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January 10, 2017
Bateman, Kean Condemn Federal Guidance Against the ‘Thin Blue Line’

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Senators Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-Somerset, Mercer, Hunterdon, Middlesex) and Tom Kean Jr. (R-Union, Morris, Somerset) voiced their disapproval of the Federal Highway Administration’s guidance against the painting of a “Thin Blue Line” between the double-yellow center line on roadways.

Sen. Bateman and Sen. Kean voiced their disapproval of the federal guidance against the “Thin Blue Line.” (Flickr)

“Towns paint these lines in order to honor the hardworking members of law enforcement in their own way on locally controlled roads,” Senator Bateman said. “The response from the Federal Highway Administration is an overreaction to a very important local matter. If we can’t support something as simple as the ‘thin blue line,’ what kind of message does that show to our police officers?”

Over the last several years, towns all across the state have painted the space between a double-yellow line as a sign of respect and honor to the individuals who put on a uniform to protect and serve the public.

In a letter to the Somerset County Engineer’s Office, the FHWA suggested that the “thin blue line” did not conform to its Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways because the shade of blue used to paint the lines was reserved for use on handicapped parking spots. They argued that using the paint in roadways could cause confusion.

The senators will introduce a resolution stating that New Jersey disapproves of this interpretation, and argue that municipalities should have the ability to show support for their police forces.

“Many recognize the danger police officers put themselves in,” Senator Kean said. “In many ways, it’s a thankless job, but they continue to go out for every shift to ensure the public is safe. If a town chooses to honor them for their service, they should have the ability to do so.”

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