The Solon Chief of Police made the announcement on social media.
SOLON, Ohio — EDITOR’S NOTE: The video in the player above is from a previous, unrelated story.
Solon Police announced Tuesday on social media that it has removed the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag from its property.
Solon Police Chief Richard Tonelli said in a letter posted to the department’s Facebook page that the flag was taken down because “During the brief time it was up, it caused a divisive and unhealthy reaction within our community,” according to the letter.
The letter goes on to say, “It is unfortunate that the thin blue line imagery has been associated with extreme and dismissive views that are counter to our values; nonetheless, we are sensitive to the fact that it alienates us from those we are committed to serve and protect.”
The chief writes, “For the members of the Solon Police Department, the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag represents support for law enforcement and those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. For others it is a symbol of opposition to the racial justice movement. It was never our intention to heighten tensions.”
Chief Tonelli finishes the letter professing his pride for his officers and the department as a whole.
On Tuesday afternoon, Solon Mayor Edward Kraus posted his own statement on the city’s Facebook page. It reads:
“The City of Solon supports our police department and know that the men and women who dutifully serve our wonderful city and do so with unmatched dedication.
“As mayor, I appreciate the opportunity to show support for our Solon officers and officers across this great nation who risk their lives for the safety of their respective communities. Their service to the safety and wellbeing of their citizens is the foundation on which communities thrive.
“It seems a few of our residents took Chief Tonelli’s raising of the ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag on department property to mean something that was clearly not intended. Frankly, this is a product of our current environment and one that tarnishes even the best intentions.
“In the interests of narrowing the focus of dialogue strictly on supporting our officers, I requested the removal of the current ‘Thin Blue Line’ flag in hopes another symbol might be better suited.
“I appreciate Chief Tonelli’s openness and initiative in securing the National Law Enforcement Memorial flag for display on police grounds. Our citizens will find this flag, whose sole purpose is memorializing those who lost their lives in the duty of service, to speak for supporting our great and honored Police Department.”
You can read both the mayor’s and the police chief’s full letters in the posts below.
Many of those posting comments under the chief’s post were unhappy with the decision to take down the flags from police property.
Marta Savilova wrote, “Thank you Solon police for all your service!!!!! Not happy the flag has been removed.”
Jessie Lynn commented, “Shame on you Chief. Your officers deserve to have that flag flown! They deserve the support and so do the officers that lost their lives.”
Other commenters took a more neutral stance. Lori Tecco Pitzer says, “Either way, I appreciate all that the Solon PD does to protect its citizens, employees and visitors. Thank you for your commitment and sacrifice to our fine city.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: The video in the player below is from a previous, unrelated story.