An image of a freshly painted police vehicle has unintentionally ignited a controversy among residents. The use of the American flag in the graphic has led some to praise the police force for the use of a patriotic design. However, others have called the graphic “very aggressive,” panning the decision and saying it could “hurt people’s feelings.”
The Laguna Beach Police Department in California tweeted images of the repainted vehicle. The new graphic features the American flag inside the word “police.”
After people began speaking out against the decision, officials agreed to reconsider the design, which was set to be applied to 11 squad cars. The City Council is also prepared to speak about the issue on Tuesday.
“People are screaming that the American flag on a police car is somehow or another … hurting people’s feelings who might be immigrants or visitors,” Councilman Peter Blake stated, according to a report by the LA Times.
“People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”
During a March 19 council meeting, Carrie Woodburn, an artist, stated that it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” when the Ford Explorers were revealed.
“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” said Woodburn. “It feels very aggressive.”
Local designer Chris Prelitz also expressed concern over the design, saying that “when there are three, maybe four of [the repainted vehicles] together, folks thought it was a SWAT team, federal agents. So it had a very striking, strong impact, so much so that I think there might be some unintended consequences.”
During the last council meeting, attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter questioned how anyone could have an issue with the design, calling the vehicles “exceptional.”
“They are so filled with hatred toward this … office of the president of the United States and the current occupant of that office,” she stated, “that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression.”
Laguna Beach Police Cpl. Ryan Hotchkiss said he has only received positive feedback on the design.
“Every time I came to a stop sign, every time I came to a red light, somebody is telling me the car looks great,” said Hotchkiss at the March meeting. “Every one of our members that drives the car loves it, and we look forward to keeping them the way they are.”
The council will decide on Tuesday whether the design will remain in use or if an alternative will be selected.
At this time, seven of the 11 vehicles slated for the update feature the American flag-style logo.