Intimidating police cars
The VPD said it had overwhelming support for the new design, but a local advocate told a Vancouver radio station vulnerable people might not feel comfortable approaching one of the “intimidating” vehicles.
“It is a very identifiable look for police vehicles dating back many decades and used throughout the world.”In 2014, the Vancouver Police Department began replacing its aging fleet of white Crown Victorias with black Dodge Chargers, with an Aboriginal-designed thunderbird over the front fender.The civilian oversight board has asked for a report on the fleet and Saunders hasn’t ruled out backtracking on the planned rollout.When the Calgary Police Service went looking for a design change, it switched the colour of its cars from white — with red and blue stripes — to a black-and-white paint job.She says vulnerable people may not feel comfortable approaching one of the vehicles, adding it could compromise levels of trust.“The domination of black over the colours that we have had in the past or other bright colours that other jurisdictions have that aren’t aggressive,” says Garossino, in describing what she finds intimidating about the vehicles.
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Having built my life as a design professional in the field of visual culture over the past 20 years, I have to ask what purpose is served by the recent shift in police vehicle design in cities across Canada.