Bad ideas

New Jersey towns are putting ‘thin blue lines’ on roads to ‘honor’ police. They shouldn’t.


Blue lines are showing up in between the yellow dividing lines on local New Jersey roads. One symbol springs to mind immediately for two yellow lines on a blue background, but no, it is not to indicate support for the Human Rights Campaign.

Towns are actually painting the lines to indicate their support for police. In a rather on-the-nose metaphor, the thin blue line is supposed to actually represent the “thin blue line” concept of the police being all that separates society from anarchy. found at least 8 or so towns that have decided to paint the stripes, although not all limited themselves to blue. A handful of towns also added red lines to the mix, as well as white or green for emergency medical technicians.

Perhaps painting a memorial to police right into the fabric of public infrastructure isn’t the best idea when there’s a national debate over how police treat black people?

This was a concern in at least one town that ultimately decided to forgo the line. reports the Closter Borough Council debated putting the lines in, but ended up not taking action after Councilman Brian Stabile raised questions of how it would be received.

“The symbolism of it is not through our prism,” Stabile said, according to “We’re a town that’s less than 5-percent black and there is a major national race issue in this country. The prism of the nation right now says that if you put a blue line there, you are a racist.”

That aside, honoring emergency responders is great, but is doing so with a confusing, unidentified line running down the center of the road really the best way to do it? Not everyone attends city council meetings, as you can easily tell by the speedy approval of these lines in so many communities.

I hope you’re reading this story after you’ve encountered one of these lines and aren’t looking at it on your phone after googling “blue line new jersey car accident.”

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