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Port: Let's make the cop cars pink

If we don't like pink, I'm open to another color. Like baby blue. Or a nice aquamarine color. We can workshop it. Whatever we come up with, it should serve as a reminder that law enforcement should be about safety, both for the cops and for the public, and not some action-movie fantasy.

An all-black SUV has "State Trooper" written on it in black.
A "less conspicuous" patrol vehicle is being deployed by the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
Contributed / North Dakota Highway Patrol
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MINOT, N.D. — North Dakota's law enforcement vehicles keep getting darker, and I think it's because the cops just want to look cool.

I arrive at that conclusion because their other explanations for this trend are as nonsensical as they are contradictory.

According to a recent report , "the North Dakota Highway Patrol is rolling out a new patrol vehicle that will be less noticeable to approaching drivers." This squad car is all black, with interior lights and barely there markings. It's a stealth vehicle designed to "make it more difficult for drivers to identify the vehicle."

But just a few years ago, the North Dakota Highway Patrol was justifying a shift in the color of their cars from white to black with the explanation that it was for safety. Black is more visible, they argued at the time.

"Black vehicles will enhance the safety of the motoring public as well our officers, because they are easier to see during white-out conditions,” NDHP Colonel Mike Gerhart said at the time .

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That was a bogus argument. You know what happens a lot more often than "white-out conditions?" Night time. And what's more visible at night, the color white or the color black?

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I don't think I need to answer that for you. The impact vehicle color has on road safety is inconclusive , at best. At worst, per some studies, black is actually somewhat more dangerous than more visible colors like white .

The safety argument was baloney, and even the Highway Patrol is tacitly admitting it because now they're saying their ultra-dark vehicles are black so they'll be less visible.

So much for officer safety I guess? Or maybe it never really was about safety.

Maybe it was just about cool-looking cars. And, I'll admit it, they do look cool. But that brings us to another problem. Our cops have become a bit too enamored with how they look. From their high-and-tight military-style haircuts and demeanor to their military equipment ( look at this ridiculous thing ), we have a problem with officers who think they're in the military and not civilian law enforcement.

Some of them forget that they're patrolling Fargo and Bismarck, not Fallujah and Baghdad.

In light of this, I have a proposal to make: Let's make the cop cars pink.

It's very visible, for one thing, so it's good for officer safety. Back the blue, you guys. Let's keep our cops safe.

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Also, and with apologies to the folks at Mary Kay cosmetics , pink cars don't look the least bit cool. Driving around in a pink squad car, maybe while wearing a pink uniform, might remind the men and women of law enforcement that they aren't in a video game or television drama.

If we don't like pink, I'm open to another color. Like baby blue. Or a nice aquamarine color. We can workshop it.

Whatever we come up with, it should serve as a reminder that law enforcement should be about safety, both for the cops and for the public, and not some action-movie fantasy.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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