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Laguna Beach Police Cars Blasted As ‘Too Aggressive’ Over Patriotic Paint Job

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

The Laguna Beach Police Department debuted seven newly-painted patrol cars to mixed reviews. The American flag design was lauded by some as patriotic, but others argued that it might be seen as “too aggressive.”

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“We have such an amazing community of artists here, and I thought the aesthetic didn’t really represent our community,” local artist Carrie Woodburn stood up during a March 19 council meeting, saying that “it was shocking to see the boldness” of the final design. “It feels very aggressive.” (RELATED: Students Denounced As Racists For Wearing US Flag Colors)

Chris Prelitz, a local designer, claimed that the cars only really felt “aggressive” when there were several in the same location. He described a scene outside a restaurant where parents and small children were scattering. The inspiration for their fear? Several of the new police cars in the same location.

“There was like a little panic going on, and I was like, What’s happening?'” he told the Los Angeles Times. “When one of them’s there, it works. 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.”

City Councilman and art gallery owner Peter Blake called outrage over the vehicles “ridiculous,” saying, “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.”

Laguna Beach Police Employees Assn. President Ryan Hotchkiss said that members of the department loved the new design and hoped to keep it — and added that the public response, in his experience, had all been positive. “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.

City Manager John Pietig, who admitted that the final design was somewhat bolder in color than the one the council originally approved, said that it would be reconsidered “out of an abundance of caution to address questions that have been raised.”

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