CALIFORNIA CITY — The California City Police Department will get new patches for their uniforms with an updated design, despite misgivings by some on the City Council and in the community.
Police Chief Jon Walker said he presented the new design to the Council on Sept. 14, as a courtesy.
The design replaces one that, it is believed, dates to the inception of the Department in 1965. The original patch bears a rendition of the city seal, a design which is quite detailed and busy and which does not comes across clearly when embroidered in a patch, Walker said in his staff report.
Replacing the outdated design with a new, cleaner and more modern patch is a means of enhancing recruitment and improving morale, he said.
The new patch is in the shape of a shield, to suggest that the department serves as guardians to protect those who live in and pass through the city, Walker said.
An inner circle has the Department motto of “Protect and Serve with Pride,” as well as the city’s motto of “Land of the Sun.”
The wording was incorrect on the design presented in the agenda.
The graphic suggests snow-topped mountains in the background and a rising sun.
The city seal will continue to be posted on the Department’s vehicles and building, only the uniform patches will change, Walker said.
The officers have overwhelmingly approved the new design, he said.
The cost for the design and initial 200 patches is $550, for which the Department has secured donations, so it does not have any budgetary impact.
Mayor Jeanie O’Laughlin opposed the change in patch design, favoring consistency citywide.
Walker pointed out that the California City Fire Department recently changed their patches and without any consolation with the City Council. He said he was bringing his Department’s design forward as a courtesy.
“I’m just trying to improve morale,” he said.
O’Laughlin remained skeptical of the change and said, “All we have to do is get patches and we improve morale?”
Walker said it certainly does make a difference.
Residents also voiced opposition to the change.
“I am 100% against it,” resident Tami Marie said, calling such a change “a big deal” that should be considered by the entire community.
Shawn Bradley also opposed changing the long-time design, stating it is “refining who we are as a community.”
The move would be to satisfy one group of individuals, not in the best interest of the community as a whole, he said.
“This is who we are,” Bradley said. “Now we’re saying we’re a different city.”
Resident Ron Smith spoke in favor of the change, agreeing that the original patch is outdated.
He also said that it is not necessary to involve the entire city in deciding on the patch worn only by police officers.
O’Laughlin said she would prefer to see a citywide rebranding, designed as a community.
“I think it would make more sense to do it citywide,” she said, in order to have a consistent message.
In that vein, she also would be in favor of revisiting the Fire Department’s new patch.
Despite objections, the Council voted unanimously to approve the new patches.