NEW JERSEY — U.S. Reps. Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) Friday took up the cause of many New Jersey municipalities and law enforcement groups by proposing the Blue Line Use Exception (BLUE) Act (H.R.566). Legislation that will permit ‘blue lines’ to be displayed on roadways.
“One hundred thirty five police officers died in the line of duty in 2016. Seeing those faces on the news has been heartbreaking. And events like the mass killing of Dallas police officers last year are sickening and outrageous. Local communities should be able to honor law enforcement without the federal government’s telling them no. We should honor police personnel all year, especially as we celebrate Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Our bill will let local New Jersey communities keep their ‘blue line’ dedications,” said Lance.
Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), co-chair of Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus, will lead the legislation with Lance. “I can assure the U.S. Department of Transportation that there is no confusion on the meaning of the painted blue line across many communities in New Jersey. In addition to being a daily reminder of the dangers our brave law enforcement officers’ face, it is a small show of support to honor their hard work and dedication to keeping our community safe. I am proud to introduce the Blue Line Use Exception (BLUE) Act with Congressman Lance to ensure communities are able to take an easy and safe way to recognize the dedication of law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day.”
Berkeley Heights, New Jersey was one of the municipalities that has participated in the national movement. Mayor Bob Woodruff praised the Lance bill. “Berkeley Heights is proud of our police department and all those who put their lives on the line every day. The federal regulation is a reach and I’m glad Congressman Lance is taking up this cause. The ‘blue line’ means a lot to people in town and we want to keep it right in the heart of Berkeley Heights.”
‘Blue lines’ have become a popular display some municipalities have installed on roadways to show support for law enforcement. But the Federal Highway Administration recently wrote a letter to Somerset County, New Jersey officials stating ‘blue lines’ displays are in violation of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices for Streets and Highways. Lance and Pascrell, members of the Law Enforcement Caucus, think that directive is an overreaction and their legislation will add an exemption to the federal manual that says temporary ceremonial displays can be permitted.
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(Photo: Jay Edwards/WRNJ)