Calif. firefighters asked to remove flag supporting fallen police officers
The department expressed concerns that the flag may put firefighters at risks for ‘extremists targeting the fire engine’
MORENO VALLEY, Calif. — Riverside County Fire Department firefighters were ordered Monday to remove a pro-police flag from one of their engines.
The “thin blue line” flag was originally installed by firefighter Eric Hille to honor police officers killed in Baton Rouge and Dallas.
He posted a picture of the flag July 17, hours after a gunman killed three officers in Baton Rouge.
“We wanted to show our support for our brothers in blue,” Hille wrote to accompany the original Facebook photos.
The following day, the firefighters were asked by Riverside County Fire Department Chief John Hawkins to take the flag down because it did not fit the department’s standards.
"If no standard exists, then any size, shape or content flag could be flown," Hawkins said.
According to California’s Press Enterprise, Hawkins said the department's "foremost concern" was that the flag may put firefighters and paramedics that ride in the engine at risk, "due to extremists targeting the fire engine or for people following the fire engine and not being able to see the warning lights."
Hille was also asked to remove pictures of the flag from his Facebook and other social media profiles, but refused to comply.
“As you can tell, the pictures are still posted and will remain posted to show our support for our brothers and sisters in blue,” he wrote. “We have your back, and stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”