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Ask the Chief: Traditional squad cars enhance law enforcement

Red Wing Police Department has completed the switch to black-and-white squad cars. The primary reason is one of enhanced prevention/proactive law enforcement that these traditional vehicles bring, Chief Roger Pohlman said. The transition took place over several years as the white squads reached their intended performance. Photo courtesy of Red Wing Police Department

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: I like the black-and-white squad cars. Has Red Wing PD completed its transition to these squads? And why was it done?

A: Thank you for asking about our squad cars and yes the Red Wing Police Department has completed the transition from white squads, to the black-and-white. The transition to black-and-white squads is primarily one of prevention/proactive law enforcement. Black-and-white squad cars are readily identified as police vehicles throughout the United States and therefore have an unconscious effect on individual behavior. Motorist readily slow down upon seeing a black-and-white vehicle, since this is the ultimate goal is traffic safety, we prefer this act of presence over writing a ticket.

The symbolism behind our squad car markings also carries a message and serves as a reminder of our service to our citizens. Vehicles are numbered to allow for identification and fleet maintenance tracking, the number is readily visible to the side and rear of the squad. The city of Red Wing logo is up front on the doors, as it is the brand that identifies our city. Looking at the wing logo, officers are reminded that this represents the community we serve, the smallest part of the wing, (on the bottom) represents municipal government and school district that serves our community. The center portion of the wing is a little larger and represents the businesses and manufacturers that contribute to our community and the top/largest part of the wing represents the citizens/residents that we serve. All three parts are vital and contribute to the community and is the city brand/logo.

"Police" is listed over "Red Wing" as this is a symbol of protecting the rights of our citizens and the quality of life they deserve. The shadowing/border of red around "Police" provides a connection to our community and reminds us that we operate within the guidelines and laws (boundaries) established by our legal bodies (Council and Legislature). Also, "Red Wing" is in the traditional Helvetica font, which is used on all city of Red Wing vehicles.

The United States flag is visible from both sides and is present to remind us that we are part of a larger system, responsible to protect the constitutional rights of all our community members and that we serve and preserve the quality of life/freedoms that the flag represents.

Emergency 911 replaces dial/call, as technology is constantly changing the way community members call for assistance and in an emergency use 911.

Police vehicle markings (marked squad cars) are also identified in Minnesota Statute 169.98, Police, Patrol or Security Guard Vehicle. Subd. 1, states that municipal police department vehicles shall be predominantly blue, brown, green, black, or white. This statute also states that the marked police vehicles will display the identity of the governmental unit operating the vehicle "shall be displayed on both front door panels and the rear of the vehicle." The identity may be in the form of a shield or emblem, or may be the word "police," "sheriff" ... .


1. Red Wing Police Department New Squad Car Graphic fact sheet.

2. Minnesota Statute 169.98, Police, Patrol or Security Guard Vehicle. Located on line at: