Written by: Greg Ellifritz
Yesterday was the beginning of police memorial week. It’s a week designated to honor currently serving and deceased police officers. Residents in many communities are choosing to celebrate police week by replacing their external light bulbs with bulbs that are blue colored instead. In my former state, the effort is organized by an organization called “Light Ohio Blue.”
According to their site:
“Light Ohio Blue is a statewide campaign to show support to the law enforcement personnel who protect our communities throughout our great state. We work to honor and pay respects to the law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty as well as those currently serving sworn and civilian staff.
Each year in May our staff works with several Ohio businesses to light the city skylines blue. We also encourage every citizen to change their home exterior lights to blue to show their support for Law Enforcement personnel.”
As a retired cop, I appreciate the support. I also think it’s a dangerous idea. You are broadcasting valuable information whenever you engage in a campaign like this. Some of the people who obtain said information will use it against you.
You are thinking like a law abiding citizen thinks. I need you to stop that and take a moment to think like a criminal instead. What information would the presence of a blue porch light provide?
Think about who may do this blue light thing. It will be cops, their loved ones, and people of a “law and order” political identity. How would a criminal use that info?
– The easiest and most likely use is for burglary. Almost all the houses with blue lights will have guns and money. Very few people who are actually poor will change their light bulbs as blue colored light bulbs cost more than the regular variety. If you have the time and disposable income to celebrate an occasion by purchasing a novelty light bulb, you probably have some valuables in the house. They’ll wait for you to leave and then steal your stuff.
– Some people simply hate cops. Your outdoor property may be damaged or defaced just because the criminals want to hassle “the man.” In the worst case scenario, there is a possibility that our current street gangs will get larger and more organized. Once they figure out that your family member is a cop, you may be a target for violent reprisals or kidnapping. Look at what is going on in both Mexico and Venezuela. Killers are assassinating cops where the cop lives, rather than where he is working.
If you want to kill a cop, it’s a lot harder when he is on duty, armed, wearing body armor, and has instantaneous communication with hundreds of others who also have a bunch of guns and body armor. It’s much easier to kill a cop at his home where he is relaxed and may not even be carrying a pistol.
– Remember the ongoing violent left/right political activism that we’ve been seeing for a few years? What about the ANTIFA confrontations still going on around the country? If you identify with the police, in ANTIFA’s eyes, you are a “fascist.” Do you really want a bunch of masked nut jobs tearing up your stuff or beating your family members because you support your local police officers? I don’t think that is a risk that is worth taking.
Thank you for the sentiments, but please don’t bathe your house in blue lights this week. If you want to support your police force, work to ensure your local government doesn’t put politics before officer safety. Work to ensure that your police department has invested in the process of selecting high quality police officer candidates and then is able to immediately dismiss those who demonstrate they are unsuited for the job. Ensure that all your officers have the best training available and that the department provides them with decent equipment so that they can actually do their jobs.
In this former cop’s mind, the suggestions above are far more meaningful than screwing a blue light bulb into the receptacle on your front porch. Don’t put yourself or your family in danger by openly aligning with a group that some folks consider to be the “enemy.” Be smart. The blue porch light is a “gray man” fail. The risks far outweigh the benefits.