The Thin Blue Line

Blog Post

University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman recently banned the thin blue line flag and imagery on everything from coffee mugs, notebooks, decals, flags and a wide array of other items. Her decision comes after the agency was criticized after some in the community saw a thin blue line flag in the background of a photo the agency displayed on social media. (see the offending flag in the photo below)

Courtesy: Twitter @UWMadisonPolice

Wisconsin Right Now reported on Chief Roman’s memo. “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.” Chief Roman continued, “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.”

The idea originated in 1854 and is associated when Lord Tennyson’s poem “Charge of the Light Brigade” was described by the British press as the thin red line. That idea of a line of brave defenders standing between peace and chaos was borrowed by law enforcement and was first mentioned in the 1950’s.

Hail to the Chief…

Chief Roman picks and chooses extremists and she didn’t seem to mind the hundreds of Black Lives Matter Flags and apparel (along with all the COVID Restrictions) when she marched with them on June 8, 2020. And the last we checked, not only was the 2016 ambush and murder of several police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas inspired by supporters and sympathizers of BLM, there have been countless attacks on law enforcement and property from those claiming to be BLM.

28 thoughts on “The Thin Blue Line

  1. It is a well known and recognized phenomenon in law enforcement that the placement of one or more stars in the immediate area of the carotid artery inhibits the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain.

  2. I can see a lot of “Blue Flu” going around… What about officers having a Blue Line decals on their POVs while they are parked in the back lot while on shift? Will they have to scrape those off too?

  3. Touchy feely crap…what a coward. My resignation would be drafted and submitted inside of five minutes.

    1. You wouldn’t have gone to work for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Campus Police Department in the first place, Camperfixer. You’d have more pride than that, and a lot more on the ball.

      1. True. It’s time to expel these losers for all aspects of American life. (Yeah, a platitude, but I feel better.)

        1. That was “true” regarding “wouldn’t work” for such a shop. As for “on the ball”, still a work in progress which keeps life interesting.

  4. Wow. What a way to suck what little remaining esprit-de-corps existed than to attack what little good still exists within law enforcement, that of officer standing with officer.


    There are lots of nice positions available in still good law enforcement organizations that aren’t taken over by progressive sons of unwed mothers and intact female dogs of breeding age.

    1. Likely at U-W (Madison) PD, the men have had tuck and roll jobs and the women wear ‘male appliances’. That’s the only reason that I can see that they’d still work there. I realize that Wisconsin had a lot of police related issues, apparently and this sort of thing underscores why you’d be better off being a piano player in a whorehouse.

          1. Or “The Lap Dance is so much better when the Stripper is Crying” (Bloodhound gang).

  5. We’re living in post-America, the cops being anti-police is sorta par for the course.


    1. There are 800,000 police officers in the USA +/-. If 200,000 are on the dark side, that leaves 600,000 and that’s a good thing.

  6. Rhymes with “itch”.

    That’s the type of “leader” who got where she is by comforting those of higher rank; for those, loyalty only goes up the ladder, not down. Many streets are named in their honor (One Way and Dead End).

  7. So, does she think that BLM will attack her last if she attacks herself and her officers? She(and many others) seem more manager than leader. A manager abuses his/her authority for personal gain while a leader uses authority for the betterment all. Heck, I admit I’m just adding to what Wild, Wild West said above!

    1. WWW was spot on and so are you. Police departments tend to reflect the communities that they serve. As Mike_C says below, their stand on things reflects the values of the city and the university system.

  8. “Forget it, Larry, it’s Mad City.”

    I lived there for a year; not at all surprised by this.

    1. I’ve heard the same thing, Mike_C.

      She reminds me of many of the Quislings that I’ve seen running law enforcement organizations. Clearly not all are like that, but far too many.

      1. Best to drive right past and head for Door County, have lunch at Al Johnson’s in Sister Bay, then get a pie at Bea’s Ho-Made (I kid you not, that’s the name, and the pies are epic.)

  9. In my history book, the thin blue line goes back to Sir Robert Peel, the founder of London Metropolitan police in 1829 and the father of modern policing. Sir Robert Peel’s basic idea with the police was the absence of crime and established Nine Principles of Policing.

    1. The basic mission for which police exist is to prevent crime and disorder as an
    alternative to the repression of crime and disorder by military force and severity of
    legal punishment.
    2. The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon public approval of
    police existence, actions, behavior and the ability of the police to secure and maintain
    public respect.
    3. The police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance
    of the law to be able to secure and maintain public respect.
    4. The degree of cooperation of the public that can be secured diminishes,
    proportionately, to the necessity for the use of physical force and compulsion in
    achieving police objectives.
    5. The police seek and preserve public favor, not by catering to public opinion, but by
    constantly demonstrating absolutely impartial service to the law, in complete
    independence of policy, and without regard to the justice or injustice of the substance
    of individual laws; by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all
    members of society without regard to their race or social standing, by ready exercise
    of courtesy and friendly good humor; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in
    protecting and preserving life.
    6. The police should use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of
    the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning
    is found to be insufficient to achieve police objectives; and police should use only the
    minimum degree of physical force which is necessary on any particular occasion for
    achieving a police objective.
    7. The police at all times should maintain a relationship with the public that gives
    reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the
    police; the police are the only members of the public who are paid to give full-time
    attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the intent of the
    community welfare.
    8. The police should always direct their actions toward their functions and never appear
    to usurp the powers of the judiciary by avenging individuals or the state, or
    authoritatively judging guilt or punishing the guilty.
    9. The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible
    evidence of police action in dealing with them.

    The phrase “that the police are the public and the public are the police” are the key to police success. They are the thin blue line since 1829.

    Not accepting this is what I call historical revisionism and George Orwell wrote about it.

    1. “There was once a dream that was [Peelian policing], you could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish.”

      With apologies to the Marcus Aurelius of “Gladiator”. Now, the above is a touch too cynical even for me, but I would note that for Peelian principles to be possible in the real world, the population must be largely moral, reasonably intelligent, and mostly homogeneous. The West has passed beyond at least two of those three requirements, alas.

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