MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) --Veteran firefighter Eric Hille and his colleagues created an American flag with a thin blue line to display on a firetruck to show support for fallen peace officers, but it was quickly ordered to be removed.
"We had it on within hours after news of the Baton Rouge incidents where police officers were killed in the line of duty," Hille said.
The flag was inspired by recent events, and Hille and his colleagues wanted to show support for law enforcement.
"We just wanted to let them know that 'We support you, and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity with you,'" Hille said.
However on Monday, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department Chief John Hawkins ordered the removal of the flag. His decision was not well-received by the public, and people quickly took to social media to express their disappointment.
"I've had numerous messages all day from fire departments and police officers and police departments all across the country on my phone about supporting what we did," Hille said.
Hawkins had the best of intentions, despite the backlash.
"We do not want our firefighters targeted, and we cannot take any little risk with this subject," Hawkins said.
Cal Fire is honoring the fallen by shielding their badges and lowering flags to half-staff.
Hawkins said that he completely understands the need to emotionally respect public safety officials, and that is why after the 9/11 attacks, he had American flags placed on station trucks. He said that he will be emailing all 1,600 employees to ask for better ideas on how to show support.
Hille still hopes that Hawkins will consider flying these special flags for the fallen officers and firefighters.