The Thin Blue Line is an important cultural symbol but the meaning often goes unknown. You have probably seen it incorporated on bumper stickers – a rectangular, simple design that features a blue line placed between two black fields – but what does it mean? Is there even a real meaning to it? Why would someone put this symbol on their vehicle?
The Thin Blue Line emblem or TBL isn’t just a bumper sticker; it carries much more meaning than that. From entire nations to football teams, people use emblems and symbols to establish their identity as part of a group. The Thin Blue Line is no different. It’s the calling card for its own special group, law enforcement. At its core, it is a symbol of solidarity of police officers and their families.
The simple looking emblem has multiple meanings, all arising from the same concept: police officers stand as the thin line that protects society from good and evil, chaos and disorder. The blue is derived from the traditional color of police uniforms; most municipal police still wear blue, and blue has long been associated with law enforcement throughout the history of modern policing. The top black stripe represents the public whilst the bottom represents the criminals.
While rarely this just indicates support of police by a friend or acquaintance or family member, the symbol is often placed on the personal vehicles of police and other law enforcement officers. Many say cops use is to signal to other cops that they are a ‘brother’ not simply an ordinary citizen. Law enforce is like a brotherhood. The men and women who put on the badge every day do so not because of the money, the pride or prestige. They put on the badge to protect you and me. The thin blue line represents a stance that all police officers are together as brothers and sisters. It has become a symbol of that line they must stand fast to and hold onto in order to protect each other from harm’s way. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder on this line, they demonstrate the commitment to all those they protect from those that may want to inflict harm.
To some, the Thin Blue Line emblem and TBL simply means a show of support for police, acknowledging the role they play in society. To others, it represents the solidarity and brotherhood that police officers share as fellow professionals!