Laguna Beach considers changing new patrol car lettering after complaints it may offend immigrants

(Government works)

Some residents of Laguna Beach, a California seaside resort in one of the nation’s wealthiest counties, have reportedly taken offense to the local police department new patriotic cruiser design.

The design specifically features the words “Laguna Beach Police” spelled out with the red, blue and white patterns of the American flag. What exactly is the critics’ beef? Its alleged aggressiveness.

“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community. It feels very aggressive,” local artist Carrie Woodburn said at a Laguna Beach City Council meeting last month, adding it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design.”

See photo snaps of the design below:

While it’s unclear what exactly she’d meant, Woodburn isn’t alone in feeling like this. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times, local designer Chris Prelitz complained of the design’s “strong impact.”

He explained that he’d recently been dining with his wife at a local hotel when a fleet of local cruisers showed up on the scene. Their arrival created a “little panic” among the guests, Prelitz said, and for some inexplicable reason he attributes the panic to the cruisers’ design.

“When one of them’s there, it works,” he said. “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.”

It’s unclear whether the situation at the hotel would have transpired any differently had a bunch of non-patriotic police cruisers showed up. Logic suggests the guests would have reacted the exact same, because the arrival of many law enforcement vehicles typically suggests that a crime just occurred.

If Woodburn and Prelitz’s reasoning for why they oppose the new patriotic design seems odd, it may be because they’re not telling the whole truth. According to local attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter, the real reason for their complaints are their alleged repulsion for America and its president.

“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 at the March council meeting.

That explanation would make sense. In recent years more and more communities across the nation have taken to banning patriotic expressions on the basis that they’re offensive to immigrants.

Back in 2016, for instance, a local sports conference in Michigan banned students from chanting “USA” during football games because such chants were allegedly “racist.”

Similar bans have been imposed on “Make America Great Again” apparel.


Laguna Beach City Council member Peter Blake doesn’t appear to appreciate such bans.

“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. People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them,” he said to the Times.

He and Zeiter aren’t the only local residents who appear to be fond of the design.

Laguna Beach Police Department Cpl. Ryan Hotchkiss, the president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association, told the Times that thus far he’s received only positive feedback.

“Every time I came to a stop sign, every time I came to a red light, somebody is telling me the car looks great,” he said during the  Hotchkiss said 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.”

Social media users seem to feel similarly:

The Laguna Beach City Council has nevertheless pledged to reconsider the design.

“On Tuesday the council will decide whether to continue with the logo or choose an alternative. The cars, however, will remain black and white, City Manager John Pietig said,” the Times reported.

No matter what happens, the black and white (versus just white) look will remain, as it reportedly helps distinguish the local police cruisers from other security vehicles.

“This is about safety. I want anybody to see it, period,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow has said.



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