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The Calgary Police Commission says a union that represents city police officers has distributed countless thin blue line patches and pins in defiance of a recently announced ban against them being worn on duty.

The thin blue line symbol – a horizontal blue bar across a monochrome Canadian flag – has been linked to white nationalist movements but others see it as a way for police to honour fallen officers.

Commission chair Shawn Cornett says because of its disputed meaning it is not appropriate for officers to wear the insignia, especially during emotionally charged and dynamic situations.

The Calgary Police Association said Wednesday that it would resist the commission’s direction because its president said it was misguided and there remains strong support for the symbol.

Cornett says there is no intention to enforce the ban through discipline and hopes police officers will voluntarily comply.

The commission has invited the police association and the Calgary Police Senior Officers Association to design a replacement symbol at its expense but neither union has accepted the proposal.

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