Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese recently removed an American Blue Line flag from an employee breakroom after it was deemed “offensive.”
The flag came from Police Memorial Week held annually in Washington, D.C. It has great significance because it stands for all fallen police officers, according to the Willamette Valley Lodge #7.
They said that it “represents all of the sacrifices that law enforcement has made, and our brothers and sisters who have laid down their lives.”
The flag hung at at unknown date by an unknown person in the corrections officers’ breakroom at the Multnomah County Courthouse. That breakroom is for employees’ use only, and public access is not allowed. Its current location, and who took it down is also unknown.
Sheriff Reese ordered the flag be removed because it was “offensive,” according to Oregon Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7. The Lodge said that it had received complaints from its members about the flag being removed.
In its August 23 message, the FOP said, “Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese recently ordered that this Law Enforcement Memorial Flag be removed from an employee breakroom because it was offensive. The Sheriff’s actions have since sparked outrage, with many finding his conduct offensive.”
In response to the FOP’s post, the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said in the comments section that “The US National Flag Code guides our display, and forbids alteration, of our Flag. While we always honor our fallen law enforcement officers, it’s important that we do so in County facilities in a manner that doesn’t violate any established protocols. Sheriff Mike Reese strongly supports our law enforcement officers and has spoken publicly of their courage, integrity, and commitment to service.”
In reply, the Oregon FOP said “Breaking News: Not all Sheriffs agree with the opinion of the Multnomah County Sheriff.”
We’ve had numerous discussions about the American thin blue line flag with various veteran and law enforcement groups. Each group we spoke with unanimously agreed that the flag was effectively a different flag than the American flag, and not an alteration. On social media, some individual veterans continue to disagree, and they do not like the blue line flag.
Claims that the blue line flags alter the American flags are also common among Black Lives Matter supporters as a way to attack law enforcement
Now in order to keep some unknown person from being offended, the Sheriff has offended many law enforcement officers in the area.
When Blue Lives Matter spoke with the Lodge, they said that they had no prior notice that the flag was going to be removed, and that perhaps being upfront, having some type of advance notice, and discussion about the reason might have been more appropriate.
They added that it was sad that deputies and officers didn’t get the support they needed from citizens but moreso from one of their own, and that this doesn’t need to become common practice.
Sheriff Reese was not immediately available for comment.