Police departments throughout Western Pennsylvania have been switching from more colorful designs to simple, classic, black-and-white vehicles — a throwback to designs popular in the 1950s and ’60s, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Standard cars blend in. They’re not as noticeable as black and white cars,” said Allegheny Township Police Chief John Fontaine. “Plus, black and white is a nostalgic thing. It’s a traditional police car look. It’s also safer, the cars stick out so people know police vehicles are coming,” he said about the black cars which features the word “police” in bold black letters and the township’s police shield on it’s white doors.
The science behind black-and-white police cars is simple, said Dr. David A. Rosenbloom, an optometrist. “Nothing is more contrasting than black on white or white on black,” Rosenbloom said. “Anything else would be more subdued.” Other police chiefs use a different strategy. Leechburg Police Chief Mike Diebold says nothing stands out more than his department’s “star car.” “When you see it, you definitely know it’s a Leechburg police car,” he said of the black car that features a plethora of blue stars and a red bar that says “Leechburg” in yellow lettering on its doors. “When we had it designed, we went to different designers and tried to find something that would really stand out during the day and night.”