Thin blue line flags causing stir in town of Springfield

Lisa Bartlett Young

SUPPORTING POLICE: Residents in the town of Springfield don’t all agree Blue Lives Matter flags are appropriate for display on public property, echoing similar debates about Black Lives Matter flags. But at an April 19 rally in Springfield, a group of local supporters held a rally to show their solidarity with police.

The Springfield Police have been flying “thin blue line” flags to support for local law enforcement and their families, but some residents in town are upset and allege the flags are too political.

“I have received a few comments from concerned citizens on the thin blue line flag,” Springfield Town Manager Jeff Mobus told True North last week in an email. “I’m heartened that in the communications I’ve received on this issue that every comment about the Springfield Police Department has been positive.”

However, he added the flag itself has generated controversy among some residents in town.

“The concerns that I’ve received question the appropriateness of using the thin blue line flag on public property to show that support,” Mobus said. “Should it develop that the town needs to take a position, I would schedule a discussion at a future Selectboard meeting and have a public discussion of the issue.”

Mobus would not say who has filed complaints. However, he told True North that complaints have not come “from the Windsor County Democratic Committee as a whole,” and that he is unaware if the party has a position on the flags.

The “thin blue line” flag resembles an American flag but has a blue stripe to express support for law enforcement. Racial justice advocates argue the banner is a symbol of white supremacy and signifies opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stuart Lindberg

Residents hold “thin blue line” flags at an April 19 rally in Springfield, Vt., to show support for law enforcement.

On April 19, local residents aware that some in town are complaining about the flag held a rally to show their support for local police.

Lisa Young, a resident of Springfield and the treasurer of the Springfield Republican Committee, attended the rally.

“We wanted to show our support, so we organized a small rally of support for our police and first responders in downtown Springfield,” she told TNR. “We tried to keep it relatively small and not post about it publicly, out of concerns of backlash from the opposition. As it turned out, about 25 people participated, and the response from passers-by was extremely positive.”

She added that she thinks leadership within the Springfield Town Democratic Committee have been filing complaints with city officials about the presence of the pro-police flag.

“From what I understand, [members] of the Springfield Dems … contacted the town and the fire department to complain about them having thin blue line flags and signs on town property,” Young said. “The Springfield Republicans found this appalling and wanted to show our support.”

True North reached out to Char Osterland, chair of the Springfield Town Democratic Committee, and Springfield Police Chief Mark Fountain to find out who is filing complaints. Neither Osterland nor Fountain returned TNR’s repeated requests for comment.

However, Chuck Gregory, a Democrat and resident of Springfield, spoke with TNR, but discussed policing in general and did not address the flag controversy.

Speaking for himself and not the Springfield Democratic Committee, he cited statistics that suggest police work may not be as dangerous as some think. He said a comparable percentage of workers across several professions have died over the past year due to COVID-19.

“If cops are being killed in the line of duty, what about civilians dying from Covid-19 simply to keep the economy going and keep their families fed, housed and clothed, exposing themselves hour after hour to co-workers and customers who might fatally infect them?” he said.

Gregory said policing has “a fraternity mentality in which it is very easy to engage in outcompeting one’s peers, even to the point of engaging in unethical, illegal or immoral conduct.”

As violence has escalated in cities across the country, public opinion is turning in favor of police and away from social justice movements. In a four-month span from June to September 2020 public support for Black Lives Matter fell 12 percentage points.

A recent poll by Skeptic Mag shows that Democrats may be out of touch in their perceptions of police violence. Forty-four percent of liberals were convinced that at least 1,000 unarmed black men must have been killed by police in 2019. The actual number was 25.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Images courtesy of Lisa Bartlett Young and Stuart Lindberg

12 thoughts on “Thin blue line flags causing stir in town of Springfield

  1. I am happy to hear that people are supporting the police.

    Their jobs are dangerous, when I was a little kid my dad worked as a police officer at night to put himself through law school.

    But here is a secret, it would have been REALLY nice to see all of these “thin blue flags” at the Captiol on Jan. 6 where we saw people in MAGA hats beating police officers with the ends of the American flag poles, when they were crushing the head of a police officer in a door, when one police officer who was being beaten begged them to stop because he “was a father” and did not know what would happen to his daughters if he died.

    In fact, I personally have not heard any conservatives on this site, or other sites, express the fact that 42 police officers were injured on Jan. 6, ranging from spine injuries, loss of eye, heart attack, and so many more.

    If you support the police then you support them in ALL situations, even if they are trying to stop rioters whose message you may believe in.

    So easy to stand on a street corner in Springfiled, VT with your flag.

    Not so easy to stop a rioter holding an AMERICAN flag from beating up a police officer.

  2. Wasn’t springfield a great manufacturing town? Now riddled with drug problems? I bet people do support the police. Our press and representatives don’t. That and the propaganda publishers have it in for any law enforcement.

    Good on the towns people for supporting those who are getting unfair treatment day in and day out…….and I’m not talking about the criminals.

  3. Like DJT or not at least with the last administration we had law and order. We had a real secure border. Now people aren’t safe in their own country. We need law and order. These officers are part of our community and have been treated the way a baby treats a diaper. I support police, military and border security. I believe in legal immigration not open borders during a “pandemic “

  4. I wonder if they are going to remove Antifa flags or black lives matter flags. They where on public property peacefully gathering to show support for the Police., Chuck Gregory made no sense in his analogy of Officer killed in the line of duty and people “killed to keep the economy going”. Many people where given unemployment from the state and the Federal government. Law enforcement did not have that luxury we had to work everyday for the last year plus.

  5. I think this should turn into a sure you remove all the black lives matter flags in town and maybe we’ll remove the thin blue line ones.

    Opposition, conversation, and civil discourse are required for a civil society

  6. Chuck Gregory and those who imagine reality as he does need a reality check.

    COVID has a near 100% survival rate and does not pose any more of a threat to the police, healthcare workers, (or anyone else) than pneumonia, the flu, a common cold-also a coronavirus, etc.).

    People who have no regard for the law and are armed with a knife, gun, vehicle, etc, are a very real and imminent threat to the lives and health of police officers. To advocate as Gregory and his like-minded ilk do is either naivety or plain stupidity.

    Kudos to Springfield P.D. and your supporters. ?Display the thin blue line flag proudly and ignore detractors who have no concept of reality.

  7. I have flown my ” Thin Blue Line ” flag for months and will fly it every day until I die !!
    and I live in socialist Burlington, I’ve known too many good police officers to not show
    support.

    If it upset them ” TS “, my property my flag, and when I see a BLM sign or flag it tells
    me where a fool lives………….

    Springfield, stay strong you have support !!

  8. The residents who are upset with the thin blue line flags are the ones who are too political.

    Cancel the Cancel-Culture.

Comments are closed.