You Don't Like DPD's New Cars? Well, Says the Man in Charge, Everyone Else Does.
So, you don't like the Dallas Police Department's new black-and-whites, hunh? That comes as a shock to the DPD -- especially Lt. Dale Barnard, the department's fleet manager. I spoke with him this morning to find out a little more about the new ride, which rolls out in February. Specifically, I wondered, who designed this sucker and what's he heard by way of reaction?
Turns out, the Friends of Unfair Park's complaints are the first he's heard: "Never received a [negative] comment," Barnard says. "And we've been working this for, oh, I don't know ... We did a department-wide survey two, three years ago, and 80 percent voted for the black-and-white. And we tested blue and black [logos] both with officers, the city manager, all the chiefs and various other people around the department, and overwhelmingly everyone liked the blue the best because it was a way of blending old and new. And we never received a comment about the font.
"We were trying to do something big with the size of the letters," he continues. "We wanted it to be big and bold since so much of the [current] car was a reflective decal, and we tried to keep as much of that as possible."
More of our brief Q&A follows. Hit the sirens.
One thing folks seem to have an issue with is the gradient font used for "Dallas Police." Someone said to me last night that it looks like something they'd use in Plano.
That was done to make it stand out and make it prominent -- something unique to Dallas, something that would have a "wow" factor to it. It also makes it highly reflective at nighttime. ... And it was a way of blending old and new without looking generic. We tested several other decal designs. Several officers said our designs were plain and generic and didn't look fancy enough to be Dallas. As big as we are, we should make a statement, and we looked at various color schemes, and none of them worked. People didn't like black and didn't like solid blue, because it looked too plain Jane.
And, to be clear, there will be lights on top, correct?
There will be lights on top, yes.
What about the "Serving Since 1881"? Why not "Serving Dallas Since 1881"? Or the standard "To Protect and Serve"?
It's on our old cars, but on our old cars it was at the very bottom of the badge. Our badge on the new car says "Police Department." On the old cartoon graphic badges, as I call them, at the very bottom it said "Since 1881." We wanted to make it more prevalent to our statement to the citizens.
When was the last time Dallas had black-and-whites?
The last time was in the late 1950s. Then we went to solid black and stayed that way for nine, 10 years. Then, in the mid-'60s, they went to solid white till the blue cars came in in 1992. Before that, they were solid white with the "D" logo on the door.
How did the city council's Public Safety committee feel about the car?
They were extremely pleased with it.
I guess, in the end, it doesn't much matter what's on the outside, so long as there are officers on the inside.
Well, that is one way of looking at it.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.