Duluth Cops Told to Stand Down on Thin Blue Line Flag Masks

Duluth cops have been wearing donated protective masks bearing an American flag with a blue line running through it since the earliest days of the pandemic. But now they’ve suddenly been told to stand down from wearing the so-called thin blue line masks and turn them inside out to appease a handful of residents who called in to complain, according to the Duluth News Tribune.

“We made the suggestion to officers that we should probably flip them around so that just the black side was showing. And then, some did and some didn’t because it wasn’t an order or a directive or anything like that,” she [Ingrid Hornibrook, Duluth PD public information officer] said.

Hornibrook reports a number of officers used the masks without incident until Tuesday, when several complaints were lodged.

“So then yesterday, we reminded officers and employees to wear it black side out,” she said.

You’d hope that citizens would not only have more important things to do but also understand that frivolous complaints are the last thing law enforcement should have to deal with these days. But no such luck.

Andrea Gelb wrote to share her concerns about the masks with Duluth city councilors, noting: “There are law enforcement agencies across the country that have banned the internal use of the blue line flag because it’s become a divisive symbol. One of those current interpretations is that it does symbolize ‘blue lives matter.’ Another interpretation is that it references the blue wall of silence.”

Of course, the naysayers may well take offense with the new navy blue masks now on order for the Duluth PD. But there’s no masking the fact that increased hostility toward police officers makes the job harder and ultimately undermines public safety.

Hornibrook went on to say: “There’s been the suggestion that the ‘thin blue line flag’ is associated with white supremacy, and that’s just not the case. But it’s up to us to listen to the citizens that we are sworn to keep safe and make sure that they feel safe and comfortable while interacting with our officers.”