The new look was chosen by the officers in the department in an anonymous vote. We had five options and this one won pretty easily.Chief Jonathan Murrell, Rincon Police Department
RINCON — The changes that the Rincon Police Department has undergone since Jonathan Murrell became its chief have been mostly subtle or unseen.
Murrell’s department has three new vehicles that are sporting a bold new look. Eventually, its entire fleet will be glistening in black and silver instead of the traditional white, blue and black scheme.
“The new look was chosen by the officers in the department in an anonymous vote,” Murrell said. “We had five options and this one won pretty easily.”
The fresh look is featured on a pair of black Chevrolet pickups and a black Chevrolet Tahoe, a large SUV. “Rincon Police” is emblazed in silver on their doors and tailgates. A swooping silver line is also prominent on the sides, stretching from the bottom of the front doors toward the windows in the rear.
“I got with Edwards Interiors about the decal package,” Murrell said. “It’s the one I liked best, too.”
The tailgate of the new vehicles also sports a prominent message — “In God We Trust.”
Warned that the reference to God might stir controversy in today’s political climate, the chief said, “We like it.”
Murrell, named chief in June after holding the job on an interim basis for nine months, said Rincon Police Department vehicles have looked largely the same since 2009.
“I’m the fourth chief since then,” he said. “We’re just trying to change the image of the department.”
Other physical changes to department since Murrell took command are a bit less prominent. A new sign was recently erected in front of police headquarters at 107 W. 17th St. and the interior of the building boasts fresh coats of paint and new flooring. Those changes give the building a far more professional look.
In addition, an old metal building formerly used for storage now houses the K-9 unit.
The department’s primary change under Murrell’s direction has been his leadership style. He is a proponent of a “team approach” that allows his officers to offer input so that they will “buy in” to department policies and objectives.
Allowing his officers to choose the new look for the vehicles was a reflection of this policy.
Murrell said it will take a few years for all the department’s white vehicles, mostly Dodge Chargers, to be replaced with black ones.
“We’ve got a fairly new fleet,” he said, adding that the Rincon City Council bought a few cars for his department just last year.
Murrell said the Chargers will likely be replaced by pickups and SUVs.
“Car companies are getting away from making sedans,” he said.
The oldest vehicle currently used by the department on a regular basis is a 2013 model.
“We try to take good care of them,” Lt. Daniel Thompson said. “We keep the taxpayers in mind.”