Police cars in Laguna Beach will keep their new American flag logos

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The flag design on Laguna Beach police cars has prompted a debate about whether the community is reflected in the new theme. (Laguna Beach Police Department)

After addressing complaints that drew national attention, Laguna Beach officials are sticking with a new American flag-themed logo on their police cars. The design features the word POLICE in huge red, white, and blue letters emblazoned with stars and stripes.

When Laguna Beach officials rolled out this redesign to its fleet of Ford Explorers, it spurred a debate in the coastal city – is the flag-themed lettering simply patriotic or overly aggressive toward the people the department polices?

Artist Carrie Woodburn said at a March council meeting that it was “shocking to see the boldness of the design” on the newly painted police cars. 

“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” Woodburn told the LA Times. “It feels very aggressive.”

But attorney Jennifer Welsh Zeiter said that critics of the American flag display are so blinded by their hatred of President Donald Trump, she told the Times, “that they cannot see through their current biases to realize that a police vehicle with the American flag is the ultimate American expression.”

The debate caused an uproar on social media and conservative talk shows. On Tuesday night the Laguna Beach city council took up the issue. At one point, supporters belted out the National Anthem in the packed room.

On a vote of 4 to 1, the council decided to keep the chosen flag logo on its 11 squad cars. City officials say they chose the flag design for safety reasons, to make sure the vehicles were visible.