Blue line highlights relationship between Berlin police and community

Berlin Borough recently painted a blue line between the double yellow line on Taunton Avenue as a symbol of the government and community support of the police.

Berlin Police officers stand next to the blue line on Taunton Avenue

A police officer’s job is to serve and protect his or her community. Asking for recognition is not in their job description, but the Berlin Borough government thought it was time police officers deserve recognition for the work they do.

After noticing other towns in South Jersey such as Oaklyn and Cherry Hill had recently painted blue lines on their streets, Berlin’s mayor and council members thought they should do the same for their town. It didn’t take much time for them to decide on painting the blue line on Taunton Avenue, their most heavily traveled street, and painted it between the double yellow lines during the first week of October.

“We had it (Taunton Avenue) repaved last year, and with the bold, blue stripe, it looks beautiful,” Berlin Mayor Jim Bilella said.

He said the blue line doesn’t just give recognition to the police; it represents the community supporting them.

“We are fortunate to have a great police force who are very engaged in the community,” Bilella said. “While they don’t ask for recognition, I think many people want to say in a subtle way, we do recognize the job you do and we support you.”

Berlin Police Chief Michael Miller said the entire police department was elated when it was told of the blue line.

“They were happy about it, especially in these days it seems like there isn’t a lot of support for law enforcement,” he explained. “It’s a showing of support from the governing body to the citizens. We thought it was a good way of them showing support and bringing us closer with the community.”

The Berlin Police Department posted the photos on its Facebook page shortly after it was finished and generated an abundance of “likes” and shares.

The response was positive even before the blue line paint job was complete, and not just for the police officers. As the Berlin Public Works Department painted the blue line, drivers were honking, beeping and giving the thumbs up to those workers and the officers conducting traffic around the paint job. Miller noted those officers had already finished their shifts and were volunteering their time to help with traffic at no cost and were happy to do it, especially with the response they received from the drivers.

“We were out there helping traffic as they were painting, and so many people were waving to us,” Miller said. “They support the police, they support law enforcement, they are glad the town has done something like that. The response has been great.”

“We have a great police force,” Bilella said. “They don’t ask for recognition. They didn’t ask for it (the blue line) because they are just doing their job.”