Days after an order from the Police Service’s Citizens’ Inspectorate, some Calgary police officers continue to wear the thin blue line patches on their uniforms.
Last week the Calgary Police Commission announced its decision to no longer allow officers to wear the patch on their uniforms on duty.
The commission said it came to the decision after a year of deliberation and deliberation, saying the patch has “a controversial history with roots in division, colonialism and racism.”
“Countless” thin blue line patches distributed by the Calgary Police Association: Commission
Adam Massiah was present with the United Black Peoples Allyship at the consultations with diversity groups and the Anti-Racism Action Committee.
“We have made it very clear that this symbol is directly offensive to racialized communities, Black and Indigenous Calgarians, and is in direct contradiction to the idea that Black lives have value,” Massiah said. “I understand they see it as a symbol to commemorate their fallen officers.”
To that effect, many officers are defying the order after the Calgary Police Association distributed “countless” thin blue stripes to police officers and community service members in response.
Calgary police officers are defying orders to remove thin blue-lined patches from uniforms
The Calgary Police Association did not respond to Global News’ request for comment Monday.
Last week, the association’s president, John Orr, said they didn’t believe the symbol was divisive and accused some members of the commission of being anti-police.
Orr called the patch a “vitally important symbol” for officers and their families in Remembering Our Fallen Officers.
According to Ward 8 Councilor and Commissioner Courtney Walcott, the Calgary Police Commissioner would be responsible for any disciplinary action taken against officers who flout the order.
The Police Commission said CPS leadership had been working to “achieve voluntary compliance”.
“The chief is the person who has discretion in determining how to enforce their orders,” Walcott said. “It will be a question he will be asked at the Commission as to what the next steps are for those who have chosen to disregard the voluntary compliance aspect.”
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Walcott said he hopes to ask several questions at Wednesday’s scheduled police commission meeting to provide the public with clarity on last week’s events.
“You obviously know the emotional weight as officers, but do you know the emotional weight behind it for the public?” said Walcott.
“If so, then that speaks a lot for the decisions that are being made, that discussions need to be held at the Commission.”
However, experts believe any enforcement or disciplinary action due to EU policies could pose another set of challenges police service regulations and the sheer number of officers who continue to wear the patch.
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According to Kelly Sundberg, a criminologist and professor at Mount Royal University, cases of disobedience must be dealt with on an individual basis and not in an “omnibus” manner.
“It’s going to shut down the process of professional standards,” Sundberg told Global News. “The only thing I see is that there has to be serious discussion, maybe mediation and exploration.”
The Calgary Police Service also did not respond to Global News’ request for comment.
Sundberg said he was concerned the Calgary Police Commission’s decision reflected “reality in the United States,” which he said was “not entirely accurate or correct in the Canadian context.”
“Because of this merging of trying to fit American reality with Calgary reality, it has raised a lot of concerns in the police community,” Sundberg said.
—with files by Paula Tran from 770 CHQR
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8734162/calgary-police-officers-defy-order-thin-blue-line-patch/ Calgary Police Officers Defy Orders to Remove Thin Blue Line Patches from Uniforms – Calgary