US Army, which wore blue uniforms until the end of the 19th century.
The first use of the “Thin Blue Line” to refer to the police comes from the 1950s. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) chief William H. Parker created the phrase to refer to to the LAPD itself.
The LAPD of the 1950s was full of corruption and police brutality. Parker initially denied these charges. However, he would end up launching a full investigation. By the investigation’s end, 54 officers would be transferred. 39 would be suspended. Eight were later accused of felony assault. Of those, five would be convicted.
With those officers removed, the LAPD was on its way to becoming Parker’s “Thin Blue Line.” They were a crisp, almost militaristic unit of policemen who struggled valiantly to protect everyday citizens from the collapse of modern society.
The phrase would be used again to represent the police in 1962 during anti-nuclear demonstrations. In 1965, the Massachusetts state government used it in a pamphlet to refer to its own state police. By the 1970s it had spread to police departments nationwide.
The Thin Blue Line came into its own again in 1988 with the release of the documentary of the same name. Directed by Errol Morris, the film deals with the shooting of Officer Robert Wood and the subsequent trial of Randall Adams, the man accused of his murder.
Thin Blue Line Flag Meaning
However, not many people know what it is or what it stands for. The standard design of the thin blue line American flag that has been popping up recently is this: a black and white American flag with a blue line down the center.
The significance of the colors behind the flag can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. Some say that the blue line is a representation of the officers themselves. The black lines serve as constant reminders of the officers that have fallen in the line of duty.
Others have different thoughts about what the flag represents. They believe that the police blue line flag represents the role of police as protectors of the community. In this interpretation, the thin blue line represents those men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for the safety of the community they serve.
No matter which version of the flag’s meaning you choose to put stock in, the flood of support around the thin blue line as a law enforcement flag has been enormous, especially in the wake of the shootings in Dallas, TX in 2016. Many law enforcement officers have come out to voice their support for the flag.
These believe that support for the flag is support for them. For them, it shows that any civilian who flies the thin blueline flag is showing their respect for law enforcement. Flying the flag tells these officers that the person flying it understands the risks of the job the officers do and appreciates what they do -- something especially important in the wake of what’s been happening.
Since then, the flag has been shown in many different forms and formats -- from wood-burned versions of itself to stencils on building walls. By far the most common version, however, is the standard 3 foot by 5 foot flag. It’s been flown by police stations, fire departments and companies of first responders -- all to show their solidarity with their fallen brothers and sisters.
Here at Vispronet, we’re proud to bring our version of the thin blue line flag -- as close to the original version as we can get it. Features of our thin blue line stock flags include:
- Durable polyester construction thanks to our Polyflag material.
- Metal grommets for hanging.
- Four different flagpole options.
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