A petition to remove an "All Lives Matter" decal from the rear quarter panels of two Frankton, Indiana police department vehicles has resulted in the department agreeing to take them off following complaints that the decals demeaned the "Black Lives Matter" movement.
The petition was started by Frankton resident, Molly Hobbs, who posted her reasoning for removing the decals from police vehicles on Change.org.
The goal of this petition is to get the Frankton, Indiana police to remove “All Lives Matter” from their patrol vehicles.
Frankton, Indiana is a small farming town in the Midwest, with not much diversity. “All Lives Matter” was placed on the vehicles during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. BLM brings attention to injustices against people of color, mostly committed by police officers. The “All Lives Matter” group was created to silence and villainize people of color fighting for justice.
This controversial slogan does not belong on the vehicles of those meant to protect and serve. I believe this slogan on the vehicles can give the wrong impression of the town.
Every citizen deserves to feel safe in their town and I believe removing this slogan will help with that. I also believe removing this slogan will increase diversity and help diminish the negative, racist stereotypes that rural Midwest towns receive.
About 150 people have signed the petition so far. However, not everyone in town feels the same way. Resident Bill Taylor told WTHR that not only does he want the slogan to stay on police vehicles, he plans to put a sign in his yard with the slogan on it to show his support for the department.
"This stands for every color, every person that's walking this earth,” said Taylor, pointing to the slogan on the police SUV. “Why would somebody want this gone when it stands for unity?"
According to a statement from Frankton Town Marshal, Dave Huffman, the decals were put on the department's vehicles in 2016. However, after the petition, he said in a statement that the department will remove them.
It has come to my attention that residents and non-residents of the town of Frankton have recently circulated a petition against the “All Lives Matter” decals that have been on our police vehicles since 2016. This petition is the first indication that I or any other town of Frankton officials have received that some people may have perceived the decals as critical of the nationwide “Black Lives Matter” movement. This was certainly not the intent of the town of Frankton or me as the town marshal. Rather, the decals were designed to promote the Frankton Police Department’s commitment to serving all of its citizens.
As the town marshal, I am authorized to make certain decisions regarding the operations of the town’s police department, within legal and budgetary limits, including the design of the town’s police cars. When designing the exterior of a new police vehicle in 2015, I sought input from other police department and town officials to set forth a slogan that would illustrate the seriousness with which Frankton police officers take their duty to protect all of the town’s citizens regardless of income, economic status, race, nationality, age or any other factor. The Frankton Police Department believes this duty is of the utmost importance and strives to fulfill it every day. The “All Lives Matter” decals were intended to represent this commitment.
I regret on behalf of the town that the decals have antagonized some citizens and have appeared critical of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. As unity among our citizens is important for a healthy community, the Frankton Police Department plans to remove the “All Lives Matter” decals from its police cars. Further, town residents are always encouraged to voice their concerns at meetings of the Town Council, which are scheduled the second Monday of every month at the Frankton Police Department, 108 E. Sigler Street, Frankton, Indiana.