Our good friends and brothers at Law Officer recently published an article on a topic which deserves attention from every American cop. A ‘thank-you’ to them for raising the issue.
They were very polite which is commendable in light of a subject that should anger every cop who has ever worn a badge in the defense of others. I’m pissed-off and I will explain why to my Brother Street Cops. The Law Officer story is about the University of Wisconsin/Madison chief of police. Her name is Kristen Roman.
I know … it’s appropriate for this person’s title to be capitalized, i.e. Chief of Police. I have intentionally denied Ms. Roman that honor because … she doesn’t deserve that level of respect. Frankly, after her most recent stunt, she shouldn’t be chief. But, that’s another story.
Ms. Roman ordered her officers to remove the Thin Blue Line emblem everywhere it appears when they are on duty. Places like flags, stickers, pins, bracelets, notebooks, coffee mugs and the list goes on. Sickening.
She claims in an internal memo that extremists have “visibly co-opted the thin blue line flag” and it places officers at “greater risk.”
Greater risk, she claims? Show me any evidence that any has been put in more danger than they already are by just wearing their uniforms. If it’s true (a very BIG ‘if’), CONFRONT THOSE WHO THREATEN YOU and drive them into the ground, i.e. six feet under it.
Maybe Madam Chief doesn’t know: this is America and we are cops. We don’t cower. We don’t hide, and we don’t run. We fight! To the bitter end.
If you are a cop … even a chief or a sheriff, and you DON’T SUBSCRIBE to those courses of action, please: turn in your badge now because you likely don’t have the guts to wipe your own ass.
At this point, I’m going to include the original text of Ms. Roman’s memo to her crew. You know, the ones who committed to protect the staff & students of the University with their lives. If you don’t care to read it, just move ahead to the ‘SKIP IT’ heading.
If you do plan to read this disgusting piece of prose, you might want to keep a bucket handy because it might make you puke.
MEMO STARTS HERE
I want to begin by acknowledging the extraordinary times in which we are currently carrying out our duties and responsibilities as guardians of our community. I certainly feel the weight of the national and local narratives that dominate the headlines depicting all police as white supremacists – a profoundly disturbing sentiment that seems to have gained wider support following last week’s insurrection at the US Capital during which extremists once again waved thin blue line flags. I’m certain we can all agree that the actions and hateful ideologies of extremists who have so visibly co-opted the thin blue line flag in the promotion of their views not only threaten our democracy, our communities, and justice in all forms, they run counter to UWPD’s core values and significantly impede our efforts to build trust. This, in turn, places officers at greater risk physically and emotionally.
Guided by our core values, my responsibility to ensure your safety as best I’m able, and by what I believe in my heart is the right thing to do under present circumstances, I am moved to enact specific measures to distance UWPD from the thin blue line imagery and the fear and mistrust that it currently evokes for too many in our community. I understand the complexity and sensitivity of this issue. Attempts I’ve made to point to distinctions and true meaning as well as denounce acts committed under the thin blue line banner nationally continue to fall short in ways I can’t simply ignore. The balance has tipped, and we must consider the cost of clinging to a symbol that is undeniably and inextricably linked to actions and beliefs antithetical to UWPD’s values.
At the end of the day, we have dedicated ourselves to a profession that demands service above self. As such, relevant community concerns, perceptions, and fears necessarily outweigh our shared professional investment in a symbol that presently separates and alienates us from those we have promised to serve.
Effective immediately, visible public displays of thin blue line imagery while operating in an official capacity are disallowed. This includes flags, pins, bracelets, notebooks, coffee mugs, decals, etc. Upon my approval, event-specific displays such as line-of-duty death observances, may be exempted. Similarly, visible tattoos that include the thin blue line are not required to be covered, as my intent is not that we reject outright the symbol for what we understand it to represent, nor do I believe it to be inherently racist/fascist as many purport. Instead, my intent is to be reasonably responsive to its detrimental impact on many in our community for whom the visible symbol holds a very different meaning.
