Mourning Bands

March 31, 2009 at 4:18 am (Life)

Following the recent tragedy in Oakland, I have been asked about the symbolism behind the black mourning band worn across the badge following a police officer’s death.  Well, I found a wonderful article written by  Paul R. Villanueva on this very subject.

The business world does not recognize mourning in the workplace very well. Once we bury our loved one, we are expected to go back to our jobs to continue, as if we were unchanged by their death.   We do not see widows wearing black clothing in the business world, and men certainly do not mourn in public. A universally accepted time allotment for mourning is not recognized. When is it enough? When is it too soon to stop? 

Yet, there are some job cultures that do recognize a person’s mourning. I belong to a job culture in the law enforcement world, which allows for the public display of mourning for the loss of a brother or sister in law enforcement. 

A friend of mine had recently been promoted to the rank of Police Detective. He had a wife, son, and a brand new baby girl. He was assigned to uniform patrol after his promotion and was working a beat in a police car. He and another officer responded to a routine loud music complaint. During the course of this investigation, he was fatally shot. Several years prior, my department lost another officer. She had been employed with the department for about 18 months when she was struck and killed by a drunk driver.  Both of these funerals were grandiose, and my law enforcement organization spared no expense in memorializing these fallen officers. 

When a peace officer dies in the line of duty, law enforcement officers are allowed to wear a black cloth band across their badge, shield or star. These are called mourning bands, and they tell everyone a brother or sister has died in the line of duty.  The public display of the mourning band shouts to others, “Tread lightly, because a police officer or deputy has been killed, and I am sad.”  The American flag at various police stations are flown at half-mast and a feeling of sadness, soberness, and mortality fills the air. Employees will be allowed to mourn the loss of a hero. Counseling will be provided for those experiencing difficulties with the death. Sensitivity and kindness abound. 

The rest of the article can be read here

 

   

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: