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GIORDANO: Attack on Cops in Springfield Is Just the Beginning

County Commissioners Chair Dr. Valerie Arkoosh announced last week she is leaving Montco to head the Human Services Department in Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro’s new administration.

I have said for many years she perfectly orchestrated the progressive policy changes that are appearing across the Philadelphia suburbs. It was certainly not meant as a compliment.

She clearly showed her ideology and tactics during COVID. She sent up a “snitch” line to report businesses that were not following her severe masking restrictions. She also shut down all schools in Montgomery County for an extended time after the Thanksgiving holidays (in 2020) without any evidence of a surge in COVID infections.

Arkoosh’s policies show Montgomery County has become Little Philadelphia. This fact played out last week in Springfield Township, a bedroom community bordering Philadelphia that now mirrors the woke insanity of the dysfunctional city. My theory is the more educated and affluent liberals escaped Philadelphia due to crime, high taxes, and lousy schools.

After a bitter debate, township commissioners voted 5 to 2 to ban the Thin Blue Line American Flag on the township’s property or even visibly on the skin of any township employees while on duty. The rationale was that some township residents feel that flag has been usurped by white supremacist groups and appeared to them to support the systemic oppression of certain members of the community. I heard some residents cite a survey that some community members of color did not trust the police.

What do cops say about this? I attended the commissioners’ meeting when the vote occurred, and the cops and their supporters were outraged and hurt by this nonsense.

How the progressive movement’s leaders slurred cops at the meeting reminded me of a woman’s pottery class from Santa Fe that was visiting suburban Philadelphia. For them, this was a great moment of virtue signaling.

In the aftermath of this vote, I interviewed Sean Cullen, solicitor to the Police Chiefs Association of Montgomery County. We discussed how this flag banning will spread to the rest of suburban Philadelphia. The Thin Blue Line Flag sends the message that police are putting their lives on the line daily to protect us against anarchy. How many professions can make that claim?

What happened last week in Montco is why many places are having trouble recruiting police officers. The cops have long recognized that Philadelphia and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, along with progressive mayoral candidate Helen Gym, don’t have their backs. Instead, they have their figurative knives out to backstab the cops.

The Springfield vote indicates that the same mentality is starting to take root in the suburbs.

The other disturbing trend here is if a small group of people has a feeling or perception that some symbol is hateful or harmful to them, then that’s all that matters. This is a prominent mantra of progressives.

A case in point: Villanova University was recently in full meltdown mode when police officers at the Law Enforcement Run for Special Olympics Pennsylvania carried the Thin Blue Line Flag. Emergency meetings were called and counselors were made available to talk out the feelings triggered.

The administration reminded everyone, “ We are all in this together.” My response is no, you’re not. You are not supportive of the police. You are making a hard job almost impossible.

However, endorsing the good that comes from this symbol does not excuse all police behavior.

It merely states an objective message that every town should embrace: The police and their thin blue line protect us all from anarchy, crime, and chaos.

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Springfield Commissioners Ban Thin Blue Line Logo From Township Premises

After hours of public comment Wednesday night, the Springfield Township Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 to approve a resolution banning the “thin blue line on an American flag” that the township’s Police Benevolent Association (PBA) has adopted as a symbol. Critics call the image, widely used at public events to honor fallen police officers, a “symbol of white supremacy.”

That argument carried the day.

The thin blue line cannot be seen on township property, on police uniforms, or on their bodies (tattoos) while on duty, or on township property in the Montgomery County town.

The issue has roiled the township for a year and a half according to Board President James Lee, who said his father was a Philadelphia police inspector. Commissioners asked the PBA to change its symbol. The police union twice voted against altering it. And because the PBA is a “private entity,” the township cannot make it change its logo.

While many believe the symbol honors police, some people, particularly minorities, find it offensive, Lee said. And some extremist groups have adopted it as well.


From a Back the Blue rally in Erie, Pa.


During public comment, Liza Meiris of the Cheltenham NAACP said fighting racism “is hard work” that can be dangerous and that people have lost their lives. But she urged the board to “disavow a symbol of white supremacy and do the right thing.”

Resident Neil DiFranco, a member of the township school board, said he appreciates what the police do to protect the community, but the resolution is necessary because of how the symbol makes some people feel. He said at the Monday night commissioner’s workshop session, “I heard racist comments and that scares me.”

A woman read a letter on behalf of her husband, who could not attend, noting that the resolution is unconstitutional and violates the First Amendment rights of free speech.

“It’s not the duty of a government body to censor speech,” she said. The Supreme Court recognized that hate symbols might be suppressed on public property, but the thin blue line flag is not a recognized hate symbol.

From a Back the Blue rally hosted by the town of Bensalem, Pa.

Many Delaware Valley communities have a very different view of the symbol. In 2020, the town of Bensalem hosted a Back the Blue rally that featured the flag rejected by Springfield. Attendees included Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, Council President Ed Kisselback, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R).

John English said that when an officer was killed in the line of duty, his kids put a blue heart in the family’s window with the thin blue line.

“My house is now targeted,” said English. “I am looked down upon. My family is looked upon as white supremacists. And to use that term so loosely in this society is disgusting. It’s vile. These are the vilest people on earth and this is what you’re comparing people to.”

A man who has been a police officer for 33 years and served as a firefighter and in the military was also upset.

The township has spent $20,000 on this “needless” issue, he said.

“Unless you’ve stood in the shoes of a police officer, you really don’t know what we do,” he said. Most officers are good, although he acknowledged there are a few who are not. “Nobody goes to work wanting to kill anybody,” he said. The summer of 2020 “was the busiest summer I have had, having rocks and bottles thrown at me, being called names, watching buildings burn down that had people’s apartments above them, stores looted, under the color of BLM…You are asserting every time you see the thin blue line flag that person is a racist. That doesn’t make it racist…Because I support that flag it is not a MAGA event. It’s a morale issue for police. It’s freedom of speech.”

Commissioner Peter Wilson said, “We have extended numerous opportunities for compromise with the PBA. They’ve been rebuffed…These symbols cannot be allowed to exist if they cause offense to anyone in our community.”

Commissioner Eddie Graham said he grew up in Philadelphia and had “different experiences with the police department” than some of the others.

“I think it’s a small step in making this community come together,” said Graham. “I hope this can be a small step in making our township unified.”

Commissioner Jonathan Copp, who along with Commissioner Mike Maxwell voted against the resolution, said the resolution is “antagonistic” and it “further divides us.”

The PBA did not respond to a request for comment.

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