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Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
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The Potential Hazards of Project Blue Light

Maybe having our loved ones mark themselves and their property as police supporters is not such a good idea.

December 06, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: krossbow (flickr)
Photo: krossbow (flickr)

I really like the "straight-talk" description assigned to me on the home page of this blog. Knowing that what was once a professional liability when I was on the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is now a sales point just warms my heart to no end.

However, having my name prominently displayed on the patrol blog page brings with it certain collateral responsibilities. I have become a de facto clearing house for some of the dissent that comes in from readers despite the fact that I enjoy no monopoly on the patrol blog page, as there are other writers who work on it.

Anyway whatever does appear on this blog eventually gets back to me somehow. And such is the case with the recent blog post, "Backing the Badge: Project Blue Light," which was written by Mariah Hughes.

Ms. Hughes' blog was brought to my attention by a reader who asked to remain anonymous. He expressed certain officer safety reservations with the piece.

In reading the blog, I quickly came to understand his concerns.

Now I want to say from the outset that I think that Project Blue Light is a great idea, and it is not my intent to criticize Ms. Hughes. Putting blue lights in one's home during the holidays to memorialize our fallen peers is an extremely compassionate and laudable gesture in my book.

But that's in my book.

Unfortunately, I suspect that there are others who would not feel the same way. And here is where I wonder if the idea necessarily translates to a viable concept.

Hear me out here. It's not that I don't believe that our fallen brethren shouldn't be acknowledged, particularly at this time of year when it is only natural to become reflective. (Hell, even people who hate Christmas are prone to such contemplations. That's probably one reason why they hate the season.)

I do. I really do.

But when you see police union stickers doing double-duty as "Break Window Here" decals and non-cops getting physically assaulted for wearing cop-related attire, you have to wonder if a Project Blue Light display of respect couldn't come back to bite us and our loved ones.

There are people out there who might take our expressions of remembrance and solidarity as a challenge to their own sense of allegiance. For while we live in the land of good and plenty and love baseball, hotdogs, and apple pie, we have among us lower life forms who would love nothing more than to wreak havok. I'm speaking of those less-sentient creatures who seek to earn their stripes by killing cops and who see the random brutalization of our nation's elderly as an agreeable way of passing the time.

Given such realities, is it far-fetched to envision some scumbag doing something cowardly in response to Project Blue Light? Might the memorial blue lights in someone's window serve as a beacon, attracting problems as a lighthouse does a ship to shore? Could our loved ones pay a price for their devotion to fallen officers?

I mention this now as Project Blue Light has great emotional appeal to me-so much so that it almost overrides my own visceral concerns about it. Even if it never becomes as nationally recognized a symbol as those little pink breast cancer ribbons, I wouldn't be surprised if Project Blue Light did become much more popular with the public.

But remember: What might play in Peoria, Ill., may not fare so well in South Central Los Angeles.

Maybe I am I off-base here and being overly paranoid. But I wonder if there isn't some better way of supporting law enforcement's fallen without marking a house and the people in it as police supporters and needlessly jeopardizing our loved ones.

What do you think?

Comments (26)

Displaying 1 - 26 of 26

Chief Bill @ 12/6/2011 5:03 PM

Dean, you are on the mark especially on thin blue line plates, stickers, FOP decals etc on pov's. You are marking your ride to be keyed at minimum and placing a target on your family. Plus the public will complain on a pov with with a blue line sticker that is speeding. Wear your police colors with caution

Wingnut @ 12/6/2011 6:42 PM

I have been putting a blue "candle" in my window for over twenty years. I have my FOP emblem on MY vehicle (as opposed to my wife's) I don't do anything in my vehicle that would cause someone to complain on me. I wear my police colors with pride and our society going to hell in a handbasket is no reason for me to hide my affiliation.

JReb @ 12/6/2011 7:28 PM

I have to agree totally...both with the emotional appeal of the Project idea and the reality-based concerns. While I live in an area that it’s ok (so far) for me to park my take-home squad in front of my home, I don't advertise my profession off-duty except in "known" environments. I will be participating in the project. But, I probably would not if I did not live in a gated community, off the main thoroughfares, in a “good” neighborhood with neighbors that take active notice of strangers, with no “passing through” and little “visitor” vehicle or pedestrian traffic…which, I suppose, means I’m only preaching to the choir with my participation.

