The former Macon Police Department and the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office have been one entity since Jan. 1, but their patrol vehicles still have a bit of a split personality.
Macon police vehicles are still on the road with Bibb deputies behind the wheel.
As the departments merged, realigning officers and revamping uniforms were a higher priority than redesigning the vehicles.
This week, work began to strip off the old police and sheriff’s designs and replace them with a new, stream-lined logo.
Bibb County’s old green stripes are being phased out in favor of the word “sheriff” in big gold letters across the doors and “Bibb County” in black underneath.
The back fenders say “Serving Macon-Bibb” and a small sheriff’s badge emblem flanks the front fenders.
“The sheriff is trying to keep a basic design, nothing fancy,” said Lt. Sean DeFoe, a public information officer for the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office. “To me and others I’ve talked to, it’s a cleaner look. You know it’s a Bibb County sheriff’s car.”
The county allocated $60,000 for the project, but has managed to save $15,000.
“We’re using inmate labor to take the stripes off. That’s going to save taxpayers a lot of money,” DeFoe said.
More than 160 old police vehicles will be redesigned in this first wave of new graphics.
Inmates are stripping off the gold and black “Macon Police” letters and matching stripes and removing the old “serve and protect” motto off the fenders.
Sgt. Steve Draper spent 26 years on the Macon police force before being deputized this year.
He is one of the first officers to have his patrol car redesigned.
“I like ’em,” Draper said. “It’s simple, to the point. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. There shouldn’t be a lot of clutter.”
To be prudent and thrifty, the sheriff’s department will not upgrade all its vehicles.
“There’s no sense in striping up a car if it’s going to go down in a year,” DeFoe said.
Some older vehicles will keep the old design until they are phased out he said.
The vehicle maintenance department is considering the age, mileage and repair record for each vehicle before spending the money to standardize the look of the entire fleet.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.