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New design for Brookhaven Police Department fleet

Expect to see a gradual change in the look of the Brookhaven Police Department.

Newly-elected Police Chief Kenneth Collins and his crew have created a new design for the department’s vehicles. So far, three vehicles sport the new color and design.

It may take a while for the change to be noticeable. As the gray Ford Tauruses need to be replaced, they’ll be swapped out with sleek, black Ford Explorers, Collins said.

“If the car is still good, we’re going to roll with it,” he said.

He expects to replace at least two or three cars with SUVS each year. With three eight-hour shifts, with only 16 to 20 cars in the fleet, the vehicles run 24 hours a day.

The Explorers are roomier than the Tauruses and cost only about a $1,000 more than the cruisers.

The design was a group effort by Collins, Assistant Chief Chris Case, Command Maj. David Johnson, Capt. Clint Earls, Cpl. Jonathan Alford and Detective Penelope Banks.

They looked to some of the past chiefs of police to pick the color of the cars, choosing the shiny black. It’s something he remembers fondly about former Chief Pap Henderson.

“I remember how proud we used to be when we saw Chief Henderson driving down the road in that vehicle,” Collins said. “Everything that’s been done to this vehicle was out of respect and honor to the people who came before us.”

The design is applied by Select Signs in Brookhaven.

There is a blue line running the length of side of the the vehicle to represent the dedication of police officers. Known as the “Thin Blue Line,” it’s a symbol to commemorate fallen officers and to show support for living officers. It also symbolizes the relationship of law enforcement in the community as the protectors of fellow civilians on the top from criminal elements on the bottom.

Each vehicle will have an oval sticker in the bottom left corner of the back windshield to pay tribute to fallen Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputy William Durr. The deputy, a former BPD officer who died May 27 on a domestic dispute call, is represented by his name and badge numbers — 9 for Brookhaven Police and 22 for Lincoln County. It’s a black sticker with a blue line through it that also says “A Hero Remembered Lives Forever.”

The vehicles will also say “Homeseeker’s Paradise” on each side over the back wheels.

Written on the back of each vehicle will be “In God We Trust.”

“Because everything starts by putting God first, Collins said. “We wanted to show the public that we’re serious about trying to make a positive change in our police department and our town.”

Collins said he is proud of his department.

“We’ve got a great bunch of young men and young women here,” he said. “Smart, intelligent, dedicated and motivate. We’re going to let their talent speak for itself from now on. It’s about us working together with the sheriff’s department and other agencies to make it better for everybody.”