LAGUNA BEACH (CNS) - The Laguna Beach City Council tonight will discuss whether to remove an American flag-themed logo from its police patrol cars, a graphic that has drawn criticism from some people who think the image is too bold.
On Feb. 19, the council approved the plan to transition from all-white squad cars to a black-and-white design that is common among California police agencies. The council also considered some alternative options and directed the police chief to pick one.
The city initially went for a more muted stars-and-stripes design. But City Councilman Peter Blake said when it was printed, “it came out looking pink and light blue, not the colors befitting a police car.” So Police Chief Laura Farinella “made the right decision” to go with a design with bolder colors.
But the bolder, brighter design has prompted some complaints to city officials.
“... This group of hippies and political extremists didn't like the car because they said it looked too mean, aggressive and militaristic,” Blake said. “They didn't like the flag because it was too patriotic and too nationalistic. And when they couldn't get away with that they said the letters `ice' in police were too obvious and would scare illegal immigrants.”
ICE is the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which enforces immigration laws.
“When that didn't work they argued we violated the Brown Act,” Blake said, referring to the law that regulates how public hearings are held.
So the council agreed to hold a public hearing on the police car design Tuesday night before finalizing a decision, Blake said.
Changing the design would be relatively easy, Blake said.
“The cost is nothing -- these are decals. They get removed and they get reapplied and I'm sure one of our outstanding representatives from the political extremists would be more than happy to put up a few hundred dollars so their kids wouldn't be scared from seeing a black-and-white car with a flag on it.”
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow told the Los Angeles Times the decision really comes down to a question of the brightness of colors on the cars, but he said he has received emails from people who felt the flag design “was threatening, intimidating, harassing and a symbol of racism.”
Police officials at Tuesday's meeting will also ask the council to consider updating the statement printed on the rear quarter-panel of the cars. Currently the statement is “Proudly Serving Our Community,” and the suggested replacements are:
-- Guardians of the Community;
-- Community, Commitment, Courage; and
-- Serving with Pride and Integrity.