Ohio Bill Would Protect Thin Blue Line Flag

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PATASKALA, Ohio (WCMH) — A father’s fight to fly the Thin Blue Line flag in memory of his son, a police chief killed in the line of duty, inspired a bill at the ‘Ohio State House.

Thomas DiSario received a Thin Blue Line flag in memory of his son Steven Eric DiSario, who was shot while responding to a call at a Kirkersville nursing home in 2017. He was killed along with two workers from the home.

Thomas DiSario told NBC4 in May, “The only time it falls off is if it’s worn out and I buy a new one and put it back on.” When his owners association in Pataskala told him to dismantle it, he refused. After hearing about DiSario’s situation, neighbors began flying the Thin Blue Line flag in support.

Rep. Kevin Miller (R-Newark) joined Rep. Tim Ginter (R-Salem) in introducing HB 712 which would add the Thin Blue Line flag to the list of flags that owners and condo corporations must allow. If adopted, it will join the POW, MIA, military, and US flags in this category as well.

Miller remembers attending Steven Eric DiSario’s funeral. At the time, he was the Licking County post commander for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“This flag is about his son who gave his life in the line of duty,” Miller said. “It’s something very special for him and we’re just looking to protect that.

“For me and my co-sponsor Rep. Ginter, this is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Supporting those who are currently our police officers is also promoting the profession. We have significant issues of retention and recruitment.

Miller said he purposely limited the bill.

“For those who want to get another type of flag added to the exemptions, they can put forward a bill and try to get it through the General Assembly if they want to,” he said.

The same bill was introduced by Ginter and considered by the 132nd General Assembly, where it received bipartisan support in the House but ran out of time in the Senate.

National Police Association attorney James Bopp filed a federal First Amendment lawsuit against an HOA on behalf of an owner who wishes to fly the Thin Blue Line flag.

“These are really brave people who come forward and are willing to say, ‘Well, this law is no good. I have the right to fly a flag,” Bopp said. “We’re just very happy that the Ohio legislature recognizes the need to allow people to do that.”

Thomas DiSario, who has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the homeowners association, could not comment for this article.

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