In response to the concerns brought to us by our members regarding the conduct of Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese.
On August 22nd, 2017, Willamette Valley Lodge 7 FOP members reported that Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese had ordered the removal of a “Thin Blue Line American Flag” from an employee break room because it was offensive.
Lodge 7 then posted the concerns of our members to the Lodge 7 Facebook page. The aforementioned Facebook post gained national attention quickly and received about 70,000 views. Sheriff Reese then provided a statement defending his actions. Sheriff Reese stated that he did support Law Enforcement, but that there was a concern regarding whether an altered US flag (which violates US Flag Code?) should be displayed in a county building, and furthermore, that the flag is seen as a sign of disrespect to communities of color.
A review of the responses that were received on Lodge 7’s Facebook page and also on Sheriff Mike Reese’s Facebook page overwhelmingly admonished Sheriff Mike Reese. Many of the commenters expressed their frustration with the appearance that Sheriff Mike Reese had failed to promote the emotional well-being of his agency’s officers, and furthermore, that Sheriff Mike Reese betrayed and politicized the honorable memory of slain officers and their families.
With the expressed concerns regarding the conduct of Sheriff Mike Reese fresh in mind, on August 26th the Oregon State Fraternal Order of Police Executive Board responded to the 2017 National Fraternal Order of Police Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
On August 29th, the Oregon State FOP in conjunction with the District of Columbia FOP, proposed Resolution #5 for consideration by the delegates assembled at the 63th Biennial National Fraternal Order of Police Conference. The thousands of attending FOP delegates represent the nation’s largest law enforcement organization, with about 332,000 members throughout the United States. After being brought to the floor, Resolution #5 was voted on and overwhelmingly passed. Resolution #5 can be viewed, in its entirety, on the Willamette Valley FOP Lodge 7 Facebook page and on the Oregon State FOP Website.
The Fraternal Order of Police is resolved that the American flag that is black and white with a blue line running through it is a symbol of peace, respect, and honor and should never be interpreted as a symbol for hate or antagonism. That the American flag that is black and white with a blue line running through it is worn or displayed by peace officers in the United States and is never to be used in any manner which would imply or insinuate animosity, hate or disrespect in any form and we urge our members to continue to hold it in highest esteem and treat it with utmost respect and reverence. And that this flag represents a venerated symbol to the friends and families of officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation; and further, that the process of grieving and healing is a deeply personal and varied process which cannot be dictated by others; and further, that law enforcement administrators should, whenever possible, strive to promote a working environment which honors the fallen and promotes emotional well-being in the workplace.
Oregon State Executive Board
Fraternal Order of Police