TULSA, Oklahoma — The Tulsa Fire Department is removing blue stripes from fire trucks. The chief thinks the stripes may send the wrong message to some people, reported NewsOn6.
“It hit me in my heart that this was the right thing to do for the City of Tulsa and for the citizens,” Chief Ray Driskell said.
The fire department admiringly added the stripe after the Dallas police shooting as a symbol of solidarity with law enforcement. But following the highly publicized incident involving Officer Betty Shelby, Driskell said he’s following his heart and taking the stripes off.
“Some people made a connection that, with Officer Shelby, the blue line meant that they supported her or that they back her or that they backed the decision from the jurors,” he said.
Yet the chief said that is not why the fire department put the tape on their trucks.
“Our service is not based on political affiliation – because what is happening in politics, even at the local level, has nothing to do with how we provide a service,” Driskell said. “It makes us no difference who they are. They are still gonna get our help and they are gonna get the best service that can be provided to a patient.”
That’s why Driskell said the fire department has to remain neutral and remove the stripe.
“I don’t need a blue stripe on my fire truck to show solidarity with the police department, they know that we support them. I have weekly meetings with them. I have firefighters who work out with them,” he said. “Had it not been for the Officer Shelby thing that happened I don’t know that we would be doing this either. I don’t know that there would be the perception that it means two different things to people. It only means one to me.”
Driskell asked captains at every fire department across the city to remove the stripes immediately.
NewsOn6 contacted the firefighters’ union for their reaction but haven’t received a reply.
So what are your thoughts? Is he a spineless fire chief or diplomatic leader?
Ironically, we noticed the Tulsa Fire Department still flies the American flag on the rear of their trucks, a symbolic gesture that largely began following the attacks on 9/11. Will Driskell remove the flags next?
(Photo: Screenshot YouTube video)