Letter: Not a Fan of New Police Car Design

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The following email was sent to the City Council:

I’m writing to you regarding the new markings on Laguna Beach police vehicles. Simply put, I’m not a fan. I have several reasons for my lack of enthusiasm.

A black and white police vehicle makes our town indistinguishable from all the other jurisdictions that surround us. We are a unique community within Orange County. Why shouldn’t we remain unique?

Then there is the word “police” painted with the colors and motif of the American flag. Laguna Beach Police force is a local police force, not a national police force. When any police force wrap themselves up in nationalist symbols, I get really uncomfortable. I understand most people do not make a distinction between “nationalism” and “patriotism.” Patriotism is based on affection and nationalism is rooted in rivalry and resentment. By placing a large stylized rendition of the American flag enclosed by the word “POLICE,” it makes our local armed police force appear to be less interested in protecting our citizens and residents and more interested in making an aggressive nationalist statement that most people do not agree with.

How should our police cars be marked? I think the concept of conspicuity should have been taken into consideration. In the UK, police vehicles use a Battenburg design, where a regular pattern and the contrast between a light and a dark color increase conspicuity for the human eye. The lighter color is daylight fluorescent (such as fluorescent yellow) for better visibility in daytime and particularly also in dusk and dawn. For night-time visibility, the complete pattern is retroreflective. In addition, the word “police” is clearly visible on the front and rear of the vehicle.

Finally, why the change? What was the reasoning behind changes? Why was it necessary? What was City Hall saying to the town? And what did it cost?

 

T.C. Borelli, Laguna Beach

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