City officials in Laguna Beach, Calif., are being forced to reconsider city-approved American flags on the sides of Laguna Beach Police Department squad cars because residents say the image is aggressive and alarming.
The word “Police” with the image of Old Glory running through was approved by Laguna’s City Council in February. Apparently, the graphic came out a little too patriotic for the city’s residents, so much so that they are demanding the council reconsider – and possibly repaint the newly painted police cars.
The Los Angeles Times reports,
After hearing the criticism and acknowledging that the image they approved didn’t quite match the final results, officials agreed to reconsider their February decision to paint the Laguna Beach Police Department’s fleet of 11 squad cars. The City Council will take up the issue again at its Tuesday meeting.
The proposed graphic that the council unanimously approved in February was a more muted version of the design that now appears on the cars, according to a city staff report. In February, Pietig called the proposed designs a ‘cloud-like look.’
He said two weeks ago that the council would reconsider the logo ‘out of an abundance of caution to address questions that have been raised about the process.’
Of the Police Department’s 11 vehicles, seven have the updated design, police Sgt. Jim Cota said in a text message.
Residents are reportedly concerned that it sends the wrong message about the artsy, supposedly progressive community.
“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” artist Carrie Woodburn said at the latest council meeting on March 19. “It feels very aggressive.”
Local designer Chris Prelitz told the Los Angeles Times that while dining with his wife at the Montage hotel he saw several parents and small children scattering at the sight of “a cluster of police cars” and that the image may have "some unintended consequences."
“There was like a little panic going on, and I was like, ‘What’s happening?’” Prelitz said. “When one of them’s there, it works. But all of a sudden, I saw, wow, when there are three, maybe four of them 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.”
Others disagree, saying that the outrage over the American flag image on cop cars is “ridiculous.”
“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,” said Councilman Peter Blake. “People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”
“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,” said Attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter.
The president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association says he has only received positive feedback about the police cars’ patriotic makeover.
News of the outrage has, in turn, spurred outrage online that American citizens would take issue with the American flag on their city’s cop cars.
The City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. local time, where the council will decide whether to repaint the police cars.
The Laguna Beach Department was proud of the cars' new logo and black and white paint-job. They posted photos of the first updated car on March 9.