What’s the “Thin Blue Line” to You?

May 12, 2017

When you hear a fellow officer mention “brotherhood” or “thin blue line,” what comes to mind? If you’re like most cops, you think of camaraderie, teamwork, dedication, and commitment. If those were your thoughts precisely—good!

Others, however, conjured up backstabbing, drama, B.S., more drama, and a lack of leadership. For you, I’m sorry. But I understand. Law enforcement, like most professions, has its occupational hazards. Forgetting the mission—the “why” of the profession—is chief among them. I’ve been there too. In fact, I think we all have at one time or another.

The question is, how long does the funk last? Because, make no mistake, it can be deadly.

Wake Up Call

Nothing wakes an officer from this stupor like the death of a friend or colleague. If you’ve ever buried one of your own, or someone who you knew, then you know what I mean. There’s absolutely nothing worse. The death of a police officer can bring hundreds, perhaps thousands, of police officers together. Many at the funeral never actually knew the fallen officer. That’s what brotherhood and thin blue line is all about, and why I love this work: the camaraderie.

Now, fast forward two or three years past that terrible day where we laid the hero to rest. Where are we now? What’s the atmosphere inside the agency? Have we found ourselves badmouthing our colleagues? Are we complaining about things outside of our control? Are we so caught up in the B.S. that we fail to back each other up on traffic stops and other “routine” calls for service?

After burying a hero, most cops are all about taking care of each other. But it doesn’t take long before we forget where we came from and fall back into the allure of a drama-filled world of gossip.


As police memorial week quickly approaches, I have a challenge for every law enforcement officer reading this article. Forget about that nonsense out of your control and focus on what’s truly important: your community and your colleagues. Focus on the mission of public safety! Stop bad-mouthing one another. Don’t roll your eyes when the rookie makes a traffic stop 5 minutes before the end of shift, and drive towards that alarm drop, even though you “know” it’s false.

We’ve lost at least 45 brothers and sisters this year. Think about that. Let it settle in. Let it motivate and guide you in what you do during your shift.

During many of our Calibre Press seminars we ask the audience: How many deaths of police officers were possibly preventable? Unfortunately, that number is high. How, as a profession, do we allow this to happen, year after year?

Let us go into Police Memorial Week remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Let’s remember why we got into this line of work in the first place. Almost all of us wanted to help people and work within a vibrant community of first responders—the so-called brotherhood or thin blue line.

Then reality sets in.

So here’s my question: Are you part of the solution? Or part of the problem?


I know people in lots of various jobs and professions who concur that badmouthing and gossip are common across the board. Day-to-day B.S. happens. And talking smack is a little bit like taking a drug: It seems harmless at first, but fun. Pretty soon it’s par for the course. What too many officers fail to see, however, is that there’s a cost to be paid for this “fun.” Pretty soon you’ll find yourself a crusty old cynic, an addict to the smack.

Here’s the thing. The mission of this profession is too critical to support crusty old cynics in the ranks who long ago forgot why they got into this work. Remember the “why.” Do your best to improve your self and your agency. Serve the public with compassion and with valor. And remember this: Haters gonna hate. So ignore that noise and serve your mission.

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  1. Tim Barfield

    Wow!!!! I feel sorry for you. It must be tough going through life with such misguided hate. My prayer for you is that you find some peace in your life while you search for the truth about these things. I hope you never need the police.

    • Dmitri Kozlowsky

      It is not misguided, and it is not hate. It is contempt. It is borne of 1st hand experience of my myself, my family, my friends, and my fellow soldiers being mistreated, abused by law enforcement. You are the fucking enemy, and eventually LEOs will be treated as such by citizens of this nations.

      • Mar

        Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!! I too feel sorry for you DK. I concur that it’s misguided hate. I wish you well my friend. I hope you can change your attitude toward life. And remember, only you can make yourself happy.

  2. OregonCopper

    You know, D’mitri, you continue to paint ALL law enforcement officers with the same brush…shame on you…not all LEO’s are crooked, thieves, murderers, liars, etc….as a matter-of-fact, as has been pointed out to you more times than anyone can count, that it is a VERY small subsection of a very small group of people who commit crimes…please refrain from using the words “all,” “every,” and any other words that include everyone who has, does, or will ever wear a badge especially when pointing out criminal behavior(s)…it’s NOT true and you know it…

    Again, I’m sorry what happened to you (30) years ago, as I’ve said ANYONE would’ve been scared in that situation, but aim your contempt at THAT deputy (and I’m not even saying what he did was right or wrong because you haven’t been real forthcoming with ALL the details) not EVERY LEO…

    Your timing sucks, as usual…this is Law Enforcement Memorial Week…a week where most people express thanks to those who have given their lives in service to their community and this country…I’ve been to Pearl Harbor and countless other memorials including the Tomb of the Unknowns/Arlington National Cemetery, Gettysburg, Fort McHenry, and both the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials in DC honoring Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors who have given the ultimate sacrifice…are you going to tell me, and everyone else here, that EVERY member of the military has ALWAYS acted without malice towards other combatants and civilians? That NO member of any armed force has EVER violated the law? No, of course not otherwise there would be no need for JAG Offices, Captain’s Masts, Military Tribunals, and no Dishonorable Discharges…

    People wear uniforms and sometimes some of those people are not worthy…law enforcement, military (I lost track a long time ago how many military folks I’ve arrested), fire fighters, medical personnel, postal service (I once caught a guy whacking off in a mall parking lot watching people walk by while he was dressed in his Ford mechanics uniform) EVERY one of those professions has had their share of idiots the entire profession had to overcome…think about that the next time you take aim at LE, whether the officer/deputy/trooper did anything wrong or not…the military is not full of choir boys either so quit throwing rocks from your glass house…

    You have your opinions and that’s fine, just not THIS week…

  3. Todd

    Camaraderie borne from the dangerous environments in which we serve together is certainly part of it. That thin blue line also represents the fact that overall we are outnumbered, yet most of time much better organized, and able to concentrate those numbers where needed. The wolves, the unjust aggressors, the murderers, the arsonists, gang members, drug dealers, rapists, and pimps of the world currently cannot murder, rape, pimp, and burn, at will. Why not? A thin blue line.

    There are men willing to step into the gap and risk their very lives to protect any person without a second thought as to that victims race, religion, sex, etc. There is authentic nobility in what we do and where we serve. We often risk the most in the very areas where we’re accused of being “racist.” The greatest Leader who ever has or ever will walk the earth is Jesus. He revealed to us that there is no greater “love,” than to lay down your life for your friends. In some cases, for your enemies. That is authentically noble! For you do not see the race baiters, the politicians (some politicians in blue uniforms & brown), nor the media coming to those poor crime ridden areas when someone calls 911. Police Officers come bringing commitment that they will either “win,” any confrontation, with any unjust aggressor, or they will die drying, and their brother behind them will not fail in stopping the deadly threat! Collectively, we win! Individually, we know and accept that we can be killed. I once had a man tell me this early in my career. I thought about it and agreed, I could be killed, yes he could ambush hunt me, and then I reminded him in essence that he just has to be ready to go with me, because I have made a DECISION that as long as I can see my front sight and press that trigger, I will stop the threat. Quiet professionals in Law Enforcement say as Isaiah said so many years before:

    Isaiah 6: 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

    I have heard in the last couple years certain special interest groups advocate for the “disbanding” of Law Enforcement agencies. Should that dark day ever come we’ll all know without any question just exactly what is meant by that “thin blue line.” Remembering wolves like to rape, kill, and set your little houses on fire.


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