HASH(0xbea984)

Toronto police launch survey to help design look of new squad cars

Toronto police launch survey to design new cars

Toronto police have asked the public to help redesign their new squad cars after an earlier model selected by the force caused some controversy — a reaction a police historian says has accompanied similar attempts in the last 40 years.

An online survey posted late Tuesday seeks input on everything from the base colour of the new front-line vehicles to the colour and style of the car’s markings and the font of its motto — “To serve and protect” — which is currently written in cursive.

In November, Chief Mark Saunders halted the rollout of the force’s new dark grey cars after some complained they weren’t as visible as the current police vehicles, while others said the new vehicles looked like something from the military.

The Toronto Police Services Board then asked the force to consult with the public on possible design changes.

“It certainly seems to be a topic of conversation with everybody having a different opinion and that’s the type of opinion that we want to get as part of the survey,” said police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray.

“But it’s time for a change.”

Gray said the force’s fleet management team came up with three new designs last year, all grey in base colour, with the chief selecting the one that prompted the public outcry. In total, 79 of the newly designed cars hit the city’s streets, and Gray said there’s no plan to have those vehicles redesigned. 

The colour scheme of the current car — with a white base and blue-and-white striping and lettering — was introduced about three decades ago, she said.

“We heard the same negative feedback when we moved from a yellow car to a white car in the mid-1980s,” Gray said.

Yellow is not one of the current base colour options in the survey.

Gray said the force will present the results of the survey at the Toronto Police Services Board meeting in May with a decision expected later for the look of more than 600 squad cars.

There will be no additional cost as the new design will only be applied to new cars that are replacing ones at the end of their life cycle, Gray said, which means it will take more than four years to change the design of the entire fleet.

One of the survey’s 14 multiple-choice questions asks which characteristic respondents would most like the new-look cruisers to project. The answers include professionalism, visibility, community-orientation, authority, forward thinking or reassurance.

Squad car colours have long been controversial, according to Michael Sale, a retired Toronto police inspector and former police museum historian.

He said there were concerns when York regional police switched to a white police car in the mid-1970s.

“Everyone thought you’d never see it in a snow drift, so they originally ran a red stripe down the side and over the hood … and they became known across the province as ‘jam sandwich’ because of their cars,” Sale said.

“Sometimes when you switch things people get upset, like they did when police went from light blue shirts to black.”

York regional police were early adopters of white cars, which other forces across North America then emulated — including Toronto, which switched from yellow to white in 1987, he said, adding that the current trend is a move to darker police cars.

“I think it’s a shame how this rolled out,” Sale said.

“Belleville police did it right by bringing out the new black cars to neighbourhoods and communities to get feedback and I think that proactive approach sold it with the public.”

The Toronto police survey can be found at: http://svy.mk/2oNPNZn

Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Fernie Museum fundraiser a blast from the past

Retro themed evening raises over $10,000 for museum programming

Fernie Alpine Resort opens for preview weekend

Fernie Alpine Resort will be opening for a preview weekend, this Saturday and Sunday

Local boys raise money for sick children in unconventional way

Four local boys have found a way to use their passion for… Continue reading

Skid Steer stolen from Sparwood Transfer Station

Elk Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance with a theft that… Continue reading

Golf pro has big plans for Sparwood Golf Course

Golf pro looks to a promising future for golf in Sparwood

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Ghostriders play hard against Nelson Leafs

Fernie Coach proud of team’s effort against top KIJHL contender

Cokato resident receives Order of Canada

Dr. Bryan Kolb has been instrumental in helping society understand what happens inside our heads

Mainroad discusses road conditions, standards

Last week, Mainroad, the Ministry of Transportation, the City of Fernie and… Continue reading

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Most Read