Are "Thin Blue Line" License plates ethical?

Ah. Okay.

Do note that attempting to pass yourself off as a police officer is an offence in the U.K., so driving here with one of those plates might just get you in serious trouble.

I’m not sure why cops would get these plates. It’s not like they actually have to get ticket when pulled over so I guess it’s just a convenience thing. A buddy of mine is a cop and when we went to a bachelor party three cars were going 85 in a construction zone and we got pulled over buy a CHP, my cop friend was driving the lead car and none of us got a ticket and that included those with open containers. So, I guess, the reason that you don’t see more of the plates on the street is they don’t matter.

It was broken for me too. I just fixed it myself, but thanks.

For those who are saying they’ve never seen the tags, I’ll share my experience. For a time I worked in the Criminal Justice Center of Alabama. The CJC houses the main office of the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Their parking deck was FULL of cars with either the tags or the stickers. I even asked the receptionist what they meant. The receptionist, who had worked for the department forever, claimed she did not know what they meant. It wasn’t till I was going out to lunch with one of my friends and saw that she had the tag did I get the explanation.

I agree that it may depend upon the local LE culture how much these tags mean —but my experience was with the main office. For me, The special treatment marginally undermines the authority of LE, but it certainly diminishes my respect for it.

::bypasses all the other posts because it’s late and dinner guests are due any minute ::

Credentials: My father was a 35-year veteran of police departments in Colorado, my brother is a cop in the KC area, I’ve spent my life among badge-wearers. It’s not ethical. Policemen and women are not above the law. When on duty, they have even more responsibility than the rest of us, and when off-duty they are common citizens like the rest of us. That’s according to all the cops I’ve ever known in my life, and that’s a lot of 'em!

That was a strange coincidence - my comment about the University of Alabama …

This website makes me angry. It seems that a special tag would have done nothing for them.

The tags themselves aren’t unethical. The buyers aren’t unethical. They’re un-American, in that they represent an attitude of supplication to arbitrary authority. (Note I’m speaking of arbitrary authority, not lawful authority. Proper respect for lawful authority is affirmatively American)

For an officer to act differently on seeing such a tag, now that’s unethical and un-American.

OTOH, a story …

As a college student I had a lead foot. I got ticketed about every 4-6 months for excessive speed. This was in L.A., a patchwork of hundreds of police departments, and fortunately I never got ticketed by the same agency twice. This was also before the various departments were hooked up to common computer systems. So for each ticket I pled guilty & asked for traffic school. Since each offense was a first offense so far as the Court knew, they always granted traffic school. So off I went to traffic school.

The same traffic school, the one across the street from campus. Taught every second Saturday by a Sergeant from a nearby police force. I still remember his full name. We became sorta friends after my 3rd trip through his class. By the 6th(!) time, I was playing straight man for him.

This was in downtown L.A., where the class makeup was pretty well mixed between urban black, hispanic of one sort or another, and a few whites, mostly college students or employees, and the occasional old person who’d lived in the neighborhood for 50 years. The teacher/cop was white, and often the non-white students had a “cops always be pickin’ on me” attitude (probably with some real cause, this being L.A. in the '70s.) He was a hell of teacher/performer, good at making the dull subject actually stick with his audience. And, like most veterans, he’d heard every story before, and had a ready comeback.

With all that background …

So one day a young black guy with some attitude asks the question:

“When you’re driving your personal car & get pulled over, what happens?”

“Well, I show my badge & I probably won’t get a ticket, at least not for something less than reckless driving or falling down drunk. And I’d do the same thing if I was the officer making the stop & the subject turned out to be a cop.”

“How’s that fair?”, said with much attitude.

“Well, sir, what work do you do?”

“I drive a delivery truck for a furniture company.”

“Do you get a discount on furniture there?”


“There you go. I get a discount where I work too.”

Everybody laughed and the guy sorta sheepishly agreed. Tense situation defused.

For one yes you must be LE to purchase and affix to your vehicle. It does not symbolize to other LE that you are LE. It symbolizes that the thin blue line is to those who have fallen while performing a service to their country or duty to their community that most would not. It does identify who you are to other LE of course that you honor the fallen LE, however if you are LE and you do stupid stuff, then you deserve the ticket. A license plate honoring and symbolizing fallen LE does not save you from the pen and paper my friend.

Really. Because I can find about 100 places to buy one of these plates, and unless you can link to a state law preventing me from using it I’m not convinced that I have to be LE to affix it to my vehicle.

Only law enforcement officers can salute fallen LEOs? Makes perfect sense to me.

Can I get a sticker to honor zombie LEO’s?

No you don’t.

In my state the only thing prohibited for use by the public is the metal member shield for the PBA and FOP (NJSA 56:2-6). However the FOP whores themselves out for cash and you can buy almost identical “supporter” shields. There is nothing prohibiting the sale or use of thin blue line paraphernalia except good taste.