Pro-law enforcement flag sparks controversy in Paso Robles

May 7, 2021

Ty Lewis

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A pro-law enforcement “thin blue line” flag placed outside the Paso Robles Public Safety Center last weekend sparked controversy in the North County city, leading to the police chief ordering the flag be taken down.

Community members attached the flag to a light post near the coroner of 10th and Park streets, Paso Robles Police Chief Ty Lewis stated in a Facebook post. Likewise in display of support for police, community members attached American flags, blue ribbons and other decorations to gates, light poles and public property surrounding the Public Safety Center.

Shortly afterwards, the city received a complaint about the flag from a resident. The individual stated the flag was controversial and divisive and requested it be removed.

In attempt to avoid controversy and preserve public trust, Lewis ordered the thin blue line flag be removed from the light pole, he said.

“I am aware that the symbolism of thin blue line flags is viewed differently by many,” Lewis stated in the police department Facebook post. “Some view it as a symbol of law enforcement support, while others view it as a racist and divisive symbol. I leave it to each community member to research this controversial topic and form their own opinions.”

After police removed the flag, a rumor swirled on social media that a community member had stolen it. The rumor is not true, the police chief said.

“I am solely responsible for the removal of the flag,” Lewis wrote. “Further, there have been many unproductive and negative conversations on social media about this community member that included veiled threats. I humbly request these unproductive accusations and threats stop immediately.”

Such conversations do no promote community trust and have created a distraction for the police department, the chief added.

The police department’s Facebook post containing the message from Lewis has received nearly 1,000 comments in less than 24 hours, with many commenters criticizing the chief for removing a flag display intended to show support for law enforcement. Some commenters thanked Lewis.


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giblets56

As a resident of Paso Robles I am dismayed that a flag honoring those that keep us safe is more divisive than a group of people yelling Black Lives Matter and defund the police, in our public park.


slo-to-load

“Community members attached the flag to a light post near the coroner of 10th and Park streets”..


There is a “coroner” at 10th and Park?


chocolate_addict

What gives him the right to remove the flag? Is there a law that allows him to do that or a civil code? Why is it people are allowed to riot, loot and engage in violent protest with impunity yet people who are peaceful, law abiding and merely place a flag have their rights trampled on? If the Chief thought the flag was divisive he should have thought about his actions. We have seen an erosion of our civil riights with the system of taxation, business regulation, cancel culture, covid19 restrictions and frankly this just adds insult to injury. I suggest every single member of Protect Paso should march on the Police Station and every single sympathetic member of the public. The chief has lost the confidence of the public and may be in an untenable position as he is seen now as weak, on the side of the cancel culture and susceptible to pressure from special interest groups and woke people.


mazin

Judging from this post, the “thin blue line” flag Protect Paso folks have an agenda other than simply being pro-law enforcement.


chocolate_addict

I can’t speak for anyone else and I dont have an agenda I think what goes along with being pro law enforcement is being pro democracy, pro peaceful demonstration and pro the orderly rule of law, the end to mob violence and equal treatment under the law. I would imagine that protect paso feels the same way. It is BLM that has the agenda to promote Marxism, break down the political system, stir up violent protest and raise millions of dollars from woke corporations. So if you call returning society to norms of civil behavior an agenda maybe you have a point.


Buchon

I wish officials would jump as high/fast when someone esquires about a govt agency (quasi or not) flying one of those highly offensive rainbow flags.


mullyman

George I see your point but I bought a bag of oranges from the fruit stand and when I opened it low and behold there was a rotten/bad one in the bag. There is always a bad part waiting to get out and it needs to be thrown away when it does.


kayaknut

I think that’s one of the big problems with police departments and other government agencies, and very few talk about. That rotten one you find is seldom thrown away but often allowed to continue or quietly leave for retirement or another location with their rottenness hidden behind a mask of ” it’s a personel issue”, until that stops many people will still have a negative opinion of the police and government.


commonsenseguy

Really? So is this setting a standard? Those of you who agree with the flag being removed need to know, that what goes around, comes around. You might be careful what you wish for.


coyote

I find the rainbow flag to be controversial and divisive so I’m sure it’ll be coming right down. I’m doubting that this will pass the moderator but I’ll just run it up the old flagpole an see if anyone salutes.


commonsenseguy

Give it a day or two and it might happen. It’s happened to my comments multiple times. The left doesn’t like its hypocrisy called out and most likely complain until the post is removed.


slo-to-load

Any flag (rainbow, blue line, whatever) that is not the American Flag should be equally disallowed on government property. So yes, if someone put up a rainbow flag, that also clearly would be taken down.