I know that conversations about the thin blue line have been taking place in various work units following the tweet that showed the flag in the OTR and my subsequent statement. I encourage you all to continue these discussions. I believe we have the capacity to embrace a ‘both/and’ rather than an “either/or” and while stopping short of dismantling our existing installations, I expect that I/we will be held to account for not doing so. To this end, we owe it to our community and to ourselves to grapple with the complexity of this issue and consider what degree of divestiture is most valuable for all concerned.
In closing, in addition to the restrictions around visible displays of thin blue line imagery, as we head into the next several days and the potential for peaceful protests to take a turn toward violence, I urge you to carefully consider the ways in which we engage with those who espouse ideologies antithetical to UWPD core values and the constitution we have sworn to uphold. Our usual approach to crowd management is not universally applicable insomuch as it compromises our integrity. Be very cognizant of the consequences that jovial interaction, selfies, and the like, will have for the department and our broader community in the context of everything I’ve pointed to in this not-so-brief email.
I understand that this decision may cause emotional responses, even anger from some. I, too, feel hurt and disappointed as we confront our current reality. I know this is hard. I know this issue is complicated. I also know that a symbol is not what holds us together or makes us a team. Rather, it is our shared commitment to service and to first and foremost doing what’s best for our community.
With endless gratitude and appreciation,
I sincerely hope that BLM or some other Marxist-led organization doesn’t decide to start using the American Flag or the Crucifix as emblems, else we would be told to hide them, as well.
What I am about to write is my opinion. It does not represent CopBlue or anyone else. Just me. You have the right to disagree.
The Thin Blue Line is our emblem. It has been since 1854. No group of assholes are going to do anything to steal it from us lest we treat them to a very violent and painful death. It symbolizes our commitment to serve the people of our respective communities. Ir is a visible indication of our willingness to fight and die to save our brethren. If some group of law-breaking assholes wants to attempt to steal it from us, let it only serve as a guide to help us locate and kill them. We will fight to it to our death.
Unlike chief Roman, we are men and we aren’t a bunch of candy-asses.
This is just another example of why most women have no place in law enforcement. Calm down; I said most, not all. I remember one female cop who worked in Birmingham, MI. She was tough as nails and wouldn’t take any shit from anyone. Tougher than many of the guys. Her kind are awesome – and rare.
She is the exception. To be sure, there are others; but damn few of them.
Due to being smaller and weaker than most men, females are typically relegated to working in schools, being the PIO or some other position where confrontations are rare. I remember the academy: every woman had to be helped with DT, on the range and other physical activities. They constantly needed a male to help them.
I strongly suspect the choice of Kristen Roman for the chief’s job was a “status” selection. She got the job primarily because she’s a female. Only a tiny, select few can get through the process. The often ultimately lead the men to become soft and weak.
Most females I have encountered in law enforcement would rather invite the bad guys over for tea than face them in an all-out do-or-die confrontation.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
If you’re a cop at U of W/Madison, consider getting a large Thin Blue Line flag tattooed on your forehead.
The chief’s memo closes with this line:
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
My reaction to that statement in one word: BULLSHIT.
Reading Roman’s memo caused me to remember a line my first LT would use with some frequency:
“If I wanted to listen to an asshole, I’d fart.”
Never, ever give in to bullies because if you do, you will be beholden to their whims and desires and we can guarantee you that is not in the best interest of law enforcement.
Ms. Roman: I strongly encourage you to consider another role at the university. Maybe you could pass out flowers to the incoming freshmen women at the university next year.
“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “
We couldn’t agree more.
Jim enjoys hearing from his readers – EMAIL
Thank you for allowing us to share this article with you.
Please LIKE, SHARE and leave a comment about this article below.
Our editor can be contacted with any questions or input here – EMAIL
Remember to ‘Follow’ us
Thank you for supporting CopBlue.