By Beth Lawrence
The Sylva Police Department is updating its image, including its patrol cars.
The department was due for a new look, Chief Chris Hatton said.
“We started with our badges, displaying our former courthouse,” he said. “Then, we updated our shoulder patch to a more modern design.”
The cars are the last step in the process. Hatton and the department want residents to be proud of their police officers.
The officers and Hatton created the new design with input from residents.
“These vehicle markings help announce who the officer works for, which tells folks what their authority is as it pertains to them,” Hatton said. “The image can also have an influence on how that department is viewed.”
Two cars with the new markings are already on the road. One is a new Dodge Charger that replaced an old cruiser. The other is a vehicle damaged when a suspect shot an arrow at officers during an altercation. The car needed new markings after the repairs, so the department went with the new design.
The money for upgrades is part of the department’s budget. Markings for cars are included in the budget for vehicles. New patrol cars ordered to replace older ones will have the new design.
Hatton hopes to find funds in the budget to have the design applied to some current cruisers without markings.
Hatton reports positive feedback from community members so far.
“While I was taking some photos of the new design for the media, people were stopping traffic to say, ‘Wow, is that our new car? We love it!’ and ‘That’s a great looking car,’” he said.
“We have seen people come out of businesses to look at and take photos of the new cars,” Hatton said. This really makes us feel good, because that was our goal all along.”