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Sheriff 'OK' with adding In God We Trust decals to KCSO vehicles

Will leave the decision up to individual deputies, employees
Posted at 4:30 PM, Jun 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-18 03:41:03-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The adding of the United States' national motto on municipal vehicles has been gaining traction in various local cities -- from Delano to Bakersfield, Shafter and, perhaps soon, Kern County itself.

Last week, Angelo Frazier, pastor at RiverLakes Community Church, said he would like to see "In God We Trust" decals added to Kern County Sheriff's vehicles now that several other communities are already doing the same.

On Monday, Sheriff Donny Youngblood said he would be happy to add a decal to his assigned vehicle, but he wouldn't make any of his employees do it unless they wanted to.

"These are all adults putting their lives on the line," he told 23ABC News. "They have the absolute right to have it on there or not. I'm OK either way."

The sheriff said that for all intents and purposes, the vehicles belong to the employees they're assigned to and that those employees are responsible for the vehicles. He added that he would prefer any decal be removable, in case the car is reassigned later.

He also said that the department will not pay for the stickers. That will also be up to the individual employees to pay for.

In Bakersfield -- where the city council recently approved adding the decals to Bakersfield Police cars -- the decals are expected to be paid for by non-profit In God We Trust America, run by councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan.

While the sheriff said he has the authority to require or deny the decals, he thought it was best to leave the decision up to individual deputies and civilian employees.

However, he said he will not support any other modifications or additions. This is as far as he's willing to allow the discussion to go.

"We're not going to have clown cars going down the streets," Youngblood said when asked if he would be OK with a deputy adding a Buddhist symbol instead. "This is as far as we're going to go with decals, we're not advertising anything."

In the meantime, the Shafter City Council is expected Tuesday to make a decision on adding decals to their police vehicles as well.