Bring Back the Blue Line on Tulsa Fire Trucks
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Tulsa Fire Chief Ray Driskell asked fire captains at every fire department across the city to remove the blue stripes from all fire trucks immediately, and we want them back!
Tulsa Fire Department added the blue stripe after the Dallas police shooting, as a symbol of solidarity with law enforcement. On June 7, 2016, Micah Xavier Johnson gunned down officers protecting a protest against police violence. As a result, four Dallas police officers and one DART police officer (Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson and Patrick Zamarripa) were killed, while seven other officers and two civilians were wounded.
However, according to Oklahoma's Own News on Six; Driskell said he's following his heart and taking the stripes off.
"Some people made a connection that, with Officer Shelby, the blue line meant that they supported her or that they back her or that they backed the decision from the jurors," he said.
"Our service is not based on political affiliation - because what is happening in politics, even at the local level, has nothing to do with how we provide a service," Driskell said. "It makes us no difference who they are. They are still gonna get our help and they are gonna get the best service that can be provided to a patient."
That’s why Driskell said the fire department has to remain neutral and remove the stripe.
"I don't need a blue stripe on my fire truck to show solidarity with the police department, they know that we support them. I have weekly meetings with them. I have firefighters who work out with them," he said. "Had it not been for the Officer Shelby thing that happened I don't know that we would be doing this either. I don't know that there would be the perception that it means two different things to people. It only means one to me."
For those who are not aware, on May 17, 2016 Officer Shelby was acquitted of a felony manslaughter charge that was filed following the death of Terence Crutcher on September 16, 2016.
A four-page letter explaining the jury's decision was made public through the court system “to placate the desire of various media members to interview members of the jury."
In that letter (as stated by the jury foreman who was not identified by name), “the jury concluded that any officer put in that situation at that exact moment and regardless of the skin color, gender or size of the suspect, would have performed the same way."
Just a day before Driskell announced his decision to remove the solidarity stripes , Dallas Police announced their plans to host "A Weekend of Honor" that will kick off on Friday, July 7 with a public memorial ceremony called "Tribute 7/7" to honor the lives of the four Dallas police officers and one DART police officer who were killed during the shooting.
All of the events are being organized by a coalition of Dallas police associations and law enforcement support organizations.
"It's not just about me, it's not about him or her, or this lone officer, or the average individual," said Detective Christine Smith, who is one of the organizers. "We're all trying to heal together. Healing doesn't have an expiration date. It's something that is continuous."
Tulsa will continue to stand in solidarity with Law Enforcement, and we want our Blue Line back. Please sign and share!
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