Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins weighed in Monday on a controversy in neighboring Montgomery County, questioning the patriotism of County Executive Marc Elrich after Elrich’s decision to prevent a county police precinct from displaying a wooden flag expressing support for a controversial symbol of law enforcement.
The controversy erupted Wednesday when the Montgomery County Police Department shared information on Twitter thanking resident James Shelton and his son for giving the county’s 5th District station a wooden American flag with a blue line replacing one of the lines that is usually red, according to the Montgomery County website Bethesda Beat.
Elrich (D) told the site he wished the department’s spokespeople had reconsidered putting up the post.
He expressed concern that the flag used to show solidarity with police officers and law enforcement has also been used by white nationalists, and is seen by some supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement as a racist symbol.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) blasted Elrich’s decision Sunday as “disgraceful,” and Montgomery County’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 called the decision “an act of outright disrespect,” according to Bethesda Beat.
Jenkins (R) joined the discussion Monday, appearing on the television show “Fox and Friends,” calling Elrich’s decision “totally outrageous” and saying Elrich “has become an embarrassment to Montgomery County.”
“Mr. Elrich doesn’t like anything about America, I don’t believe,” Jenkins told the show’s hosts.
He tied the move to Elrich’s recent decision not to allow county law enforcement cooperate with agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“He has really put the county citizens at risk, he’s put them in danger. And this is just another move, it’s really foolish,” Jenkins said in Monday’s interview.
The thin blue line represents law enforcement’s separation between “civilized society and total chaos,” Jenkins said.
In an interview Monday night, Jenkins confirmed his belief that Elrich’s decision shows a disregard and disrespect for law enforcement in general and police in Montgomery County specifically.
“He has no respect for the law,” Jenkins said.
The flag incident doesn’t put people’s lives at risk in the same way that he believes the ICE decision does, but it’s bad for the police department’s morale, Jenkins said.
He praised the Montgomery County Police Department as excellent, but said the officers that he’s talked to have little faith in their elected leaders.
Jenkins repeated his belief that Elrich lacks patriotism, and “doesn’t like anything about the America that we believe in.”