Jeannette, Pennsylvania Mayor Curtis Antoniak wants the city’s police vehicles to send a message, one that sets the tone for the community.
Antoniak recently led the charge to put new decals on five of the city’s marked police cruisers that read “In God We Trust,” a move inspired by emblems he saw on police vehicles in other departments, he said.
“It is our country’s motto,” Antoniak told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m very proud of our country.”
The city council unanimously approved the idea last week and a local sign company, Fejes Signs, is now working on the design, which is expected to be reflective. Antoniak told the Tribune-Review he’ll review the design before it’s finalized.
Police Chief Shannon Binda forwarded comment to Antoniak, who shrugged off those who might criticize the new emblems.
“I feel it’s appropriate,” he said. “Some people don’t, but I do.”
City Clerk Michelle Langdon told the Tribune-Review the design is “going to be rather small, round emblem” but officials “haven’t gotten a proof yet.”
“In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. currency in 1864 and Congress required the phrase printed on all U.S. money in 1957, the year after it became the national motto. It’s also the motto of Florida.
In recent years, municipalities, local police departments, schools and other institutions have moved to display “In God We Trust” more prominently, most recently in Kentucky where lawmakers this month approved House Bill 46 and delivered it to Gov. Matt Bevin.
It’s unclear whether Bevin will sign the bill, opposed by the ACLU, that would require all public elementary and secondary schools to display the national motto in a central and visible location starting in the 2019-20 school year, the Associated Press reports.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Brandon Reed, believes the motto will help to remind students about what’s most important, and he points to “In God We Trust” displayed in the legislature.
The ACLU argues “In God We Trust” is a “distraction.”
“This bill distracts school officials from fulfilling their core mission – ensuring that our children receive the top-notch education they deserve,” according to the ACLU Kentucky website. “Legislator comments in the media regarding this bill send a thinly veiled message that only students who believe in God are welcome in our public schools.”
In Jeannette, locals offered mixed reactions to the new emblems on Facebook, though most seemed to support the idea.
“Great job Curt!” Bob Watkins posted. “We need more God in this world at this point in time.”
“When trying to fix problems you have to start somewhere,” Lisa Hinkelman added. “I love this and hope to see it elsewhere.”
“I see those on the police cars somewhere down south … can’t remember,” Ty Daniels wrote. “But I know that I DO have a ‘safer’ feeling inside when I see them.”