BLW @ 12/8/2011 3:29 PM

Dean your article points out that supporting polcie and their surviors is not without risk. Nonethe less I will continue to show my support despite the risk of becoming the traget of some low life. They however make me, my home or my family a target at their own risk. It is more important to me to show support for officers and their survivrs than to refrain for fear of how somebody else my react. If standing for ones beliefs were without consequences - would it be worth doing?

Bob@Az. @ 12/8/2011 6:25 PM

BLW, Right on! My lights are blue, my Flag up & lighted 24/7, my plates honor those who have passed due to the uniform they wore. If some pos intends harm to me or mine, come ahead. Just be sure you have your NOK information handy and affairs in order.

Dean Scoville @ 12/8/2011 10:53 PM

BLW, I respect your posture BLW; more than that, I respect the tact with which you presented it. I might disagree with you, but will readily admit it looks like Chief Bill and I are in the minority on the point. I wish you and your family a happy holiday season. Thanks for posting.

Tim Dees @ 12/9/2011 1:55 AM

My house has two garage doors. There are exterior lights at the extreme left, extreme right and between the doors. The bulb in the center light fixture is blue, not just at Christmas, but all year around. Occasionally someone will ask why I have the blue light, and I always tell them. Beyond that and the light making it easier for pizza delivery drivers to find the house, I've never had a problem with my blue light display.

MGYSGT Nelson @ 12/9/2011 7:52 PM

I will show my support for my fallen brothers yes there is a risk but one I'm willing to take and willing to run covert ops to catch these pukes god bless all the brothers AND sisters who risk their lives every day may you all be covered in the amour of GOD in JESUS name amem

Jack Betz @ 12/11/2011 7:02 AM

In younger days, funny tee shirts with cop messages were popular in Police type mags. They largely faded when it was realized that wearing one to your local stop and rob is not a real good idea.

Bob Thomas @ 5/8/2014 5:56 AM

Bravery-Doing what is right when others agree. Courage-Doing what is right at great price because others do not agree. When the police become brave without courage, then by all means, they should turn their blue lights off and pretend criminals don't know them. BTW also quit making traffic stops because the driver might not like the police and your name is on the ticket. Why do we fool ourselves that we are anonymous public servants. No wonder the public has a hard time supporting us. Stand up, be proud, love your community and be a part of it. Do what is right and you will get support, even at the cost of some broken windows and keyed vehicles.

Rita Juliano @ 6/6/2014 9:38 PM

I live in a HOA neighborhood. For the last 6 years I have had my blue lights on the front of my house. I received a letter last month telling me we had to remove them due to the fact they weren't consistent with the rest of the neighborhood lights. Although no where in the HOA contract paperwork does it say house lights must stay consistent with the rest of the neighborhood. They said they would fine us if we didn't comply. Again... Six years no problem, now they find a problem... I'm fighting it. I've supported my local law enforcement and will continue.

Proud and humble sister @ 9/13/2014 9:00 AM

I love and appreciate so much your looking out for others and trying to serve and protect by raising this important and valid point. You're helping people to make informed decisions. I imagine that it's something like what an officer hears when he joins: you will be a target, you will face opposition every day, you and your family will be threatened..... I was told to expect similar things, on a smaller scale, most likely, when I worked for an organization that aided victims of assault and domestic violence. I don't live in a highly charged area, and maybe I'd be less brave if I did. Maybe if I lived in certain places in the middle east I'd be afraid to wear my cross, too. Poking the bear is never a good idea. But on the other hand, for my own peace of mind I need to stand up for what I believe in. I need to support those who do right and work for good. My brother is a retired officer. When we both still lived at our parents' home, everyday when I saw him strap on that bulletproof vest, my heart would break but swell with pride at the same time. I can't control the choices other people make, and ANYTHING could make me a target in the eyes of a person who's looking for one. But I can control my own choices. I'm proud and humbled to display a blue light. It's the least I can do.

J Hart @ 12/22/2014 5:33 PM

Fear is the main ingredient needed for this country to continue down to its own decline. I will STAND for the honor and integrity of the Law Enforcement Community before I will kneel before the fear of some hater causing me harm. We have got to STAND BACK UP for what is good and right and is to be respected in the USA and the fact that men and women will put their lives on the line to ensure the safety of me and mine is a GOOD place to start!
Thank you LEO's for what you do. I will let my blue light shine!

