Since 2005 Blue Line Magazine has recognized creativity, visibility and community identity in police vehicle design through our annual best dressed police vehicles contest.
We had no idea how things would evolve when we first began – from simple graphics on white cars to bold designs and highly reflective graphics on distinct body colours. We don’t just reward innovative designs. We also recognize that marked vehicles are a police service’s calling cards to the community; they must be highly visible and instantly recognizable for the safety of the officers within them and the citizens around them.
Not that many years ago, police vehicles came in only one colour, generally chosen more for its future resale value to taxi cab owners than its visibility. At that time, graphics had to carry the design entirely and we saw some very innovative and clever layouts on a base white car.
Today, as light bars get smaller and the silhouette of police cars becomes less noticeable, there is greater recognition that distinctive colours and professional graphical designs can increase visibility to the general public. We are also seeing better readability in lettering and the words on the side are now more consistent and less like a bad ransom note.
Finalists for this year’s contest were selected by both Blue Line and Erik Young and his panel of judges at policecanada.ca. Entries were judged on a scale that awarded points for creativity, identity, visibility, readability and community identity. We are proud to announce the winners for 2012.
First Place - Miramichi Police Service
Situated near the mouth of the Miramichi River, Miramichi is home to 18,000 people. One of the newest cities in Canada and now the largest in northern New Brunswick, it was formed in 2005 by the amalgamation of the towns of Newcastle and Chatham and several smaller communities.
Miramichi Police Service has been a consistent top finisher in our best dressed contest, finishing second in 2007 and winning the award for best community relations in 2010. We now especially like the clean and simple white-on-grey design of the new MPS cruisers and how well it fits the outlines of its 2011 Dodge Chargers. The prominent crest on the door shows respect for the community’s rich heritage and the thin black outline around the blue gradient lettering of “POLICE” adds style and visibility.
The thin white stripe down the front fender line may seem like a small element but adds directionality to the design. One can see at a glance which way the vehicle is going, night or day.
We applaud the effective use of the grey body colour and encourage the service to continue this theme in the future.
Second Place - Kentville Police Service
Named after Prince Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent, who visited the area back in 1794, the town of Kentville lies in the heart of Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. Kentville Police Service provides 24-hour protection to this town of almost 6,000 people and, just to prove that creativity can be found in any size agency, we award it second place in a very close race.
This was one of our favourite colour schemes. We especially liked how well the design uses the bodylines of the new Charger to enhance the effect. The ‘punch-out’ of a maple leaf on the rear quarter panel and the good use of drop shadows in “POLICE” both add unique elements to help this vehicle stand out. We also liked the shoulder patch design and how well it fit into the natural folds of the door. The red and blue swishes were used to great effect, adding emphasize to the body creases. From certain angles they add a bit of an Italian exotic car flavour to the design.
Third Place - Morden Police Service
The town of Morden Manitoba sits directly along the original route of the Boundary Commission/NWMP westward trek back in the late 1800s and is now in the heart of one of the fastest growing areas of Manitoba.
Blue Line has recognized the Morden Police Service and agencies from the surrounding area several times in the past and it is time we also took note of its innovative police car designs.
We love the unique gold-on-black design. What makes it more interesting is that body colour is not achieved by paint. It starts as an all-white vehicle and then a black decal wrapping is applied to the entire vehicle except the door panels. This is ultimately less costly than paint. What started as a quick and effective way to apply unique designs to NASCAR race cars can now be used to reduce the cost of police patrol cars.
Like the other two winning designs, the scheme makes effective use of the body lines and contours of the patrol vehicle.
Best Dressed First Nations Police
Eagle Village First NationsPolice Force
Eagle Village First Nation is situated along the shores of Kipawa Lake, Québec, approximately 80 kilometers west of North Bay, Ontario. Patrolling a population of 325 on-reserve residents, village police are very clear in their core values and mission.
“The Eagle Village Police Force, through its members, shall strive to achieve a balanced society where every community member has an equal opportunity to fulfill their potential, in a safe and secure environment on traditional lands, where spiritual, cultural, physical and mental well being is respected” (EVPF Vision Statement, taken directly from the informative web site).
One of the most interesting things about judging this contest every year is that the winning designs all seem to share one common characteristic: the best are simple, clean and instantly capture the eye. The EVPF entry is a good example of this, using its crest colours on the side of the vehicle to add a lot of movement and dynamics to the design.
Best Dressed Community Relations
Charlottetown Police Service
Community relations/police promotional vehicles run a wide gamut. We have seen everything from fun and youthful vehicles right out to full-on drag racers. This year, we recognize the beautifully restored 1952 Dodge police car of the Charlottetown Police Service. Out on the road almost daily, it entertains residents and delights children who enjoy going for rides in a unique and historical police car.