Blue Line


December 2, 2014  By Dave Brown

1817 words – MR

Second Place – Gatineau Police Service
Ville de Gatineau is the fourth largest city in Quebec. Located directly across the river from Ottawa, the two cities comprise Canada’s National Capital Region and are home to more than 1.2 million people. When Service de Police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) updated its vehicles to the new Ford Police Interceptor, it chose to also update graphics with this very eye-catching design.

The word POLICE and the city name of Gatineau are both very prominently placed along the side, important in a region where multiple agencies patrol jurisdictions in close proximity to each other. We were immediately impressed by the design and especially the unique way the white bars break up the blue side stripes that help add to its identity as a police car. The subtle but effective use of gold striping and double drop-shadow in the word POLICE add to that instant recognition.

Officer safety is among our most important judging criteria, and one factor we like to see is directionality to the design. Citizens should be able to tell at a glance which way the vehicle is facing, day or night. During the day, the design looks much like an arrow, and when all the reflective decaling is lit up at night, the side graphic is almost reminiscent of the silhouette of a patrol carbine, complete with collapsible stock and 30-round magazine. (Or perhaps my eyes are just playing tricks on me.)


Regardless, it is one of the most effective and modern designs we have seen.

Third Place – Saskatoon Police Service
The graphic design of the Saskatoon Police Service Ford Police Interceptors also incorporate a lot of directionality in the decaling that is specifically contoured to follow the shape of the new body style. It makes effective use of the black front wheel well to form a streamlined teardrop shape; once again allowing citizens to see at a glance the direction of travel.

Auxiliary lighting consists of the latest LED technology, including dual white pillar-mounted spotlights and a dual-color LED lightbar. It has a crisp light visible from a greater distance, and the entire front can turn into a full takedown light, producing a clear white floodlight. The rear dual-color LEDs can be programmed into amber directional arrows to assist in traffic control.

Inside, auxiliary switches on the steering wheel allow officers to activate emergency lights and siren without having to look down or take their hands off the steering wheel. The vehicle also includes both a front and rear facing camera system, reverse camera, reverse sensing system and a blind spot monitoring system. The integrated center console holds the radio, laptop base and all-important cup holders between the two front seats.

Officer safety is again emphasized, right back to the rear seat, with larger rear door openings for easier access, molded prisoner seats with recessed lower seat backs for easier handcuffing and a center-mounted seat belt system that places the buckles on the outboard side of the seat.

Top First Nations – Treaty Three Police Service
Treaty Three Police services 18,550 First Nations residents in 28 First Nation Territories in the Kenora and Rainy River areas. It currently has 85 sworn members, with officers drawn from the OPP, RCMP, Lac Seul Police and Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service. The vast majority of members grew up in the area, and all officers train with and meet the same standards as all other Ontario police agencies.

The service motto is “Policing for the people by the people,” and it uses a mix Ford and GM police vehicles and pickup trucks to patrol two districts. It has now gone exclusively to the GMC Sierra truck for it’s longer service life on the often-remote roads, quick acceleration and fuel economy.

The instantly identifiable design of the graphics, with red outlining orange letters on a black truck, has been recognized previously in , and it illustrates how simple, modern and bold designs are timeless. When you see this vehicle on the street, you know immediately where it is from and what its function is.

It is inside the new Sierras where major updates to officer safety have been made. All radio and light controls are now up on the dash, and officers can operate all equipment without taking their eyes off the road. Treaty Three Police have also adopted the new Blac-Rac vertical weapons mount system, which securely grip patrol carbines with the receiver out and the magazine in, allowing plenty of room for top-mounted optics. The articulating mount can be opened with either a key or a self-contained encapsulated power supply, reducing wear on the weapon by eliminating any bouncing around or rattling while in the rack.

A new master kill switch has also been added to the trucks to help protect the Fleet-net radios while boosting another vehicle.

Top Law Enforcement – Wilfrid Laurier University
Wilfrid Laurier University has campuses in Waterloo and Brantford and facilities in Kitchener and Toronto. The Wilfrid Laurier University Special Constable Service is responsible for the security of more than 100 buildings and campus properties, working closely with the Waterloo and Brantford police services to define operational requirements.

Special constables are sworn peace officers employed to preserve and maintain public peace and protect members and visitors to the university community.

Empowered to enforce Federal and Provincial statutes, including the Criminal Code, Liquor License Act, Trespass to Property Act, Mental Health Act and City by-laws when necessary, the Special Constable Service has been in existence for over 38 years in Waterloo and seven years in Brantford.

