Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood will allow deputies and civilian staff to place “In God We Trust” decals on their vehicles in another victory for advocates of the national motto.
Recently the city councils of Bakersfield and Delano chose to place the decals on police vehicles, while Bakersfield also chose to place the decals on fire vehicles.
Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Angela Monroe said individual employees would be allowed to decide whether or not to place the decals on their vehicles.
Sheriff’s deputies are assigned specific vehicles that they drive every day, meaning a decal placed on one vehicle will only reflect the desires of that officer.
“It’s absolutely huge,” said local pastor Angelo Frazier, one of the main forces behind the push to add decals on local law enforcement vehicles. “It’s going to be a good thing for the community. I’m excited for it.”
Fraizer first proposed adding “In God We Trust” to Bakersfield police and fire vehicles in late May. He said he had wanted to also press county officials to add the decals as well, but chose to make the proposal to the city first.
But with Youngblood giving the OK for the decals without a formal proposal, the road seems clear for sheriff’s deputies to start displaying them on their vehicles.
Monroe said individual employees would be responsible for paying for the decals themselves. The change in policy is not expected to impact county coffers.
With both Delano, Bakersfield and now the Sheriff’s Office allowing “In God We Trust” decals on vehicles, the movement appears to be spreading throughout the county.
On Tuesday, the Shafter City Council is scheduled to consider approving the decals, and Frazier said Ridgecrest was also interested in a change in policy to put the national motto on the vehicles of its police force.
“Everybody’s following us now, it seems like,” Frazier said. “It’s kind of got some momentum.”
While advocates say the decals promote patriotism and reflect the values of the country’s founding fathers, many have spoken out in opposition of putting “In God We Trust” on vehicles.
Critics, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, say the decals violate the spirit of the separation of church and state and are not inclusive of those who do not believe in a Christian god.