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LAPD’s Thin Blue Line flag ban spurs outrage amid recruitment struggles: ‘Morale’s in the gutter’

The Los Angeles Police Department is facing fierce criticism after it banned displaying the Thin Blue Line Flag over a complaint it symbolized “extremist” views. 

Founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC Joseph Imperatrice joined “Fox & Friends First” Monday to discuss why he is furious over the move and how it will impact staffing shortages and morale moving forward. 

“When people make a complaint like that, they don’t like the cops on any given day, so we’ve got to take that into account,” Imperatrice told co-host Todd Piro. “For [the] police chief to take it down, it kind of makes the other side think that there is actually something wrong with that flag, which it’s not. But then in the other breath to tell your police officers on the other side of this wall, you can hang it on your locker, on your vehicles. There’s nothing wrong with the flag.”

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“What really bothers cops is that God forbid a police officer was killed in one of those jurisdictions today or tomorrow, I can guarantee you that not only flowers and candles would be placed there, but all different types of blue lines, whether it’s flags or stickers or cups, but it’s OK,” he continued. “It’s not alright. We need to stand up for our cops. We should’ve left it there.”

The department banned the use of the Thin Blue Line Flag from public areas within police departments last week over a single complaint tying the flag to the Proud Boys and other groups. 

Despite the ban, officers will still be allowed to hang the symbol above their “workspace, locker door, or personal vehicle,” according to LAPD Police Chief Michael Moore. 

Moore defended the ban, releasing a statement on Friday saying, “It’s unfortunate that extremist groups have hijacked the use of the Thin Blue Line flag to symbolize their undemocratic, racist and bigoted views.”

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Critics have been quick to point out the potential impact the ban will have on already existent recruitment and retention struggles as crime surges. 

There were only 22 recruits in the LAPD’s most recent recruitment class, and the department is even looking to retired officers to satisfy the shortage

“That blue line is the only thing that’s separating the darkness and the chaos,” Imperatrice said. “So every once in a while it is nice or would be nice, as an executive at a police department around the nation, just stood up and just explained it a little bit more because morale’s in the gutter.” 

“It’s a hard retention rate, and we can’t recruit people, so why are people going to want to stay if their executives are not standing up for them?” he continued. 

According to LAPD, around 200 retired officers are being asked to return to the department as another 600 are expected to leave or retire. 

But Imperatrice warned the moral and recruitment woes are not exclusive to just Los Angeles.

“This is happening all over the nation,” Imperatrice said. “It’s not just happening in L.A… policing, it’s one of those dying breeds. When cops are afraid to go out there and put their hands on somebody because there is someone that committed a crime and be afraid that maybe the next day they’re going to be a headline on the front page or paper, we have to change the narrative.”

“We need the community and our executives and all the high brass to stand behind their cops and say, ‘If you go out there and do policing to the best of your ability and don’t do anything criminal and genuinely want to help, the public will stand behind you, but if you do cross that line, we are going to go after you because you need to be held to a higher standard,'” he continued. 

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