Panama City Sheriff Hopes To Positively Portray Police With Bumper Stickers

| by Mackenzie Fleming

Bumper stickers featuring the nation’s motto, “In God We Trust,” have recently appeared on patrol cars in Panama City, Florida. Since deciding to place the stickers on each of the agency’s marked patrol vehicles the last week, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen has received praise and approval of the community.

Last Thursday, McKeithen surprised his deputies with the small stickers to send a big message, My Panhandle reported.

“I show up in the parking lot with stickers and started putting them on the cars,” McKeithen said. 

He said he chose the motto for its general accessibility and ability to be loosely interpreted, according to Panama City News Herald. 

“It can be interpreted in many ways,” he said. “Just like the ACLU can be interpreted to mean ‘All Christians Love U.’”

The sheriff announced the plan for BCSO last week via social media. The motto also appears on the officer’s badges and so far, the sheriff says so one has opposed the additions to the agency’s vehicles.

“Why not if I’m going to be a leader, be a leader and take a chance, go outside the box and think about things and hopefully make our county proud of our law enforcement unlike some places in our world that’re not,” he said according to My Panhandle. 

The stickers had been donated by a local business, McKeithen included.

Overwhelming support followed his announcement, however, there were some who raised concern with the decision.  The issue of the separation of church and state and the exclusion of certain individuals that comes with the motto was expressed by officials with Florida’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), according to Panama City News Herald. 

Instead, ACLU officials proposed the idea that BCSO use a more inclusive motto and the standard law enforcement slogan, “To protect and serve.”

McKeithen responded that he made the decision to use the stickers reading, “In God We Trust,” for the reason of inclusiveness. McKeithen said the message the bumper stickers are intended to convey is the principles and moral values the local law enforcement holds. He included that the message also serves as a response to the recent negative views of police nationwide, Panama City News Herald reported.Source: Panama City News Herald, My Panhandle

Photo credit: Panama City News Herald