Not to worry, those snazzy new police cars you’ve seen around town aren’t careless expenditures in a tough budget year. Rather, they’re the old Ford Crown Victorias cars with new decals on them, says Deputy Chief Carl Leidy.

Only two cars-out of the village’s fleet of 25 marked cars-have been switched to the new design. Eventually the village plans to switch every car, along with any other marked vehicles, to the new emblem, Leidy said.

The police department surveyed its officers, along with the village board and staff, to help decide on the design. The new decal features a wealth of blue and just a small strip of green. It also adds the police department’s website and a star logo, designating it a police car, Leidy said.

The design was pulled from ones on other neighboring town’s police cars, Leidy said. Some have compared the new Oak Park squad cars to Riverside’s.

The redesign is done “in-house” at Oak Park’s new public works facility. Adding the decal to a new car costs about $4 more than adding the old decal to a fresh vehicle did. The process involves a stencil and a vinyl decal, similar to a magnet, that seals permanently.

Leidy said officers have responded favorably to the new design.

It’s difficult to say when the designs will completely be in place. The village wants to add them when cars need regular repairs, rather than removing them from the street “just for the sake of dressing them up.”

The last time the village changed its squad car designs was in 2000, when they shifted from a mostly orange decal, Leidy said.

-Marty Stempniak

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