bluelineflagA few people have inquired about some flags being displayed outside of Vinton homes, or on vehicles. Intead of the traditional red, white and blue, these flags show black and white stripes, white stars on a field of black, and a thin line of blue in the place of one of the white stripes.

This flag is known as the “Thin Blue Line” flag, and it is a tribute to police officers, and especially, to officers who have died in the line of duty.

“I love the support! And I love even more that people are becoming aware,” says Becca Ingham of Vinton, whose father, Albuquerque Police Officer Daniel Scott Webster, was killed by a career criminal a year ago.

“I just hate that we need to support and be aware,” says Ingham. “It’s sad.”

Ingham says she became aware of the flag after her father’s death.
“I’m glad I know now and I’m helping to spread awareness,” Ingham says. “I’ve had a few people ask or have even heard a few talking about it.”
The flag outside her house has been flown a few times in recent days.  
“We put it up from the annivesary of the day my dad was shot to the day he got his final dispatch,” Ingham explains.  “It will be up again during national police week in May.”
Ingham has also noted “Thin Blue Line” tributes on vehicles in recent days, as Iowans mourn the murder of two officers in the Des Moines area earlier this week.

One company that makes such flags explained their meaning on an web page.

“The blue represents the officer and the courage they find deep inside when faced with insurmountable odds. The black background was designed as a constant reminder of our fallen brother and sister officers. The line is what police officers protect, the barrier between anarchy and a civilized society, between order and chaos, between respect for decency and lawlessness. Together they symbolize the camaraderie law enforcement officers all share, a brotherhood like none other,” according to a description of the flags by the company


There has been some question about whether a flag with black, white and blue is a proper use of the U.S. Flag. Some say that any flag that is not the official “Stars and Stripes” is a breach of etiquette. Many others, however, say that because the flag is not red, white and blue, its use is appropriate.

For some discussions on the issue on the Blue Lives Matter page, click HERE

In addition to the version with stars and stripes, there is also a Thin Blue Line flag with just one blue line on a black background.

The phrase “Thin Blue Line” first became popular in the U.S. after an 1988 documentary by that same name. In that film, an assistant prosecutor named Doug Mulder tells the court that police represent “the thin blue line” that separate a society of order from anarchy.

The late Paul Harvey, of ABC Radio fame, often used that phrase. He was the son of a police officer who died in the line of duty, killed by robber when Paul was only 3.