Thursday, March 16, 2006

SMPD Vehicles...

(click on images to enlarge)

The Santa Monica Police Department has requested that the city council adopt a new color and design scheme for the department's patrol vehicles.

They want to incorporate the city of Santa Monica's logo into the design.

Currently the color scheme an all white vehicle with a thick stripe of three parallel colors (light blue, mid blue, and dark blue). The words "SANTA MONICA POLICE" are embedded into this stripe in large capital letter using white reflective vinyl material.

The design team has been consulted for the new design which would incorporate the city's logo.

They have decided to go with a design similar to the LAPD, with a black and white appearance. Most of the vehicle's body will be black except for the side doors and the roof.

I think the black and white design offered by the designers is problematic. First, the color black covers most of the vehicle and as a color is much harder to see in the dark than the white. The color black is chosen by police and military units as a camoflage for special operations, such as SWAT teams, because of its difficulty to be seen in the dark and it camaflage characteristics.

Also, the color black connotes sinisterism. The color black is often used in films and pictures, as seen in the picture of Darth Vador from Star Wars on the right, for the bad and scary guys.

And painting the SMPD vehicles to look like LAPD vehicles dilutes Santa Monica's wonderful individuality and identity by adopting an LAPD like design.

The current design of the SMPD vehicles (white with blue and reflective lettering) can be freshened up. And the design could be modified to incorporate the city of Santa Monica's logo if desired.

The pictures to the right show (at top) the current design. The design below that has been modified to illustrate one of the possible ways the old design can be enhance with freshening up and adding the city's logo.

In the modified color scheme(picture to the right), the three color stripes along the side of the SMPD vehicle has been changed to a single deep rich blue(the same blue as used on the NEW Rapid 3 Big Blue Buses). The words "SANTA MONICA POLICE" remain. However, they have been moved a few inches creating a space in the middle, in which a version of the City of Santa Monica's logo has been placed.

This version maintains many of the original design elements. And it incorporates some modifications to freshen up the design, and to incorporate the logo boldly on the doors.

If the City of Santa Monica proceeds with making the SMPD vehicles look like the LAPD vehicles, what is next on the chopping block? Will it be the color blue of our Big Blue Buses? Will our Big Blue Buses be painted green or red and become the Big Green or Big Red Buses, so they can look more like the Culver City Transit or Los Angeles MTA Buses?

1 comment:

Cycle Santa Monica! said...

Another comment I have about the SMPD changing from their far superior
vehicle color scheme to the "black and white" scheme is that the black
and whites are harder to see than our SMPD cars. Obviously the "black"
is a camouflage color at night.

Additionally, people can paint their cars "black and white". Retired,
"black and white", police vehicles often retain and are sold to the
public with their black and white color scheme. Take a look at some
being sold second hand with the black and white color scheme to the
public ( ). As you may see from that
one police vehicle reseller, the "black and white" colors often remain.

You may see some of these driving around from time to time, and these
retired, "black and white", cars look virtually as much like a police

I know of some people who enjoy driving these around because they become
misperceived as "police cars". Some motorcyclists like to do the same
thing with their motorbikes and helmets, as well.

Additionally, if you look at the example of the "black and white" LAPD
car at: smpd-vehicles.html

You may see that, IMHO, that car is much less, clearly, identifiable as
a police
car, from a distance.

Our SMPD vehicles have, clearly, from both sides, the words, in big,
BOLD, letters, "SANTA MONICA POLICE". This is unmistakable. And anyone
painting their car as such would probably end up in jail for a long
time, with their vehicle impounded, if they painted their car to look
like our uniquely painted SMPD vehicles.

And not only that, you shine something, as small as a bicycle light, at
an SMPD vehicle, from a few hundred feet, and those reflective letters
can clearly be seen and read from several hundred feet. It is
unmistakable, and often can be VERY re-assuring to see.

That, my friends, is not true for the LAPD cars.

The LAPD cars become virtual stealth vehicles at night.

And if you think the SMPD can use "stealth vehicles" to provide for
public safety, they already have undercover vehicles which they use.
These vehicles have no police insignia on them and are plain Jane
looking, often in dark colors, and sometime tinted windows, in which
they may do that kind of work.

And if that is not stealthy enough, the chief of the SMPD could request
what he believes the SMPD needs to carry out their mission to the city
council. I am certain, the city council would honor his request with the
resources he needs accomplish their mission, which, ultimately, is to
provide public safety and enforce the laws in the City of Santa Monica
for the benefit and well being of all our residents, and visitors.

Best Regards,
Cycle Santa Monica!
Empowering Cyclists, Skaters, and Pedestrians
In Santa Monica and the Westside
Using Environmentally Friendly Vehicles
Using Earth Friendly Renewable Fuels
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