Newton Police Chief David MacDonald circulated this letter in response to some questions about a Thin Blue Line flag that had been on display in West Newton next to the police station.
Sometime before Labor Day, representatives of the Newton Police Memorial Association requested permission to fly the “Thin Blue Line “ flag in front of the Police Station (The Memorial Association maintains the Police Memorial and the grounds around it in front of 1321 Washington St). The Memorial Association is a Non-profit benefit association that among its duties is the provision of life, sickness and accident benefits to its membership. They have been around since the 1930’s.
The “Thin Blue Line” is a reference that has been around for decades and represents the Police as being that blue line that separates disorder from peaceful citizenry.
The Memorial Association’s intent was to show unity with one another and with men and women throughout the country doing this job. I granted permission. The flag has been flying for approximately two months.
During the weekend of November 4-5, several residents of the city apparently just noticed the flag and notified their City Councilor that “A Blue Lives Matter” flag was flying in front of the Police Station.
As a result, I consulted with the City Solicitors who informed me that the informal policy of the city was that; The American flag, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flag and the POW/MIA flag were the only flags that should be flown consistently from public flag poles. Flags such as the Thin Blue Line flag were ceremonial and would be more appropriate for an occasion such as the weekend of Police Memorial Sunday during the first week in June. As a result of this conversation, I have instructed the Memorial Association to replace the Thin Blue Line flag with the American flag, effective this morning, November 6, 2017.
I would also like to thank City Councilor Hess-Mahan for his ongoing support and service to our community for all these years and wish him luck in all future endeavors.
Chief David MacDonald