The official vehicles belonging to the Laguna Beach police were branded with an American flag themed logo that quickly became controversial.
The decal features an American flag design with the word “police.” However, the city is debating whether or not the logo needs a redesign aimed at deemphasizing the flag.
The city approved the logo in February, but after receiving a number of complaints about it, the officials decided to revise their decision.
The city had finally settled on the logo after polling the police department, with the officers choosing which of two logos they preferred. One was a blue and white coastal design, while the second was the flag-themed logo. The flag logo won.
However, the police department and the city were soon bombarded with phone calls and emails from residents within and outside the community, with many complaining about the “aggressive” design that was on the cars. Some even expressed concern over the presence of the American flag design on police cars, wondering what it meant.
Cpl. Ryan Hotchkiss, president of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association, said: “We thought it embodied the community and what we stand for as a police department. Laguna Beach is unique and the American flag is different than what other police agencies have.”
However, not everyone was supportive of this new design plan.
Michael Beanan, a former SEAL and Vietnam veteran, wrote to the council: “The present re-design with an American flag sprawled across police cars is likely misappropriation of the American flag as a branding device. As an artist in an art community, the hacked display of the American flag is garish and promotes blunt nationalism in a community welcoming international visitors. The scattered, desiccated flag design is also unintelligible and would fail any design class.”
“Our American flag is supposed to stand for democracy. True democracy means equality, justice and truth for all. With our current Potus, who at every turn defiles these very values or standards, waving the red, white and blue feels tainted, like rooting for the dark side,” Janine Robinson wrote on a Facebook page for Laguna Beach residents.
Steve Dicterow, the Mayor Pro Tem, told Los Angeles Times: “Clearly, the way it looks on the car is not what anyone expected it to look like. I think it’s reasonable that we’re going to look at it again so that whatever we [approve] is exactly what we put on the car.”
He stated that he had received some emails expressing concern about the logo.
“Some of the words people used was that they felt it was threatening, intimidating, harassing and a symbol of racism,” he said.