Student design for KU police cars a winner in magazine’s contest

Property and violent crimes on Kansas University’s campus continued a steady decline in 2011, according to an annual report released by KU Friday.

When George Ressler decided to come up with a new look for the new Dodge Chargers at the Kansas University Office of Public Safety, he went for something serious and a little intimidating, but friendly and approachable, too.

“Kind of like the Jayhawk,” said Ressler, a 2011 KU design graduate who is now working for a design research firm in Columbus, Ohio.

The design, which used elements from Ressler and his fellow student Andrew Meier, of Olathe, won the colleges and universities category in Law and Order Magazine’s 2012 International Police Vehicle Design Contest.

KU Public Safety has used the design for its fleet since August 2011. Ralph Oliver, chief of KU Public Safety, said the department approached Jeremy Shellhorn, associate professor of design, in 2011 and asked if his students would be interested in submitting some design proposals.

“The designs we saw kind of were a cross between traditional black and white and NASCAR,” said Oliver.

The eventual design features the official KU crimson and blue colors and a Jayhawk on each side.

The contest’s judges apparently liked the effect. “The blue swatch highlights the car nicely,” read a comment from the judges in the magazine. “It is different than the traditional black-and-white, adding the blue and red outline.”

The contest featured 17 other entries in the colleges and universities category.

Ressler said that he appreciated the recognition.

“I really just wanted it to look fresh and represent the brand, which is KU,” he said.

“It’s way overdone just to be black and white and boring.”