The timing was right for the U.S. Capitol Police to launch a new look for their patrol cars, as the agency began replacing its entire fleet of 201 patrol vehicles.

New vehicles entering the fleet will feature an updated graphic that better matches the agency's color scheme. The entire fleet will be replaced within five years.

"The agency's badge has remained the focus of the new design," Fleet Manager Marcelino Santos tells POLICE Magazine. "A darker blue was incorporated to more closely align with the traditional dark blue color of the police officers' uniforms."

A primary dark-blue stripe flows across the length of the vehicle, bordered by a slim gold stripe. Bold uppercase lettering of "POLICE" and "United States Capitol" run across the side panels.

Strategically placed vehicle numbers, aerial markings, and the agency's Web site and phone number have also been added. Night reflective materials enhance operational safety.

The official patch and American flag also appear prominently in a design that has been entered into a national contest for law enforcement cruiser design.

The U.S. Capitol Police, who have protected and served since 1828, began shifting their fleet management strategy in 2010. Instead of owning the vehicles outright, the agency leases them from the General Services Administration's fleet leasing program.

The U.S. Capitol Police's Vehicle Maintenance Division launched the redesign because "the old design became somewhat cluttered," according to the agency. A local vendor developed three design concepts, which were presented to patrol officers and command staff for feedback.

The agency is retiring a fleet of 2004 and 2007 Chevy Impala Police cruisers and 2008 Ford Crown Vic Police Interceptors. Ford Crown Vics from 2010 and 2011 model years will replace three-fourths of the fleet. The agency will also replace its 56 SUVs.

The U.S. Capitol Police chose Ford CVPIs in the year the automaker is phasing out its popular car, because the larger sedan allows the agency to repurpose its K-9 cages.

By Paul Clinton

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