FAIR LAWN, NJ– In yet another example of “I will play so I can be re-elected”, Fair Lawn, NJ Mayor Kurt Peluso ordered Fair Lawn Police Officers to take off their thin blue line face masks during the 9/11 memorial ceremony.
Many view the thin blue line as a symbol of honor and respect, so it is only fitting that Fair Lawn officers wanted to showcase that honor on their face masks, at no better place then a memorial honoring the 60 officers, 343 fire fighters and 2,977 civilians that died that horrific day.
@benshapiro @seanhannity @realDonaldTrump in Fair Lawn, NJ, police were ordered to remove their thin blue line masks by the mayor and council during the towns 9/11 ceremony stating it was political. https://t.co/WH486MWnRh
— Shocking News (@news_shocking) September 14, 2020
Mayor Peluso however disagreed. The Mayor ordered the officers to remove their thin blue line masks, and instead don plain black or white ones (as seen below), stating:
The Blue Lives Matter mask is political.”
In response, the Fair Lawn PBA Local 67 released a statement saying in part:
…The Thin Blue Line is a tribute to all fallen police officers including those lose on 9-11. To interpret it otherwise would be hollow hearted. This is where we stand.”
Judging by the face mask that Mayor Peluso had on in a picture on his Facebook, he clearly does not have a problem with a flag being represented, he just has a problem with the POLICE flag being represented.
There is now a petition circulating asking people to as a show of support for the officers, and to denounce the actions of the mayor. The petition website reads:
“We the undersigned of this petition denounce the actions of Fair Lawn, NJ Mayor Kurt Peluso’s ordering of members of the Fair Lawn Police Department to remove face masks honoring those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty, the Thin Blue Line American Flag.
Mayor Peluso’s actions politicized a day in which we remember those that perished in the terror attacks of 9/11.
In addition to Mayor Peluso’s actions, there was no prayer or benediction, the ceremony lasted merely 13 minutes, and none of the council members spoke.
Only one of the family members of those we lost on that tragic day were in attendance possibly because the ceremony was thrown together last minute after public outcry on social media 48 hours prior to September 11th.
For a ceremony that was allegedly planned in advance, this was a rather sad tribute to those we lost.
Please sign below to show your support for our brave men and women who selflessly serve the great Borough of Fair Lawn, NJ.
They do so despite the actions of the Mayor and council who have clearly shown they stand on the side of the Black Lives Matter activists chanting “all cops are bastards” as well as those who hate and vilify police.”
You can sign the petition here.
Hold Fair Lawn Council accountable for demonizing police during 9/11 ceremony!!
The brave men and women who protect and serve Fair Lawn, NJ were recently asked to remove their Thin Blue Line American Flag masks during the town’s 9/11 ceremony!!https://t.co/sLtKo11yjG
— Millennial_Conservative™ (@Millennial_c0n) September 14, 2020
Mayor Peluso has yet to explain his rational for thinking it was a good idea to order officers to remove their representation of honor and respect for all officers both living and deceased on September 11th, other than the obvious reason of safe guarding his political reputation.
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Here is a story Law Enforcement Today brought you of a school superintendent who told athletes they could not showcase the thin blue line flag, and the county commission wasn’t happy about it.
CHARDON, OH – Ralph Spidalieri, Geauga County Commissioner went full on attack mode when he wrote a letter to the Chardon Local Schools Superintendent.
Spidalieri called for Chardon Local Schools Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr. to step down from his position. This was after Hanlon motioned to ban the “thin blue line” flag from academic functions.
This occurred after some student-athletes carried the pro-police symbol onto the football field.
Spidalieri wrote while calling for Superintendent Michael Hanlon Jr. to resign:
“Your letter sickens me and so many others that have reached out to me and expressed the same disgust with your inability to stand up and recognize their patriotism.”
This controversy all began from a Friday night football game. Chardon High School players carried the “thin blue line” American flag onto the field when they faced football foe Eastlake North High School.
Hanlon begrudgingly admitted that the Chardon community “developed a special relationship” with law enforcement after first responders were called to help in a 2012 school shooting. This left three dead, and three injured. The February 2012 high school shooting that left three dead and three others injured.
However, Hanlon said that with the modern climate, the pro-police flag could be misconstrued as racially motivated, and inappropriate for athletics which should be free of politics.
Chardon Chief of Police Scott Niehus addressed the community with a message describing how the bond between the police department and students became even stronger, and made the two groups closer in the wake of the school shooting on Feb. 27, 2012.
He recognized that the individual perspective of the Thin Blue Line is unique depending on each person’s experience with police officers.
In the letter Chief Niehus stated:
“Last Friday night, in a show of support for one of their coaches who also serves as a police officer, and in recognition of first responders throughout our community, the Hilltopper football team carried a thin blue line flag onto the football field with them. Our officers appreciated the show of support demonstrated by the players, as this has been an incredibly difficult and challenging time for many law enforcement officers across the country.”
Chief Niehus spoke of the history of the bond the police had with the schools. It started in 1947 with Chief John Bohl who loved kids, and understood the importance of a positive relationship between children and law enforcement. He started a crossing guard program and frequently found himself interacting with students. He continued through the D.A.R.E. Program, and the February 27, 2012 shooting. He addressed today’s concerns where tensions between teens and police are volatile.
“The officers of the Chardon police department strive to represent the best of what law enforcement officers should be. To us, the thin blue line represents the strength and courage of officers working together as a profession to make our community safe.”
He thanked the community for their support. He reminded and emphasized that anyone who needed their help would receive it.
He then concluded:
“When called upon we will respond. We will perform our mission as guided by our core values, and the principles of service, justice and fundamental fairness. That’s who we are, and that’s what our community expects of us.”
The Chardon Board of Education President Madelon Horvath emphasized their support for the Superintendent in a release. They also cited the district’s policy that prohibits political speech by staff members, although saying it “does not diminish the District’s support and appreciation for police and all first responders.”
A part of the released statement read:
“The Chardon Board of Education would like to make it clear that we are in full support of Dr. Hanlon’s and the Administration’s decision regarding the football team’s display of the Thin Blue Line flag on the field at last week’s football game. Because it was displayed as part of a pre-game ceremony under the supervision of school staff, it was construed as sanctioned by the school district. Political activity by staff members is not allowable under Board of Education policy.
In summation of the statement, it cited that as of now the thin blue line flag is considered a political statement. It has also chastised a teacher for a Black Lives Matter sign in the background during a school session.
The community has rallied around the students and their use of waving the thin blue line flag.
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