The flag is the ultimate symbol of a community, idea, nation, or anything else it is used to represent. It binds all those who value the thing it represents into a single entity. It invokes a deep sense of belonging in everyone that looks up to it and wishes to be represented by it. It acts as a means of reassurance when they might need some.
Police flags in America have gained ground recently due to the series of tumultuous events that have transpired. These events have widened the gap between the police force and a large section of the population. People who want to stand with the police under such circumstances use these flags to show their solidarity.
What to Know Before Showing Support
People are divided over the use of police flags in America. While some view it as a way to support hard-working police personnel, others see it as a symbol of violent authoritarianism and racism in some cases. Thus, it is essential to consider many factors before deciding to raise a flag to show your support for the police and/or other emergency first responders.
The US constitution provides a wide berth when it comes to freedom of expression. This freedom is what makes it a special place compared to many others. There are, however, some reasonable restrictions imposed as well. The US flag display enjoys many of these freedoms but comes with its own set of restrictions.
The design of the standard police flag is the crux of the issue here. It is basically the national flag that has its red stripes replaced by black ones, and the white background is going black as well. The blue background of the stars is also black. One of the stripes in the middle is colored blue, representing the thin blue line. This line symbolizes the security provided by the police by standing against unwanted elements.
There are numerous rules in the American flag code that should be abided by when flying it. One of them is that the flag can’t be used in any other color than the codified one. But the one for police is against that policy in the strictest sense. While there hasn’t been any action for such use, it is something to consider before displaying it.
The American flag for police is a controversial one and thus is not welcomed everywhere. While it’s the right of an American to express freely, the situation is less than ideal.
If you are in a neighborhood that has a lot of people who hold an antagonistic view of the flag, it might be more trouble. Some miscreants have physically attacked people for doing just this. As tempting as it might be to stand in defiance of them, a bit of caution won’t hurt, literally.
Not every police officer/department is on board with the idea either, quite ironically. The police vehicle you’re waving your flag to might have officers who’ll come and stop you. Some Police stations have refused to fly it themselves, while others have been forced against doing so.
Thus, it’s wise to check with your local police station/precinct before going ahead with the display. Also, consult the owner of the property if you plan on displaying it there. Some state laws might also apply, so keep an eye out for those too.
Positioning and Maintenance
While the police flag is not an official one, since it is based on the standard American flag, similar hoisting rules apply. You can place the flag in a slanted manner on top of your house, hang it vertically or horizontally, just as you do with the regular one. While it needn’t be illuminated at night per se, it must be protected against the elements. Torn flags must be burnt/disposed of responsibly.
When tucking away, neatly fold it and place it in a clean place. Make sure to place it where it doesn’t get dirty. The same applies when hoisting it. When using it in a rally, make sure not to damage it in some other way.
It must not be hoisted above the national flag. When used in conjunction with it, the national flag must be to the left.
Watch the Words
In the heated atmosphere of today’s political landscape, words can have very strong effects. Some flags have slogans referring to the idea or the movement. Standard slogans won’t contain offensive language or messaging. If writing something on it yourself, make sure to maintain the same dignity.
Remember, it should not become a symbol of hate but remain one of support and solidarity. The police use many tactics to take down the bad guys but practice caution while doing so. Your raising of the police flags must follow the same principle.