Seattle Police officers in the old uniform (left) and newly redesigned uniform (right). 
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Seattle Police officers in the old uniform (left) and newly redesigned uniform (right).
Credit: Courtesy of Seattle Police Department

New Look For Seattle Police: Less Theme Park, More SWAT

The Seattle Police Department is rolling out new looks for its shield, uniforms and police cars. Gone are the “light blue bubble” cars and “theme park” uniforms as the department ushers in a darker, sleeker style.

Cal McAllister, founder of local advertising agency The Wexley School for Girls, told KUOW’s Marcie Sillman on The Record that in a lot of ways it’s an improvement. The uniform retains a confident blue color, but is less busy and decorative.

But is the more SWAT-like appearance a good move for a department that has been critiqued for its use of force?

“That’s where I’m a little conflicted, because I would say that it is not,” McAllister said. “When you have a uniform that makes a brand impression before you're even introduced to that person, I think you have to be a little bit careful. And this is a dark and more intimidating presence on the uniform.”

McAllister gave high marks to the new clean, respectable shield – “the best correction from where they were” – and overall rated the changes with a solid “B.”


One detail that remains the same: uniform buttons. But McAllister said if you’re close enough to notice that the buttons are the same year after year, you might want to reconsider your lifestyle.

Produced for the Web by Kara McDermott.

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