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According to internal documents, the SPVM committed to making a decision on the legitimacy of the symbol almost three years ago.

Thin Blue Line at the SPVM: a decision by spring

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The “Thin Blue” crest Line” is represented by a black and white Canadian flag crossed by a thin blue horizontal stripe.

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The Police Department of the City of Montreal (SPVM) hopes to rule by the end of spring on the legitimacy of the symbol Thin Blue Line (TBL), while an internal ethics committee presented the conclusions of its work in June 2022, according to internal documents consulted by Radio-Canada.

The management of the SPVM has been caught in a dilemma ever since, despite the four scenarios that were presented to it concerning the reputational risks that the organization runs on this sensitive issue: maintaining of the status quo, the authorization of the wearing of this symbol, the prohibition of the wearing of this symbol or its authorization at times approved by management.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">On the one hand, the Brotherhood of Police Officers of Montreal (FPPM) and its approximately 4,500 members still demand the wearing of the' badge TBL by its agents, because it is considered a strong symbol of a solidarity movement in the profession.

The president of the union confirmed this position last week.

For our members, it is a symbol of solidarity which underlines the role and fundamental commitment of police officers in favor of the security of citizens and the democratic order. Our members hold it in good faith and we are opposed to its ban.

A quote from Yves Francoeur, president of the Brotherhood of Police Officers of Montreal

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On the other hand, groups defending civil rights and racialized populations in Montreal fiercely opposed it, because the American extreme right has appropriated this symbol for partisan purposes by launching Blue Lives Matter, in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

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Historically, the thin blue line symbolized the role of the police officer who protects the population from social disorder. Then, the badge was taken back by Canadian police officers in memory of colleagues who died in the line of duty.

In melee press release, on February 17, 2022, the mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, had also expressed her discomfort with the symbol worn by certain Montreal police officers.

Shortly after this declaration, the Ministry of Public Security, which had been questioned by the SPVM, judged that it belonged to the police authorities to resolve the issue.

Two years later, the uneasiness remains.

This symbol raises discomforts which divide the population and which have been shared at the SPVM.

A quote from Valérie Plante, mayor of Montreal

Mme Plante therefore leaves it to his police director.

Fady Dagher personally took up the matter and the SPVM is carrying out a complete review process of the standards applicable to police uniforms. We are convinced that a solution will be found and will allow police officers to commemorate [the death of] their colleagues who fell in the line of duty by taking into account the concerns raised by this symbol, she added.< /p>Open in full screen mode

The chief of the Police Department of the City of Montreal, Fady Dagher

Questioned about the silence of the SPVM, the Communications Division declared that a decision could be made by the spring.

At present, and until we complete our complete review process of the dress and maintenance procedure, the wearing of this symbol is tolerated at the City of Montreal Police Department , the Communications Division said in a written response.

Struggling with the need to make a decision that has the potential to displease both the police ranks and within cultural communities, management seemed to be moving towards a compromise solution at the end of last August.

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The way out of this dilemma for director Fady Dagher could be the creation of a “Thin Blue Line” symbol exclusive to the SPVM, excluding the Canadian flag.

According to our information, the idea of ​​the management committee under Fady Dagher was to officially present a brand new symbol Thin Blue Line, without the Canadian flag, for SPVM police officers.

However, this proposal has not been made public to date.

In the meantime the official decision of the SPVM, Radio-Canada asked other police forces in Greater Montreal, elsewhere in Quebec and other places in Canada for their official position on the subject of symbol Thin Blue Line.

At the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), this symbol is not as delicate a question as at the SPVM. The provincial police consider that wearing this badge on the uniform of its approximately 5,500 police officers is a marginal practice in Quebec.

Until today, there is tolerance from general management. We ensured that each police officer would be aware of a perception of the symbol different from their own on the part of certain citizens, explained Lieutenant Ann Mathieu, who in the same breath added that the SQ does not did not wish to interfere in the decision of his police partners.

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Wearing the TBL symbol on the uniforms of SQ agents is marginal, contrary to what we observe among SPVM police officers.

In Greater Montreal, the Laval Police Service (SPL) and the Longueuil Agglomeration Police Service (SPAL) have adopted the same approach as the provincial police.< /p>

The Laval Police Service tolerates the wearing of the symbol Thin Blue Line, which represents in particular the commemoration [of the death] of police officers who died in [service], declared Lieutenant Geneviève Major, of the Media Relations Division of the SPL.

