Laguna Beach police are facing a public backlash for affixing an American flag graphic to the sides of their newly painted cars. Some people are praising it for being patriotic while others are saying it is too aggressive.
The Laguna Beach Police Department made a decision to paint its fleet of 11 squad cars in February but after listening to the criticism they have agreed to reconsider it, reported the LA Times.
The officials acknowledged that the images they approved didn’t match the final results on the car. The City Council will take up the issue again in its meeting on April 16 and decide whether they will continue with the logo or chose an alternative.
Some residents are praising the image as patriotic. Others are panning it as too aggressive. https://t.co/CPxMenSjqf
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 13, 2019
“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 told the LA Times. “People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”
After the cars were out with the new design, artist Carrie Woodburn said during the March 19 council meeting that the boldness of the design is shocking.
“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” Woodburn said. “It feels very aggressive.”
Attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter, however, questioned the patriotism of anyone who objected to the flags on the car.
— KTLA (@KTLA) April 13, 2019
“They are so filled with hatred toward this … office of the president of the United States and the current occupant of that office, that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression,” she said.
Laguna Beach Police Cpl. Ryan Hotchkiss who’s the president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association said he received only positive feedback about the graphic.
Laguna Beach Police Go Back To Black And White Patrol Cars https://t.co/cHy3B4oy3P
— Laguna Beach Patch (@LagunaBchPatch) February 23, 2019
“Every time I came to a stop sign, every time I came to a red light, somebody is telling me the car looks great. Every one of our members that drives the car loves it, and we look forward to keeping them the way they are,” Hotchkiss said at the March meeting.
City Manager John Pietig said that even if the logo changes, the color of the cars will remain black and white. According to the Police Chief Laura Farinella, the color will be retained because it’s more visible and differentiates police cars from other security vehicles.
Out of the 11 department cars, seven have the updated design. “This is about safety. I want anybody to see it, period,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow said at the February meeting.
— Laguna Beach Indy (@lagunabeachindy) February 22, 2019
Laguna Beach has 6.5 million visitors every year and over the years the police have complained that driving white cars makes it difficult for them to stand out, reported the Laguna Beach Indy.
“Having 6.5 million visitors, we want to stand out, we want to be recognizable when they flag us down and we’re at a scene,” Police Chief Laura Farinella told the Laguna Beach Indy.
The Laguna Beach Police Department is proud to unveil our new design for our police units coming Spring 2019! New look, same world class service.
Posted by Laguna Beach Police Department on Wednesday, February 20, 2019