Mark Lauderback has had plenty to do since officially becoming police chief on Oct. 21, 2019.
But near the top of his checklist was returning all of the 24 Westminster PD Ford Explorers back to black-and-white.
He never took to the all-black look the vehicles were changed to in 2005.
“Police cars are black-and-white and fire engines are red,” he said with a smile.
Leading the agency into a new decade, Lauderback — who’s been at the WPD for 25 years and was appointed interim chief of police on June 15, 2019 — felt it was the right time to return to a long tradition of black-and-white vehicles.
“It’s what community recognizes a police car to be,” he said. “Our job isn’t just apprehension, it’s prevention.”
And he said that the return to the traditional color scheme can help in that. If someone is about to engage in something like talking on a cell phone without a headset or not use a seatbelt, that black-and-white police car driving by with its instant recognition may make them “think twice,” he said.
It offers a high visibility that happens less with an all-black police vehicle, Lauderback added. In addition to the color scheme, the vehicles received a makeover in their logo design: There’s now a thin blue line featured in the word “police.” The vehicle painting and redesign took about two weeks and was completed at the end of last year.
“Personally I like it,” said WPD Officer Sam Gradilla. “It goes back to the tradition … what everyone thinks of a cop. It kind of reminds us of where we started.”
He said he has received positive feedback from community members about the change.
Lauderback said he’s only received positive feedback as well.
“So far, everything from the community … even the employees at city hall and neighboring agencies, have all said the cars look great,” he said.