Pella — The environment in which members of the Pella Police Department work can vary, and Police Chief Robert Bokinsky hopes a new patrol car paint scheme will help keep his officers safe.
The newest police car on patrol now has a black and white paint scheme, versus the known white vehicles with the blue stripe. Bokinsky says studies have shown that vehicles with starkly contrasting colors, such as black and white, are more quickly and easily noticed by other motorists. This will be especially helpful when an officer might have to rush from downtown to respond to an accident on Highway 163.
When parked to deal with the accident, often in the median, due to the lack of shoulders, the paint job and reflective materials should increase officer safety in the 65-mile-per-hour traffic. The reflective material also reflects in several directions, so it can be seen by many drivers. Reflective chevrons are included on the back as well.
Beyond that, Pella is a traditional town, and black-and-white police cars are a standard.
"This is a traditional town, and we thought we would give it a traditional look," Bokinsky said.
With the safety, Bokinsky wants the public to be able to recognize his department's vehicles immediately as police cars. He wants the public to know that they are there, to protect and serve. Bokinsky has already seen this effect, as when he passes drivers, most quickly check to ensure their seatbelts are fastened. Citations are not his primary goal, but they can be effective.
"If we could make all the traffic accidents go away, that would be great," Bokinsky said.
Other changes in the paint scheme include a replica of the department's badge on the side of the car. Bokinsky is proud of the badge and wanted to show it off more.
Three words, "Commitment to Excellence," are also inscribed at the rear of the vehicle. This is an excerpt from the department's new mission statement. Bokinsky wants it to serve as a reminder to the public, as well as his officers, that there should be, and are, high expectations for the department that should be met. He hopes the public will hold his officers to that standard.
The department has a new Chevy Tahoe, with the same paint scheme, that should hit the streets in a few weeks when it is fully equipped. The four-wheel-drive vehicle will be able to hold more equipment for the department and allow officers to respond to any call immediately, regardless of the conditions. Bokinsky says snow removal service in town is excellent, but he wants to be prepared for any contingency, in the event an emergency arises before the Street Department has had time to plow.
Bokinsky intends to have the new paint scheme on all future vehicles purchased. The older cars within the department will keep the traditional white paint scheme.