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What is the Blue Wall of Silence?

Updated on February 13, 2013

Police officers are human and sometimes make mistakes


For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

The Blue Wall of Silence: Consider reading a newspaper article or a case history of the Chris Dorner story before reading this discourse for some "true to life" police psychology and organizational culture.

In this situation, Police offices ( or I should say, "some police men and women) tend to act in a way (like "sticking together") to exercise a sense of "unity,"" in an attempt to limit the co-operation with the justice system, when the accused person or persons are are police officers. The preceding long and complex sentence, I hope, can be understood, for it is the best explanation that I can give to explain the behavior involved in the "Blue Wall of Silence" concept.

Researchers who have seriously studied the Blue Wall of Silence believe that this concept "symbolizes" the extreme and heart-felt loyalty that police officers share among each other. I have seen these this same concept (working under different names) when I was Senior Medical Representative in the U.S. Navy Medical Department, charges with the medical care of U.S, Navy Seals, or Sub-Sailors, or U.S. Marines. These elite groups of individuals had a tendency to exercise extreme loyalty for individual members of their groups. For example, the U.S. Marines that I took care of called themselves "A Band of Brothers." The Marines, sometimes, were quick to protect a fellow Marine, even in the midst of his mistake or mistakes. Of course, the fellow Marine, in his error, would be expected to pay the price for his mistake, but he, or she, was never abandoned by the Corps, or given up on, by the group (except in extreme cases of wrongdoings). Why? Because, as the Bible, in this instance, so accurately states, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." We all, at some point in our lives, have mistakes, some small, some not so small. "By the Grace of God go We!"

Now, getting back to the issue of the Blue Wall of Silence, it could clearly be seen in the Deep South, doing the 1950's and 1960's during the Segregation Era, a time when many Blacks, that is, African Americans, were abused. The Blue Wall of Silence did not have an "official" state of existence then. It was not written down in any documents or "carved in stone." It was simply an unwritten code of silence. The Blue Wall of silence "coexisted," along side an active and openly practice of police brutality toward African Americans. The beating that took place, carried out by police officers in uniforms, even against African Americans, the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, were done in the "Light of Day," in the open, for all the world to see.

It becomes obvious, at this point in this discourse, that the Blue Wall of Silence must exist at all levels of the police system. Even in prison systems, prisoners face police brutality in the persons of the officers that have responsibility for prison security.

We must mention, at least in passing, that there are those police officers who are actively trying to tear down the Blue Wall of Silence because of the unethical nature of this behavior and line of thinking.

Before ending this discourse, one needs to consider the present dilemma of drugs and terrorism in our global community. I have heard police officers say the drug traffic situation and the terrorists treat "justifies the Code or Blue Wall of Silence. Police officers are heavily armed and have to, sometimes, act extremely aggressive in order to do their jobs and survive, which promotes police brutality in a sense.

Ethically speaking, whenever the behavior of the police is so brutal that is can be classified as police brutality, we can safely say that crimes are being committed.

This subject, The Blue Wall of Silence, is a very complex one. This short discourse has been written to bring your attention to a situation that has always existed in civilized societies. It will probably be difficult to eradicate this situation in the near future.


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    • Dr. Haddox profile image

      Dr Freddie Haddox 5 years ago from a Franklin, Tennessee native, who travels globally.

      Thank you, Sarra,

      for sharing this part of your life with us. It is difficult how anyone could treat another human being, especially a woman who is his wife, the way that he treated you. There is something terribly wrong in a country that raises up, little boys, to become aggressive animals. I hear, and sometimes witness, these stories, over and over again. And people wonder why guns can be so dangerous, when it is easy to see why a gun is dangerous in the wrong hands.

      Again, thank you, Sarrett. Regards, Dr. Haddox

    • profile image

      Sarra Garrett 5 years ago

      About time someone wrote about the Blue Wall of Silence. It exists, I know because I was married to a cop and come from a long line of cops. After my marriage to one, however, I have found that I have absolutely no respect for them. What I have seen and heard is abhorred and 99% of them should be ashamed of themselves for "Serving and Protecting" as they are only protecting themselves. My ex would hold his .9mm to my head he broke my nose several times, gave me black eyes and broke my cheek bone. I was on the front page of the newspaper and on the evening news. What did he get? A slap on the wrist. Wanting to press charges for domestic violence agaist him, get this, I was told "I'm sorry but he is a fellow police officer". He followed me, called me at all hours of the day and night and I finally had to leave the state just to get away from him. It was a living nightmare.