Members of the Calgary police commission say they’re “frustrated” over the distribution of “countless” thin blue line patches to officers.
They said in a release on Friday afternoon that they remain committed to working with Calgary police officers on the symbol.
The Commission directed officers, through Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld, to stop wearing the patch as of April 1.
“There are varying views of the thin blue line amongst those who sit on the Commission and we have had many long conversations about it,” said Commission Chair Shawn Cornett.
“We know the thin blue line patch is a symbol with deep, positive meaning to the police officers who wear it to support one another and honour those who have given their lives to keep us safe.”
Calgary media has reported that the Calgary Police Association (CPA) has encouraged members to take a stand against the commission and wear the patch.
An email was sent earlier this week requesting a comment from the CPA. After Friday’s Calgary Police Commission (CPC) release, another email and phone call were made to the CPA. None of those requests have yet received a response. We will update the story if a response is provided.
The CPA recorded message indicated office closure at the noon hour on Fridays.
Meaningful to members
Chief Neufeld said earlier this week that he doesn’t believe any member with the patch is wearing it for any other reason than to show pride in their work.
“I know how much the thin blue line patch means to the members of the Calgary Police Service and their families,” said Chief Neufeld.
“We committed to listen and amplify racialized voices, and while we are dedicated to doing so, I also recognize how disappointing this decision will be for many of our officers. For them, as it is for me, this symbol is profoundly meaningful and personal.”
CPC Chair Cornett said they recognize the meaning to officers. They are also aware of the perceived racist meaning for others.
“The entire Commission completely supports there being a patch to express these ideas and does not think officers are wearing the thin blue line to express the same things as those who use the symbol negatively, but we also all agree that the thin blue line patch now has too many other messages mixed in with it to be the symbol used for this purpose,” she said.
They continue to support a revised design of a new patch officers would be authorized to wear while on duty.