After a complaint from an offended citizen, the city council demanded that the local fire department remove the Thin Blue Line flags from their trucks, which expressed support for police officers. Shortly after, the fire department came up with a response the city never expected.
Due to growing animosity toward law enforcement officials, it’s becoming more difficult for police officers to do their jobs without fear of retaliation or violence. Disturbingly, politicians and activists alike are attempting to turn the profession into a political issue.
While being a police officer is burdensome enough, even those who support their efforts to stand in the gap for those vulnerable to criminal violence is likely to earn censure or worse forms of punishment, as a local fire department has discovered.
In remembrance of Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna, who was murdered in the line of duty after a suspect bashed him in the head with a rock and shot him several times with his service pistol, the Hingham Fire Department (HFD) in Massachusetts secured Thin Blue Line flags to the backs of their fire trucks.
After receiving a complaint via email, the Hingham Selectmen’s office issued a directive to the fire department to remove the flags from their trucks. The city officials claimed that the flags violated a policy prohibiting political symbolism on town property and assets, The Hingham Anchor reports. As such, the Hingham Firefighters Local 2390 requested a copy of the policy in question. After repeated requests were met with silence from city officials, the HFD grew suspicious of the officials’ motives.
After the city repeatedly failed to produce the policy it claimed had been violated, the firefighters union issued its own statement vowing to keep the Thin Blue Line flags on its trucks, according to The Police Tribune.
“The flags were recently put on the apparatus leading up to the anniversary of the senseless murder of officer Michael Chesna in our neighboring community of Weymouth,” the union wrote on Facebook. “We continued to fly the flags after the anniversary in support of the law enforcement officers in our own community, as well as all law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.”
The union reminded the city that the Thin Blue Line flag is not political but has represented police officers as public servants for more than a century.
“It has always, and will always, represent the men and women of law enforcement that hold the line between peace and chaos. Especially those who have bravely made the ultimate sacrifice during the performance of these heroic duties,” they wrote. “We stand by our initial statement that this has no political message for one reason, and one reason only, because honoring the sacrifices made by the men and women of law enforcement is not political. Period.”
Soon after, the city refused to reconsider its decision to have the flags removed, putting the department in a tough situation. As such, the HFD came up with a plan. Instead of packing away the flags altogether, they donated them to the Weymouth Police Department, which in turn handed them over to the Weymouth Fire Department to fly on the back of their fire truck, which is just minutes away from Hingham. The clever move ensured that the banner remains.
“The Thin Blue Line flag from Hingham FD was placed on the rear of Weymouth Engine 3 this morning,” the Weymouth PD confirmed.
Although the city demanded that the fire department remove the show of support for law enforcement officers, they ultimately failed to get rid of the flags. The Thin Blue Line is still waving so that the citizens of Massachusetts may see that honoring good officers who sacrifice to serve their communities isn’t something to be stifled.