Calgary Police Commission directs Calgary Police Service to remove the thin blue line patch
As of today, on-duty Calgary police officers will not be permitted to wear Canadian flag patches with a thin blue line through them following direction from the Calgary Police Commission.
“I know how much the thin blue line patch means to the members of the Calgary Police Service and their families,” said Chief Constable Mark Neufeld, “while I understand there has been valid community concern over the use of the patch and its roots in colonialism and its more recent co-opting by White Supremacy organizations, I can confidently say that not a single member who put that patch on their uniform meant anything other than to show pride in their profession, and to honour the fallen.”
Last March, after issues surrounding the thin blue line patch arose at the Calgary Police Commission meeting, Chief Neufeld committed to doing extensive consultation and engagement with diverse communities through CPS’ external Anti-Racism Action Committee (ARAC) and Diversity Boards and circles, as well as the Calgary Police Association, Senior Officer Association and Calgary Beyond the Blue (a spousal support network for police officers). The results from that engagement showed that while many people understood the significance of the thin blue line patch to police officers and their families, for some Calgarians the symbol represents the history of colonialization, and more recently, the emboldening of White Supremacy groups. For those reasons CPC’s decision is to have us remove the symbol from our uniforms.
A large part of the anti-racism commitments we made in our Notion of Motion in September of 2020 was to listen to community concerns while working together to find solutions. We have been engaging with communities on a variety of topics across the Service. We are currently reviewing how we can better engage with youth in our schools, translating crime prevention materials into Calgary’s nine most common languages, and developing new internal anti-racism training, education, and awareness. While we are proud of the work we have done so far, we know there is much more work to do.
“We committed to listen and amplify racialized voices, and while we are dedicated to doing so, I also recognize how disappointing this decision will be for many of our officers. For them, as it is for me, this symbol is profoundly meaningful and personal,” said Chief Neufeld.