The Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Office is the most recent law enforcement agency to place the national motto, “In God We Trust” on the back of police vehicles.
Cape Girardeau County officials are now among other police departments in Missouri to begin putting the motto on their cruisers. Other counties include Madison, Stone, and Lawrence Counties.
The decals were donated by a vendor at the Missouri Sheriff’s Conference without a cost to the taxpayers, officials say.
The Missouri Sherriff’s Association approved the placement patrol cars in a vote during a recent conference in Branson, Missouri, reports KFVS12.
The decision drew controversy in Stone County. Fox 2 Now reported that Nathan Belden wrote: “I’m not offended that these decals exist. IT’S INAPPROPRIATE TO HAVE THEM ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. No voting required, it’s a violation of church and state. You are showing preference to a religion, how is this such a mystery? Any individual, for profit, non profit or any other organization can do as they please. Not a sheriff in any county can decide with or without approval.”
Sheriff DeLay of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office does not agree that the motto shows a preference to religion. DeLay said, “It was most recently reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court on a challenge as to where it could be placed.”
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that government recognition of God does not constitute the establishment of religion and the phrase is constitutional.
“I am simply a proud American and patriot. I am proud to display our flag and national motto. I am proud to live in the greatest country in the world. If that offends you, so be it. I’m tired of people bashing our country and not standing up for it,” DeLay said.
He added that the cost is about $7-10 per decal and that two are placed on each vehicle. About 15-20 cars will get the decals in his county, reports Lawrence County Record.
The moves come following the controversy in June surrounding Green County, Missouri, Sheriff Jim Arnott’s placement of the motto on the back of about 100 cruisers.
Arnott defended the move, saying to the Springfield News-Leader, “People ask me why I did it. The reason is because I like it.”
Photo Credit: Stone County Sheriff’s Office