Mount Prospect faces renewed calls to remove thin blue line flag from police patch

Mount Prospect's police patch is again coming under fire from residents who say its imagery has been co-opted by white supremacists and other extremist groups.

Six people submitted written comments to the village board Tuesday calling for the removal of the "thin blue line" symbol, which previously has been defended by Police Chief John Koziol

Koziol has said the symbol - a black-and-white American flag with a blue stripe in the center - has always meant for police a line between chaos and order, and over the years also has come to signify honoring the fallen.

But Mount Prospect resident Ronak McFadden wrote that after the riots Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, there is no denying that the imagery is being used by extremists.

"What are the plans to remove this symbol from the police officers' uniforms, cars, police station and any other village-sponsored assets?" she wrote.

Resident Carole Martz also called for removal of the image.

"I am sympathetic to what this symbol means to most police officers, honoring fallen officers," she wrote. "However, given the number of blue lives flags (present) at the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, bold measures are needed to rid our village of what is now and forever associated with this threat to our democracy."

"If we want to be a welcoming community, then we need to stop using this symbol," added resident Jennifer Ciok.

Asked whether any village police officers were at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Mayor Arlene Juracek said she has verified with the village manager and the police department that "we know of no Mount Prospect officers being involved."

Juracek said the village board will continue ongoing discussions about policing in the village and public safety hiring.

"These are challenging times, which should be focused on all of us working to rebuild trust and confidence amongst us all, with a respectful expression of our anxieties and diligence in seeking out the truth," she added.

The police patch faced similar scrutiny last summer when the village hosted a community conversation about racial justice and inclusion.

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