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Hogan "offended, disgusted" by County Executive's order banning "thin blue line" flag outside police station

Thank you to resident James Shelton, who presented Montgomery County 5th District officers with a wooden American Flag that he had made in recognition of National First Responders Day.  The flag will be displayed in the 5th District Station.
Larry Hogan thin blue line
Posted at 11:36 AM, Nov 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-04 14:32:14-05

BALTIMORE (WMAR) — Governor Larry Hogan is calling out a Maryland County Executive for banning a police department from publicly displaying a wood crafted "thin blue line flag", gifted to them by a man and his son for National First Responders Day.

On October 30, the Montgomery County Police Department tweeted out a thank you and a picture of County resident, James Shelton and his son presenting the flag at the fifth district police station.

The police department had said it planned to display the flag inside the station, causing a heated social media storm between supporters and critics of the flag.

Some detractors on social media even went as far to criticize and question the meaning of Shelton's shirt and tattoo, prompting the police department to defend him.

Two days later, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich sent a note to the police department ordering that the flag not be displayed.

"Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones and I understand the concerns of the community," said Elrich. "The flag provides a symbol of support to some but it is a symbol of dismissiveness to others. Because it is divisive, the flag will not be posted at the 5th District nor in any public space within the Police Department. Under my administration, we are committed to improving police relations with the community and will immediately address any action that stands against our mission," Elrich concluded.

On Sunday morning, Governor Larry Hogan fiercely defended the police department, saying he was offended and disgusted by Elrich's decision, and called on him to reverse course.

I’m offended and disgusted that County Executive Marc Elrich has arbitrarily prohibited Montgomery County Police officers from displaying a “thin blue line” American flag that was made for them by a father and his young son in honor of National First Responders Day. I have attended the funerals of fallen law enforcement officers across our state, and I take time to thank them every day for their dedicated service and sacrifice. We proudly hang this very same American flag in Government House in Annapolis in their honor. To outlaw these American flags from being hung in county buildings by law enforcement officers is outrageous and unconscionable. I strongly call on Mr. Elrich to immediately reverse this terrible decision and to apologize to the police and the citizens of Montgomery County
Governor, Larry Hogan

Hogan's comments drew quick praise from Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, the union representing Montgomery County police officers, who for their part said they would be honored to accept the flag despite what they called a political act by Elrich.

Montgomery County Police acting chief Marcus Jones and county executive Marc Elrich have both rejected the display of the law enforcement “Thin Blue Line” flag in, of all places, the Germantown police station. We condemn this arbitrary, political action and are especially disappointed that Marcus Jones does not demonstrate appreciation and understanding of the concerns of working police officers. The working police officers of Montgomery County are highly offended by this act of outright disrespect for them and that flag which represents the sacrifices and dedication of police officers who daily risk their lives, health, limbs and own well-being in service to their community. Too many have made the supreme sacrifice and we will not allow political pandering by Jones and Elrich to diminish their service. Lodge 35 would be honored to accept this flag on behalf of the 1500 active and retired law enforcement officers of Montgomery County
FOP Lodge 35