Verify: What those blue and black flags mean

Several people held blue and black flags along the funeral procession route for Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Zackari Parrish Friday.


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Several people held blue and black flags along the funeral procession route for Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Zackari Parrish Friday.

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Parrish, 29, was killed in an ambush Dec 31 while responding to a domestic disturbance.

The flags flown Friday looked like a black-and-white American flag white a blue stripe across the center.

Here's an explainer on what they mean and where they came from.


The flag is called a “Thin Blue Line Flag,” and a company called Thin Blue Line USA started manufacturing them in 2014.

“The flag shows support for law enforcement,” Thin Blue Line USA vice president Peter Forhan told 9NEWS in a phone interview.

The top of the flag represents the 50 states in the U.S., and the bottom of the flag represents criminals, chaos and anarchy. The blue line in between represents law enforcement who Forhan said “separate those two entities.”

Thin Blue Line USA started manufacturing these flags in 2014.

Forhan's company didn't create the concept of a thin blue line. The idea has been around for decades.

Plain black flags and pins with thin blue lines in the center have also been around a while. What Thin Blue Line USA started was using the American flag as a background.

The company donates a portion of all its profits to law enforcement charities. It's also running a fundraiser specifically for Deputy Parrish's family.

People can buy a $5 rubber bracelet with the thin blue line flag on it through Tuesday.

Bracelets like these are being sold for $5 as a fundraiser for Douglas County Deputy Zackari Parrish. (Photo courtsey of Thin Blue Line USA)

All of the profits go to the Douglas County Fallen Officers' Fund – the charity Parrish's family chose.

The company offers a fundraiser to every family with a loved one killed in the line of duty in the U.S.

“We began it in 2017 with the loss of a local officer in our area,” Forhan said. “We've done 73 fundraisers in the last year and raised about $280,000.”

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He expects to donate about $23,000 in honor of Parrish.

As far as protocol for handling these flags, that's up to the people who buy them.

“We have seen them be used at funerals as coffin covers,” Forhan said.

When that happens, the flags have been folded and presented to family members like an American flag.

And in case you spotted one of these flags in the hands of white supremacists during the violent protests in Charlottesville in August 2017, the company condemned the use of its flag by those groups.

"We reject, in the strongest possible terms, any association of our flag with racism, hatred, and bigotry," Thin Blue Line USA said in a statement to USA Today at the time. "To use it in such a way tarnishes what it and our nation believe in."