Law enforcement officers have a dangerous job. In 2018 alone, according to NPR, 144 deaths occurred in the line of duty. One hundred forty-four officers engaged in protecting our citizens were shot and killed. This shocking statistic, however, is not the cause of the uproar in Laguna Beach, California.
Instead, it is the unveiling of the patrol cars’ new design that has sparked claims of racism. The cruisers’ facelift features the word POLICE on both sides, as is the norm. However, the paint scheme used is a red, white and blue design inspired by Old Glory.
While many in the community love the patriotic look, a small group has come forward to oppose the design. They cite the stars and stripes as being offensive and aggressive, especially to immigrants. Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow said he’d received about a dozen emails from concerned citizens after the unveiling. Some of the words used to describe the new design were ‘threatening, intimidating, harassing and a symbol of racism.’
Councilman Peter Blake doesn’t understand their concerns. “People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them,” he said.
Laguna Beach Police Department says they have yet to receive any complaints. Officers say the feedback has been positive, and they look forward to keeping the new design.
In a 4-to-1 city council vote which included two hours of public commentary, the singing of the national anthem, and chants of USA, the city decided to keep the patriotic design.
The recent trend toward portraying Old Glory as something other than a symbol of this diverse nation is quite disturbing. The American flag represents no political ideology; it is not a Republican flag; it is not a Democratic flag. It is our flag; we must remember that.