St. Cloud State University’s Public Safety vehicles have been informed by the St. Cloud Police department that their security vehicles’ coloring is not in compliance with the Minnesota state law.
The St. Cloud Police department received complaints from residents in late April about a security vehicle at the Islamic Center of St. Cloud looking too similar to St. Cloud’s police cars.
“Upon looking into it and looking at one of the statutes that Minnesota has on what security vehicles are supposed to look like, we found that several different places with security were not in compliance with that state statute,” Assistant St. Cloud Police Chief Jeffrey Oxton said.
The Minnesota statute says that all law enforcement vehicles must be mostly blue, brown, green, black, white, maroon or gold.
The statue goes on to say that security vehicles can be any color of their choosing except the ones that are specified for law enforcement cars, and St. Cloud’s public safety vehicles are mostly black, white and red.
“I was told that we were out of compliance with how our vehicles looked color-wise, and it was kind of an eye-opener to me,” Director of SCSU Public Safety Kevin Whitlock said. “We were totally opposite of what St. Cloud Police Squads looked like, but I certainly understand.”
In fact, St. Cloud’s public Safety department redesigned their security cars around five years ago to what they currently look like.
Although it will be troublesome to have to change the coloring of all the vehicles, Whitlock said he’s glad he knows what the law is now, but he thought the lettering on the side of the cars would help distinguish between Public Safety and St. Cloud Police.
“When I got the information from Assistant Chief Oxton, it was certainly beneficial, because now I know what we need to look at for color of our vehicles,” Whitlock said. “I guess I kind of figured that some of the graphics would kind of help to alleviate that, but it’s the predominant color is how it’s described.”
Other organizations in violation of this law include CentraCare Health, the Islamic Center of St. Cloud, and the Crossroads center. The violators of the law have 60 days from when they were caught to change the colors of their security vehicles, but money could be a factor for some of the organizations.
“We understand that there could be some cost to this but again all that we are asking is that they come into compliance with state statute,” Oxton said. “I would say that everybody that we’ve talked to has been understanding of the situation as a whole as well.”
St. Cloud Public Safety plans on changing the color of their vehicles soon, and they are looking into changing the color to gray or granite.
“We understand [the issue], let’s work through this, it’s gonna take some time, it can’t happen tomorrow, but we will do what we need to do to become compliant,” Whitlock said.