Snow @ 12/23/2014 7:20 PM

The threat of 'A blue light in a window' is absolutely nothing compared to the services of the the Men in Blue and what they face or could face every single day!

alpaige @ 12/27/2014 11:40 PM

I am so appreciative that this idea has been put out there so that I can show my support for those men and women who put their lives on the line on a daily basis. I understand there might be some backlash but I think the voices who support the officers in blue need to be louder than ever right now, especially with all the protests going on that are damaging their reputation. If someone wants to vandalize my property because of that they are just damaging the validity of their "cause".

Joseph Weinstein @ 1/5/2015 6:05 PM

I appreciate your thoughts and consideration. I am not related to any law enforcement official. If the public safety officers though out the nation can risk their lives each day, both on and off the job, I can risk displaying "blue light" on my home. A few years ago our City Council decided to investigate outsourcing our police department. I founded an organization that stopped this search. While I conceptually understood what our officers did, I decided to do a series of ride-a-longs so I had a ring side seat. I spent over 100 hours with our local PD and was left in awe of the professionalism and dedication of our officers. I have written 3 opinion pieces in our local paper supporting our PD. Tomorrow night I will ask our City Council to formalize an "appreciation" for our public safety officers. While I do understand and appreciate your concerns for the loved one of officers, there are those of us who will stand by you each day. My blue light is shining.

Shane @ 5/4/2015 2:25 PM

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Edmund Burke

sarah @ 5/10/2015 2:06 PM

Blue lights are something I feel should be reserved for LEO on duty when needed for safety. I don't care for LED billboards that have blue and don't care for the clear-blue lights some volunteers use. I could get behind a blue ribbon with a spot light on it. I don't think we need any reason to be confused about blue lights. Although the intent of this project is quite admirable.

Leon E Lewis @ 9/1/2015 5:03 PM

I understand the concern, but I was raised that being unafraid to stand up for one's convictions is critical. I for one choose to show my support for those who take the frontline in trying to maintain a sane and decent society, not cower in fear.

Ed @ 11/11/2015 6:35 PM

Though not something to be entered into without weighing consequences, if we live in fear of what might happen, then evil wins.

Colin @ 11/25/2015 7:57 PM

This idea of people targeting us for this seems really paranoid.

Pat @ 1/13/2016 10:08 PM

I happen to live in a city that is the bedroom community for an Army post. Among the units assigned here are both a Ranger Battalion and a battalion from a regular Army Special Forces Group. Our neighborhood has several members of both units living in it. With a couple of exceptions, they all have blue porch lights. Most have had them for a year or more, they don't seem to be concerned. It is also a cop nieghborhood. You cant swing a dead cat without hitting acops house or a soldier's. In our area the blue porch light has been around for a while and so far there have been no issues.

Most of the local agencies also have take home cars, so our houses definitely stand out with a blue light AND a police car in the driveway. Yes there have been a couple of incidents where officers have caught crap from mopes in their neighborhoods, but those have been the anomaly. I attended the LASD academy (class #220) and recall the emphasis on keeping your occupation on the down low, but sometimes it can't be helped. You need to have a plan for your family if the SHTF, not just for the crib, but for all family activities.

My wife (class #238) and I raised 3 kids in a house with two police cars in the driveway. Most of the problems they had occurred at school and we only had one incident at our house related to work... A trooper's wife wanted to report their DV... But our kids knew the drill, mom escorted them away, dad covered the move or engaged the threat.

Granted it's not L.A. but we have just as many mopes per capita as the bigger cities, I just don't think they want to take the risk. Now... If we're talking some ISIS inspired lone wolf, all bets are off.

Ingo @ 3/19/2016 11:37 AM

Two 404 bad links in this article: earn their stripes by killing cops and who see the random brutalization of our nation's elderly

Kristi Gonzales @ 2/9/2017 6:57 PM

I believe that the more people who show their support the better. The reality of it all, the more visible support, adds a little more intimidation for the opposing party. Stand up for what's right, together be strong strong a whole.

Joe @ 2/13/2017 6:23 PM

It's really bad when a American has to be afraid to give support to the police officers, when if a muslim has a symbol of his belief and something happens the liberal government calls it a hate crime. The police need more support, and backing from the American politicians instead of looking at lawbreakers as the victims.

CP @ 9/30/2018 3:58 AM

I display a blue light at night 365...and I will continue....

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