2014 Best dressed police vehicle

Morley Lymburner
November 26, 2013
By Morley Lymburner
First Place - York Regional Police Looks, style, function and innovation are the new criteria for the annual Best Dressed Vehicles competition and York Regional Police is the clear winner. For the past seven years the major criteria has focused on vehicle exteriors. The use of graphic design to get the public's attention was the main point of interest. This included the use of colour, fonts, striping and how it was incorporated with the physical lines and design of the vehicle. Other aspects were identifying with the community, enforcement focus and how quickly the vehicle could be recognized as a community police car. We suddenly realized that there is more to a law enforcement fleet vehicle then the exterior packaging. Other factors should be considered in what constitutes the "Best Dressed" in working vehicles. Toward this end we decided to open the doors and pop the hood and trunk. We now want to see how they are accessorized toward the betterment of the members driving and the communities they protect.

First Place - York Regional Police

Looks, style, function and innovation are the new criteria for the annual Best Dressed Vehicles competition and York Regional Police is the clear winner.

For the past seven years the major criteria has focused on vehicle exteriors. The use of graphic design to get the public's attention was the main point of interest. This included the use of colour, fonts, striping and how it was incorporated with the physical lines and design of the vehicle. Other aspects were identifying with the community, enforcement focus and how quickly the vehicle could be recognized as a community police car.

We suddenly realized that there is more to a law enforcement fleet vehicle then the exterior packaging. Other factors should be considered in what constitutes the "Best Dressed" in working vehicles. Toward this end we decided to open the doors and pop the hood and trunk. We now want to see how they are accessorized toward the betterment of the members driving and the communities they protect.

Creativity, innovation, doing more with less and employing what's new will now be considered along with the exterior work. Although some agencies may have vehicles which fall short at one level this may be offset by other compelling factors which help overcome a shortfall and make it a winner overall.

When viewing a wide array of police vehicles we quickly came to the conclusion that York Regional Police had a vehicle head and shoulders above the rest which best epitomizes the new "Best Dressed" standard.

  1. The vehicle's exterior lines not only show the uniqueness of the fleet but closer examination reveals that the red striping has a retro-reflective "watermark" embedded with the York Regional Police motto of "Deeds Speak." This creative aspect prevents anyone imitating the vehicle for fraudulent or unauthorized purposes.

  2. The mixed flowing blue and red striping is emblematic of the region's mix of urban-rural and industry-recreation.

  3. The transformation of the patrol vehicles from standard passenger cars to SUV type vehicles. This change was found to be economical due to less maintenance requirements, better passenger space and easier outfitting. Although the initial price is higher, the vehicle is expected to have a longer street life and higher trade-in value.

  4. The V-6 engine has a low energy mode which kicks in for extended idle times saving on fuel consumption and reducing carbon emissions.

  5. In-car computer design allows use by both driver and passenger without interfering with air-flow and air bag deployment.

  6. New security locks for both shotgun and carbines.

  7. The ergonomic keyboard holder is something that was studied and experimented with for over two years. Considerable effort was put into ensuring the keyboard was able to be used by both the passenger and the driver in a safe and efficient manner while still making it universal enough to incorporate a wide variety of keyboard styles.

  8. Equipped with front and rear in-car cameras and audio recording features to capture events taking place in front of the cruiser and in the back seat.

  9. Ease of access to equipment such as first aid kits, ropes etc. due to the SUV configuration.

  10. The card swipe is mounted on the cruiser dashboard. It contains a barcode reader that reads magnetic swipes as well as the 2-D swipe on newer driver’s licences.

It took more than two-years of study and research to bring the final vehicle together – and considerable coordination between fleet management, technical support, senior management, the clothing and equipment committee and many corporate clients and private sector fabricators. The finished product is simply stunning and a positive trendsetting example for others.

Second Place – Vancouver Police Department

The Northwest Coast First Nations share two main clans, symbolized by an eagle and a raven. The clan that the mother belonged to defines membership, and these two cultural icons have become widely used in native art and sculpture. The forward ‘swoosh’ on the front fender of Vancouver Police Department marked cruisers is a Haida depiction of an eagle.

That forward swoosh has another purpose. It helps define at a glance the direction in which a cruiser is traveling. The word “POLICE” is clearly defined night and day and the door panel nicely frames the crest.

Selected by a committee of officers and citizens, the new design became necessary when the VPD chose the Dodge Charger as its marked cruisers. The previous design did not fit – another indication why visibility becomes so much more important as cruiser exterior panels get smaller and more rounded.

