LAGUNA BEACH (CNS) - The Laguna Beach City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to keep an American flag-themed logo on its police patrol cars, rejecting claims the graphic “would scare illegal immigrants.”
The council voted Feb. 19 to switch 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 Laguna Beach Police Department Chief Laura Farinella “made the right decision” to go with a design with bolder colors.
However, the bolder, brighter design prompted 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.
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow told the Los Angeles Times before the vote the decision comes down to a question of the brightness of colors on the cars, but said he has received emails from people who felt the flag design “was threatening, intimidating, harassing and a symbol of racism.”
Photo: Laguna Beach Police Department