After almost two months in limbo, Calgary police officers have a date for thin blue line patch removal from on-duty uniforms.
Early Wednesday, a CBC Calgary story indicated the Calgary Police Association informed members to stop wearing the controversial thin blue line patch.
In early April, Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld delayed enforcement of the commission direction.
During the Calgary Police Commission meeting on May 25, Shawn Cornett, Chair of the Calgary Police Commission addressed the matter. She said the patches were to be removed from uniforms by May 31.
“Our decision on the thin blue line patch was in no way, an expression of non-confidence in the members of the Calgary police service, the commission and the community value,” Cornett said.
“Those who serve strongly support visually honoring the fallen officers who gave their lives to protect our city.”
Cornett made a point of thanking Calgary police for their ongoing work in difficult circumstances. She said they understand the differing perspectives on the patch.
“The commission also does not question whether Calgary’s police officers wear the symbol with good intentions or to express positive things,” she said.
“Our unanimous decision was always based simply on the symbol, having mixed meetings to a significant number of people in our city.”
The Thin blue line patches are going to be replaced with a symbol that better reflects the values of Calgarians, according to the commission.
Mixed meanings on the thin blue line patch
The patch with the thin blue line represents a way to honour officers who have died in the line of duty. It’s used as a means of showing support for those who serve and acknowledging the special part police play in society.
However, Calgary Police Commission recognized the patch has mixed meanings.
“The thin blue line has a contentious history with roots in division, colonialism and racism, most recently being prominently displayed at counter-protests against the Black Lives Matter movement,” the Calgary Police Commission stated in previous comments.
“People in our community have clearly expressed that the thin blue line patch on police officers makes them uncomfortable due to its history and current use by groups opposing racial equity. As policing evolves, so must its symbols. Discontinuing the use of a symbol that is undermining some Calgarians’ trust in the police is the right thing to do.”
Cornett said that she recognizes that members of the Service stand behind the values of community policing and are dedicated to those they serve.
“[Members] are committed to addressing racial injustice and being respectful and compassionate towards all Calgarians, even those who do not reflect the views of the majority,” she said.