I was very pleased to learn the ASIS Global Board of Directors unanimously approved the “Thin Purple Line” initiative at their 22 June 2020 board meeting. The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) board and the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board (ATAB) both previously approved the “Thin Purple Line” initiative, as well.
Globally, “Thin Line” colors have come to represent the various disciplines of professionals that help others. Beyond the “Thin Blue Line” being a symbol used by law enforcement professionals, there are several professions that identify themselves in this way:
- The “Thin Red Line” represents the Firefighting Community
- The “Thin White Line” represents Emergency Medical Services
- The “Thin Gold Line” represents Communications Operators (dispatchers)
- The “Thin Green Line” represents Federal Agents such as Border Patrol, Park Rangers, Game Wardens and Conservation Personnel
- The “Thin Silver Line” represents Corrections Officers
What was missing was a standardized “Thin Line” color to represent the security profession, both public and private. While private and public sector security personnel form an essential part of the protective apparatus of most nations and outnumber law enforcement personnel by a two-to-one margin, they did not have their own “Thin Line” color.
Where there was no agreed-upon color representing the security profession, the ASIS Law Enforcement Liaison Community (LELC) sought to create this symbol—to show on-going support for security professionals, to create a better sense of professional community, and to honor and memorialize the security professionals who are injured or killed in the line of duty.
According to a United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics report dating back over a decade ago, “security guards face a set of hazards different from that of the average worker. Security guards are more likely to be fatally injured while working, especially by homicide, but are less likely to incur a nonfatal injury or illness than workers in general,” The COVID-19 pandemic and an agitated public has only served to expose security personnel to even far greater threats in 2020.
What “Thin Line” color is most appropriate to represent security professionals? The ASIS LELC conducted extensive research to answer this question. The outcome of that research resulted in the committee recommending the color purple be adopted as the official “Thin Line” color based on these factors:
- The color purple is derived by combining the color blue (the color for law enforcement), the color red (the color for fire) and the color white (the color for EMS). Since the duties and responsibilities of most security professionals entail duties of each of these professions, the color purple is the most sensible. This color combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red.
- The color purple is separate and distinct enough from the colors of other public safety and related disciplines so there can be no confusion between it and other “Thin Line” colors
The committee presented its research and findings to the LELC during their monthly meeting on 11 July 2018. The committee recommended ASIS International adopt the color of Velvet Purple [Pantone 2612] as the official color to represent all public and private security professionals. This motion was brought before the LELC for a vote where it was unanimously adopted. The LELC Chair then forwarded this initiative to the ASIS Board of Directors with a recommendation for their consideration
It may seem like a small gesture but unifying an already fragmented universe of security professionals serves this rather expansive community (both in the public and private sectors) well in the long run.