Vancouver uses an unusual gradient-fill in its design that integrates perfectly within the vehicle body lines and adds the necessary directionality. The highly reflective graphics were created by Ampco Grafix of Vancouver.

Third Place - Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM)

The SPVM's 4,600 police officers and 1,600 civilian employees serve the island of Montréal and its 1,800,000 inhabitants.

The visual identity of the entire agency is represented by a graphic star symbol containing a human silhouette and the acronym SPVM. With the launch of new neighbourhood police stations, it adopted a new identity for all personnel, including civilian employees, police officers, cadets, school crossing guards, parking agents, taxi bureau and towing inspectors.

This logo was developed through consultation with citizens and police officers and dates back to the symbol used during Expo 67, a visual identity that emphasized fraternity and solidarity between peoples. It stands for excellence, and the human silhouette within it reminds citizens that respect for fellow humans are the focus of every member.

The heavier graphics towards the rear and the upward jog of the reflective striping just aft of the b-pillar adds directionality to the design. While the word “POLICE” may be smaller than others, it is simple, plain and centered in a place of prominence on the door.

Montreal also uses very clever stealth cars that utilize the same basic design but in a covert gold on black style.

Top First Nations – Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation

Kitigan Zibi Police serves 2,700 people adjacent to the town of Maniwaki, Quebec. The design was chosen specifically to reflect the people it serves and integrates the community logo in a prominent place on the front fender.

The drum in the logo symbolizes the drum originally given to the women because of their responsibility and position in the structure of social life within the community. The seven fires represent the legend that speaks of two covenants of law – one given to the land and the other to the Anishinabeg of North America. The otter depicts the animal that went before the great spirit who created the earth, and offered to educate and instruct people by teaching them the ways to protect their family and group.

The cruiser graphics pick up the same colours from the community logo and use them to great effect to reinforce the power and speed of the host vehicle. “POLICE” is simple, strong and very readable.

Top Law Enforcement – Prince Edward Island Sheriff Services

The PEI Sheriff Services is tasked with providing a safe environment in and around the province's courts. Its duties include court security, inmate and jury management, fine and writ collection and process work.

One of our concerns with law enforcement vehicles is that the design must clearly define who the agency is. PEI Sheriff Services is one of the best examples we have ever seen of a clear and professional design. We especially love how the graphics use the lines of the vehicle to best effect. We would be willing to bet that PEI citizens can see at a glance who the agency is and that its people mean business.

Top Community Relations – Cape Breton Regional Police Service (CBRPS)

The CBRPS serves 106,000 people across a 2,500 square kilometer area. Formed through a 1995 amalgamation of the Sydney, North Sydney, Sydney Mines, Glace Bay, New Waterford, Dominion and Louisbourg police forces, it also took over all policing duties for rural areas of Cape Breton County in 2000 and the Membertou First Nation in 2007.

The CBRPS moved its entire fleet back to a historical black and white look because it is instantly recognizable as police. The design uses the colours of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality and all stripes and lettering are made from a highly reflective material, making the fleet visible both day and night.

One factor that impressed our judges is the integration of the new look across every vehicle in the fleet, including motorcycles, ATVs and boats. The design elements are also incorporated on business cards, letterhead, publications, signage, websites and promotional materials.

Canada’s Best Dressed Police Vehicles 2014

by Dave Brown

Since 2005, Blue Line Magazine has been recognizing creativity, visibility and community identity in the design of Canadian police vehicles during our annual Best Dressed contest.

Police vehicles are not just transportation; they are the calling cards of a police service to the community. They must be both highly visible and instantly recognizable.

Designs are ever evolving but the one area we focus on the most every year is officer safety. This is becoming more important as cars get smaller and lightbars more aerodynamic. One factor we especially look for are graphic elements that instantly show at a glance the direction a car is traveling day or night.

We have added one new criteria to our selection process for this year. As you read in our cover story, we are now looking at interior design and integration. Gone are the days that an agency could unbolt all the police gear from an older model car and bolt it into a newer one.

Some lessons in police work come at a great price, and this is why we have modified our judging criteria to also look at factors such as a clean and professional integration of the interior equipment that allows officers to scramble across the front seats in an emergency. There must not be any openings where someone could get a hand or weapon through a partition from the back seat.

Contest finalists

Finalists for each year’s contest are selected by a panel of editors at Blue Line Magazine and by Erik Young and Gerald Donnelly at www.policecanada.ca . Finalists are judged on a scale that awards points for creativity, visibility, readability, ergonomics, equipment integration and community identity. We announce the winners every January in conjunction with our police vehicles issue.

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