Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

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

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Thin Blue Line at the SPVM: a challenge decision by spring

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The “Thin Blue Line” crest is represented by a flag of Canada in black and white crossed by a thin blue horizontal band.

  • Pascal Robidas (View profile)Pascal Robidas

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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 Thin Blue Line(TBL) symbol, 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 issue. sensitive nature: maintaining the status quo, authorizing the wearing of this symbol, prohibiting the wearing of this symbol or even authorizing it at times approved by management.

On the one hand, the Brotherhood of Police Officers of Montreal (FPPM) and its approximately 4,500 members still demand the wearing of the TBL insignia 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 last.

For our members, it is a symbol of solidarity that highlights the role and fundamental commitment of police officers to citizen security and 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

LoadingRemembering L'Isle-Verte, in pain as in solidarity

ELSELSE ON INFO: Remembering L'Isle-Verte, in pain and in solidarity

On the other hand, groups defending civil rights and racialized populations in Montreal fiercely opposed it, because the American extreme right used 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 a press scrum, 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, ruled that it was up to the police to resolve the issue.

Two years later, the unease remains.

This symbol raises discomfort that divides the population and which was shared at the SPVM.

A quote from Valérie Plante, mayor of Montreal

Ms. Plante therefore relies on her 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.

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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 Currently, 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, declared the Communications Division in a written response.

Grappling with the need to make a decision that has the potential to displease both the police ranks and 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, in dismissing the Canadian flag.

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

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

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">While awaiting the official decision from the SPVM, Radio-Canada asked other police forces in Greater Montreal, elsewhere in Quebec and elsewhere ;other places in Canada their official position on the Thin Blue Line symbol.

At the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), this symbol is not as delicate an issue 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 at the same time added that the SQ did not wish to interfere in the decision of his police partners.

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The wearing of 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.

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

The Longueuil agglomeration police department tolerates the wearing of the Thin Blue Line symbol, 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 the uniform of our police officers, but nothing prohibits the symbol Thin Blue Line, indicated agent Martin Carrier, who judges the wearing of the very marginal badge in the ranks of the SPS.

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

At the Quebec City Police Department, the wearing of the symbol Thin Blue Linehas 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.

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 officer at the SPVQ

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

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

The only exception, the Trois-Rivières police department informally asked its police officers last year to #x27;avoid wearing the Thin Blue Line symbol on their person when 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 agents from wearing the Thin Blue Line patch on their uniforms.

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

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

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The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has decided to ban the wearing of the Thin Blue Line badge 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 sets 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.

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In March 2022, Calgary police banned all 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 its 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 Thin Blue Line symbol was not resolved.

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

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

April 15, 2021:< /strong> 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 SPVM organization.

February 17, 2022: Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante expresses her discomfort with the Thin Blue Line symbol, on the sidelines of #x27;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 Thin Blue Line badge.

April 22, 2022: Retirement of director Sylvain Caron.

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:< /strong> 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 ethics committee on the Thin Blue Line symbol to the management committee, June 2022

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