The Calgary Police Commission (CPC) said it’s supportive of taking time to allow further conversations on the controversial thin blue line patches.
The patch, worn by some Calgary Police Service officers, has been a source of conflict over the past few weeks. In late March, the Calgary Police Commission ordered it removed from police uniforms by the end of that month.
Later, Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld said they’d need at least two weeks to work with the commission on compliance.
On Thursday, the CPC said that its decision on the patch hasn’t changed. Their timeline has, however.
“It is understood that the road to compliance will take time,” their statement read.
Commission Chair Shawn Cornett said they have recognized from the outset that the patch was worn to honour fallen service members.
“While a personal view previously expressed by one Commissioner unfortunately sent a different message, the Commission as a whole has never doubted that officers wear the symbol to express positive things,” she said.
Chair Cornett went on to say that their intent was to ensure no Calgarian is faced with an approaching officer wearing a symbol tied to racially divisive moments today and in the past.
“Even if a majority of people are fine with the symbol, we need to work together to address the concerns of those who have seen the symbol at anti-Black Lives Matter protests, at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, during the US Capitol riots or at local divisive rallies and wonder why police officers in our city are wearing it too.”
Addressing other elements of the relationship breakdown
When Chief Neufeld spoke with the media in the first week of April, he said the thin blue line response was the manifestation of a deeper problem.
He said there had been a breakdown in trust between the commission and the police service. The commission said while they continue to discuss the thin blue line patch, they would also address these issues.
The Calgary Police Service said Thursday that officers wearing the thin blue line patch wouldn’t face reprimand while these conversations are ongoing.
“While it is acknowledged that CPC has provided lawful direction to the Service, further discussion by all stakeholders must take place to address the immediacy of the direction, as well as additional issues raised by the Calgary Police Association (CPA) and Senior Officer Association (SOA),” said Chief Neufeld.
“From individual meetings held throughout this week, it is clear that all parties are interested in finding a respectful path forward.”
As a result of these decisions, both the CPC and the Chief have set aside their compliance deadlines.