Personnel wear light blue shirts, dark pants with a blue stripe, and have “Special Constable” in a visible position on their uniforms. All vehicles are branded with a prominent Wilfrid Laurier University crest on the rear door and clear identification on the side. The colors in the graphic design pick up the colors from the crest, and the shape of the design duplicates the slope of the Ford’s hoodline. Reflecting the modern and progressive campuses that they patrol, the Special Constable Service design is both clean and bold.

Top Special Service Vehicle – Military Police
What police officer has not wished at some point for a roof-mounted C6 machine gun mounted on a swivel turret?

The G-Wagon – short for Gelandewagen – is the new Canadian Forces Light Utility Vehicle Wheeled (LUVW), used by regular and reserve field units for overseas deployment and tactical transport for control, liaison, reconnaissance and military police. Powered by a 2.7-litre, 5-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine, it can be fitted with add-on armour protection modules and replaces the completely unprotected Iltis light utility vehicle, purchased by the federal government in the mid-1980s from Bombardier.

The Canadian Army has ordered 1,200 G-wagons since 2003. They come in three versions: the basic utility vehicle with the large roof racks; a command and reconnaissance version with a rotating gun-mount in the centre of the roof and the similar Military Police version with additional blue and red rotating beacons. Perhaps slightly less able to partake in high-speed (or even moderate-speed) pursuits, it nevertheless can go places previously accessible only to tanks and 8-wheeled LAV armoured vehicles.

Even with the armaments and the ability to install an armoured kit, the G-wagon is still vulnerable to improvised explosive devices (IEDs.) Two members of Canada’s Military Police, Corporal Mathew Dinning and Corporal Randy Payne, were killed in Kandahar, Afghanistan when their G-wagon was hit by an IED while serving with the inaugural Military Police close protection team. In honor of the members of Canada’s Armed Forces protecting our country and serving around the world, we award Canada’s Military Police with the award for best-dressed police vehicle in the inaugural special-service vehicle category.

While others in the trade may debate whether the Military Police should be considered ‘Capital M’ Military first, and ‘small p’ Police second or the other way around, will always recognize the men and women of Canada’s Military Police as “Capital M, Capital P.”

Top Community Relations – St. Thomas Police Service
A community relations vehicle should be as distinctive and different as the many police services that protect us across the country. We have seen everything from Hummers seized from drug dealers right up to full-on race cars. The brand new St. Thomas Police Service K-9 Unit meets the very definition of a community relations vehicle.

Minutes off the 401 corridor, St. Thomas is located on the shores of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, half way between Detroit and Toronto. The service employs 66 sworn officers and 26 civilian members.

Built on a 2014 Ford Police Interceptor Utility, the K-9 unit is specially equipped for police service dog duties with a back up camera, American Aluminum K-9 insert, Ace K9 Hot-N-Pop Pro system to regulate the temperature in the canine area and a remote door opener feature, which allows the officer to unleash the dog from up to one kilometer away. D&R Electronics provided the metal storage container with pull out drawers in the rear trunk area and all installation brackets for the mobile data terminal and radio equipment.

The exterior graphics and decaling match the existing fleet but the main color is silver grey instead of the dark blue and white of the fleet cruisers. This was done to soften the look and better show off sponsorship decals from the many community partners who helped make the K-9 unit and police service dog Trax a reality for the city’s 38,000 residents.


Canada’s Best Dressed Police Vehicles 2015
Since 2005, has been recognizing creativity, visibility and community identity in the design of Canadian police vehicles during our annual Best Dressed Police Vehicle 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.

Graphic designs are ever evolving but the one area we focus on every year is officer safety. This is becoming more important as cars get smaller and lightbars more aerodynamic. We look for essentials such as clear identification, graphic designs that enhance visibility, design elements that show directionality of travel and effective integration of equipment and controls.

Nominations are entered through our email or submissions to Erik Young and Gerald Donnelly at <>. Finalists are selected by a panel of editors and 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. The 2015 winners are in five categories: Best Dressed Police Vehicle, Best Dressed First Nations Police Vehicle, Best Dressed Law Enforcement Vehicle, Best Dressed Community Relations Vehicle and – new for 2015 – Best Dressed Special Service Vehicle.

Winners in each category reflect the incredible diversity and creativity of police and law enforcement agencies in Canada.

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