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Town Agrees to Mark New Police Cruiser

Residents' concerns prompt selectmen to put signage on recently purchased vehicle.

 

After hearing some concerns about the visibility of police, Middlefield selectmen agreed Tuesday night to move forward with marking the town's new police cruiser.

The vehicle was purchased by the town last year to replace an older cruiser, but does not include the signage typically found on town police vehicles. 

After recent input by some town residents, which included the recommendation that the vehicle include "9-1-1", First Selectman Jon Brayshaw said he spoke with State Police Sgt. Sal Calvo, who oversees the , about the need for signage on police vehicles.

Brayshaw said that while the previous vehicle and the town's second cruiser were marked, there are benefits to not marking the cars.

"There are a lot of reasons. They can be more clandestine without the signs and also, they can prevent a lot of things, they can drive through neighborhoods and they can actually observe things unbeknown to other people when you're driving through with an unmarked car," he explained, before eventually supporting the idea marking the new cruiser.

Selectman Ed Bailey viewed the issue as "a toss up" but agreed that the car should be marked.

"We have had our cars, at least as far as I know, [marked] for the last 10 or 15 years and we probably should continue given the size of our department," he said.

Brayshaw said an unmarked SUV is available for the department's use but does not include much of the equipment typical in a police vehicle. The Resident Trooper's cruiser is not marked.

Last year the town budgeted $2000 to pay for the signage, a figure that Brayshaw said also includes other equipment.

Following up on a previous meeting, Brayshaw said police planned to in some areas. 

Editor's Note: Selectman Dave Burgess was absent from the meeting.

Mike Butler January 05, 2012 at 02:12 PM
If the police department were big enough to have a detective division, unmarked cruisers might make sense. But in a small town, marked patrol cars can provide a more impactful police presence, adding to the deterrent value. Before the advent of huge billboard graphics on police vehicles, a simple door decal along with the obligatory rooftop lighting sufficed to constitute a marked car; the town needn't overspend on decorating it. If an unmarked vehicle is needed for undercover ops, it behooves asking how much it would cost to gear up the existing SUV with police equipment rather than incur the cost of another new vehicle. As for State Troopers' cars, yes technically most of them are unmarked. But when one of these vehicles is wearing the distinctive State Police lightbar, there is no mistaking it for the ordinary family sedan (especially with the front bumper push bars). Plus it has usually been a Crown Victoria, which Ford has been selling only to Law Enforcement for several years now (and now has stopped making them), so when you see one on the street, it is either a cop or someone who bought one a retired police car—it's enough to give a burglar or drug dealer a bit of a scare. If my town had a police department, I would recommend it equip its cruiser(s) with conspicuous police graphics, for an "arresting" appearance.

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