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Comments (3) Posted 11.24.13 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

Graphics of Authority


In order to get to work each day, I have to drive through a small township that is well known as a speed trap. Locals who get nabbed should know better, but the cops collar plenty of others who they say exceed the limit by 10mph. The reputation of this town is known mainly as that — a speed trap. To top it off, most of the police cars in this city are black, angry looking vehicles with no hubcaps. It's the persona the city wishes to exhibit, I guess. There is some good news: one of their best patrolmen, a man who wrote a lifetime average of 420 tickets a month, just retired. For a city in need of some good public relations, the look of their police cars does little to say “Officer Friendly” works here.

Police cars of the past used to display little more than a star on the side of the vehicle. The usual look for the car was black, with reversed white door panels and the official city emblem or star was emblazoned on the side. Today, the look of police cars range from friendly and approachable "community peacekeepers" to intimidating “SWAT-style enforcers,” to low profile “stealth” vehicles.

This week I explored the police car graphics from just one company, ranging from quiet "stealthy" looks to bold super swooshes, colors and mostly san serif italicized fonts. There is the occasional serif font, the rogue Brush Script, and so far no examples of Comic Sans (but still looking). Bearing in mind that fast moving emergency vehicles need to be noticed, and seen — here is a cross section of what I found in police car graphics — or should I say, grafix. In a shoppe… even.


Graphics of Authority
A look back: Vintage police car, 1950s

Graphics of Authority
A look back: Vintage police car, 1950s

Graphics of Authority
Stealth Vehicle, Leavenworth, KS

Graphics of Authority
Crown Victoria, Pelham, AL

Graphics of Authority
Crown Victoria, Birmingham, AL

Graphics of Authority
Crown Victoria, West Milwaukee, WI

Graphics of Authority
Chevy Caprice, Tigerton, WI

Graphics of Authority
Chevy Caprice, Wentzville, MO

Graphics of Authority
Ford Taurus Interceptor, Kenai, AK

Graphics of Authority
Ford Taurus Interceptor, Centennial Lakes, MN

Graphics of Authority
Ford Taurus Interceptor, Stillwater, MN

Graphics of Authority
Dodge Charger, Fairfax, VA

Graphics of Authority
Dodge Charger, Isanti, MN

Graphics of Authority
Chevy Impala, Belgrade, MT

Graphics of Authority
Stealth Vehicle, Bonneau, SC

Graphics of Authority
Ford Explorer Interceptor, East Orange, NJ

Graphics of Authority
Ford Explorer Interceptor, Hudson, WI

Graphics of Authority
Ford Explorer Interceptor, West St. Paul, MN

Graphics of Authority
Ford Explorer Interceptor, Port Authority, Pittsburgh

Graphics of Authority
SUV K-9 Police Car, Fridley, MN

Graphics of Authority
SUV Police Car, Holland, MI

Graphics of Authority
Specialty Police Car, DARE Program, Beltrami County, MI
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Comments (3)   |   JUMP TO MOST RECENT COMMENT >>

That port authority SUV is incorrectly labeled as Philadelphia, should be Pittsburgh.

11.24.13 at 11:56

Meanwhile in Brazil we've got the Caveirão (something like "big skelleton). Here: http://www.transportabrasil.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/caveirao1.jpg?cd0a15 and Here: http://walkingdeadbr.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/caveirao.jpg

11.24.13 at 12:10

Marcos, the article's images were depicting police cruisers; nearly every city in the U.S. has their own armored, such as these:

http://www.tampabay.com/resources/images/dti/rendered/2011/08/b4s_armored082311_187885a_8col.jpg

http://www.wbrz.com/images/news/2012-08/tampapolice.jpg

12.06.13 at 07:31


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.
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