DURHAM, N.C. (NewsNation Now) — A North Carolina county sheriff’s new squad car has stirred some controversy over its non-traditional, low-profile graphics.
Dubbed the “ghost”— the gray Dodge Charger is the latest addition to the fleet of squad cars for Durham County Sheriff used for community policing and traffic units.
In a Jan. 13 tweet introducing the vehicle, the sheriff’s office said: “W/its low profile graphics you’ll never see it coming, especially at night. Make sure you’re not speeding, wear your seatbelt, and stay sober behind the wheel.”
Some residents in the area are questioning whether the car meets the goals of transparency for a law enforcement agency, according to NewsNation affiliate WNCN.
“Not a big fan of police cars that can’t be visible. I think that police need to be visible. I think their presence needs to be felt,” said Durham resident Josh Toth. “When police cars have the ability to hide like that, it’s more about revenue-generating and less about actual public safety and enforcing the law.”
Others in the Durham area don’t see a problem.
“I think you can kind of see the car because of the whole word ‘sheriff’ that’s on the side of it,” said area local Nancy Candelario-Mendoza.
The “ghost” car costs the same as other patrol units according to a sheriff’s spokesperson. The more subtle colors and design were engineered in hopes of making the car more approachable since it’s primary function will be community policing.
In a follow-up tweet, the sheriff’s office responded to the thousands of retweets and comments:
“We never expected such a large response to this video. Its intent was to be a lighthearted look at a tool our traffic unit uses to keep roads safe but it was taken out of context for some. DCSO values your thoughtful feedback & will continue to be engaged w/the community it serve.”Office of the Sheriff, Durham County, N.C.
“Well, if you’re straight, doing what you’re supposed to do, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about it. That’s the way I feel about it,” said unfazed Durham resident Joyce Freeman.
The sheriff’s office said the “ghost” squad is currently in use, so there are no plans to change the look of the car.