The Police Department of the agglomeration of Longueuil tolerates the wearing of the symbol Thin Blue Line, which represents, in the eyes of its police officers, a symbol of police solidarity and commemoration of police officers who died on duty, also responded spokesperson François Boucher, police officer at SPAL.

Elsewhere in Quebec, the Sherbrooke Police Service (SPS) displays the same openness.

There is a procedure for wearing our police officers' uniforms, but nothing prohibits the symbol Thin Blue Line, indicated agent Martin Carrier, who considers the wearing of the badge very marginal in the ranks of the SPS.

In the Capitale-Nationale region, the Quebec City Police Service (SPVQ) has adopted the same tolerance.

At the Quebec City Police Department, the wearing of the symbol Thin Blue Line has been tolerated for several years now. The first police officers to wear it were those who had returned from peace missions abroad, replied Pierre-Olivier Lévesque, agent of the Public Security Communications Division.

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For the management of the SPVQ and its police officers, this emblem firstly symbolizes the place of the police in society, its role as protector of citizens against criminals, but also the commemoration [of the death] of police officers who died in [service].

A quote from Pierre-Olivier Lévesque , communications agent at the SPVQ

Finally, the Association of Police Directors of Quebec (ADPQ) for its part affirmed that this ethical question and its recommendations to chiefs police department of the province are still in the process of analysis.

The City Police Department of Gatineau, in Outaouais, also responded that he was awaiting the recommendations of the ADPQ to make a final decision.

The only exception, the Trois-Rivières police department informally asked its police officers last year to avoid wearing the symbol Thin Blue Line on them when they're on duty.

For their part, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and the Toronto Police Service (TPS) all have in common that their respective managements have officially banned their officers from to wear the Thin Blue Line.

The RCMP has two symbols approved for use on the uniform, where appropriate applicable: the Remembrance Day poppy and the mourning ribbon. The symbol Thin Blue Line is not authorized for use on the RCMP uniform.

A quote from Marie-Ève ​​Breton, Acting Team Leader, Media Relations, at RCMP Headquarters

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has decided to ban the wearing of the Thin Blue Line patch by its police officers in all Canadian provinces.

For its part, the Toronto police – the only municipal police service to be more imposing than the SPVM in Canada – has also decided this question.

The Toronto Police Service has a procedure that establishes standards for approved uniforms for police officers. Patches and pins not approved by the Chief of Police, including the TBL patch, do not meet this standard, advised Stephanie Sayer of the Toronto Police Service Media Centre.< /p>Open in full screen mode

In March 2022, the Calgary Police Department has banned all its officers from placing Thin Blue Line symbols on their patrol cars and uniforms.

The Ontario Provincial Police has adopted the same internal policy.

The Ontario Provincial Police takes great pride in the professionalism and reputation of our officers. Unless permitted by regulation, they must not modify their uniform by wearing items not permitted by the Ontario Provincial Police. The TBL article you are referring to is not, added Gosia Puzio, head of media relations at the OPP.

September 2020:End of work on the new dress and maintenance policy for the uniforms and appearance of SPVM agents. An observation emerged at the time of the presentation to management: the ethical question about the symbol Thin Blue Line has not been resolved.

November 2020: The director at the time, Sylvain Caron, launches consultations with its employees on the Thin Blue Line.

December 2020: An ethics committee is officially seized of the question of < em>Thin Blue Line, as part of the review of the Holding and Maintenance policy, to help management resolve the issue.

April 15, 2021: Submission of the work of the ethics committee on the question of Thin Blue Line.

June 17, 2021: First presentation of the conclusions of the ethics committee to the close guard of the director at the time, Sylvain Caron.

September 29, 2021: Second presentation to senior officers and officers in the&#x27 ;organization of the SPVM.

February 17, 2022: The mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, expresses her discomfort with at the symbol Thin Blue Line, on the sidelines of a press scrum.

April 22, 2022:The Quebec Ministry of Public Security rules that it is up to the management of the Montreal police to decide whether or not to authorize the wearing of the badge Thin Blue Line.

April 22, 2022: Retirement of director Sylvain Caron.< /p>

June 2022: Official presentation of the conclusions of the ethics committee to members of management during the interim mandate of director Sophie Roy.

November 24, 2022: Appointment of Fady Dagher as director of the SPVM. The choice of the City of Montreal selection committee was ratified by the Council of Ministers on December 14.

Source : Presentation of the conclusions of the committee ethics on the symbol Thin Blue Line to the management committee, June 2022

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116