Called “ghost graphics”, the logos are applied with decals to the patrol car in a color that matches that of the vehicle. A police vehicle marked with ghost graphics can be right on top of someone without that person knowing what it is until it is too late.
“We’re going to use them for interdiction,” said Assistant Police Chief Richard Cantu.
The two Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs that carry canine units are equipped with the graphic. The vehicles also have no exterior emergency lights.
Some motorists might drive right by one of the Beeville Police Department’s Tahoes and never know it is there.
But shine a light on the graphics, and they literally pop out like they were plugged into an electric outlet.
“They’re reflective,” said Police Chief Joe Treviño. But even at night, vehicle headlights might not reflect off the lettering until the lights get close to the patrol car.
Cantu said the idea is not new to Beeville. He drove a white Crown Victoria for a while that had ghost graphics.
The graphics have been used by larger police departments for some time. Smaller departments are beginning to mark their units the same way.
“It’s more of a stealth look,” Cantu said. It gives police units a chance to encounter suspicious vehicles without being identified immediately.
Cantu said he was especially interested in using the look on the department’s canine units because they are the vehicles most commonly used in checking out vehicles officers suspect are carrying illegal narcotics.
When it comes time to make a traffic stop, there is no way a motorist will not recognize the vehicle as a police unit.
Emergency lights are everywhere, Cantu said. They just are not on the top of the vehicle, where someone expects them to be.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.