American Flags Will Stay on Police Cars, Calif. City says, Despite Backlash

Officials are ignoring a backlash by citizens in Laguna Beach who complained that having the American flag embedded in the letters POLICE in city patrol cars was “too aggressive,” sparking national debate, with the City Council voting to keep the design on the vehicles.

Laguna Beach Police Department Police Car
Laguna Beach Police Department via The Los Angeles Times

In a vote held on Tuesday night, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to keep the American flag design on city police cars.

Laguna Beach is well known within Southern California as being primarily an artist colony, with the city being resplendent with galleries.

“This became about the flag, but before that, it was not about the flag,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen, “it was about what our Police Department wanted, what they thought they could best serve the community with.”

Some residents saw American flag as having “racist” connotations

One resident said that when he sees the new police cars, he sees “Immigration and Customs Enforcement” because the red and white of the flag runs through the capital letters “ice” in “police.”

“We’re rainbow-sandal-wearing, avocado-eating … surfers and artists, and inclusion is part of our town,” a resident said adding that it was not very inclusive to “our Hispanic community by putting ‘ICE’ on our police cars.”

American flag “too aggressive” residents complain

It all started earlier in the week during a City Council meeting that heard a wave of complaints by residents over the decision the city made to ethics a graphic design representation of the American flag within the letters spelling out ‘POLICE’ on the city of Laguna Beach, California patrol cars.

“Too aggressive” and “shocking to see the boldness of the design” were among the complaints that City Council members considered from residents in reference to the American flag.

Complaints about American flag “Ridiculous” councilman says

“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,” said Laguna Beach Councilman Peter Blake.

“People are actually ridiculous enough to bring up comments about our cop cars having American flags on them.”