Councillors want business plan for cruiser colours
City councillors have asked Barrie’s police board for a memo explaining the business case and research done to support re-branding city police cruisers, which began last spring. CHERYL BROWNE PHOTO
The new-look Barrie police cruisers need a closer look, city councillors have decided.
They gave initial approval Monday to ask Barrie's police board for a memo outlining the background, benefits and costs of the re-branding exercise which has seen navy blue cruisers mixed in with the traditional white ones.
“I first noticed it a couple of months ago as I passed several police cars on the street in the new colours and literally could not tell they were a police car until I was within feet of them,” said Coun. Michael Prowse, who asked for the memo.
The Ward 6 councillor said he believes highly visible police cruisers can help in crime prevention, community relations and providing Barrie residents with a feeling of security and confidence.
“It strikes me that to achieve that we would want the most visible police cars possible, with the obvious exception of those doing undercover work or even radar enforcement,” Prowse said.
“The current (navy blue) colour scheme and inability to distinguish between a soccer mom and a police car appears to be counter-intuitive.”
So he would like to see the business case and research done to support the re-branding.
“Prior to going through what I'm sure will be a fairly costly re-branding/repainting exercise, to determine that our community is better served by the chosen paint design on the cruisers,” said Prowse, chairman of the city's finance and corporate services committee.
Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood said the new cruiser colours were launched in May, during police week, as part of the police department's strategic plan.
“As new vehicles come into our fleet, we are re-branding them,” she said. “We're not taking our current fleet and replacing them, it is through our regular life cycle that we're re-branding our vehicles.”
So there's no additional cost, Greenwood said. The police cruisers used to come in white and get decals, now they come in blue and have decals applied.
“It's not just about visuals, it's in regards to the continuation of being connected with our community, engaged in our community and committed to our community,” she said.
In the 2014-2016 Barrie police strategic business plan, under actions to improve external communications, increasing awareness of its vision and corporate brand within the community is mentioned.
As of last May, city police had 114 vehicles - everything from the large recreational command centre to the canine unit trucks to a motorcycle. The new cruiser decals had been applied to seven new Dodge Chargers then.
Each police cruiser is on the road 24/7, and runs for approximately 60,000 to 70,000 kilometres each year. They last approximately two years patrolling the streets before being turned over to the community service officers for another few years
With files by Cheryl Browne