NYPD nixing 'Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect' slogan on new patrol cars for crime-focused motto

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department will stop promoting “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” on the exterior of its patrol cars, dropping the three-word motto decades after it was adopted to repair fraying community relations.

Instead, the department is now outfitting all of its new patrol vehicles with a decal that reads: “Fighting Crime, Protecting The Public.”

A police spokesperson said the long-standing “CPR” slogan will be phased out as the department updates its vehicle fleet, with the new crime-focused messaging eventually decorating the rear windows of some 10,000 patrol cars. The spokesperson did not elaborate on what accounted for the change, which was first reported by Gothamist.

The “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” tagline first appeared on the side of patrol cars in 1996, in stacked and italicized red-and-white font, as part of a public relations and training campaign launched under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The effort included sting operations to weed out rude officers and televised public service announcements touting the department’s commitment to a friendlier, less hostile police force. One department poster at the time reportedly read: “Everybody in New York; Black, White, Yellow or Blue Could Use a Little C.P.R.”

While the effort was applauded by some New Yorkers, the motto was also widely mocked and repurposed by police critics. After a white NYPD officer was charged with sodomizing a Black man, Abner Louima, inside a Brooklyn precinct station in 1997, protesters carried signs describing the police as “Criminals, Perverts, Racists.”

The new slogan comes after the department announced last year that it would be updating its classic blue-and-white cruisers for the first time in decades. The exteriors of the new vehicles feature the green-and-white striped NYPD flag and a QR code enabling people to send performance ratings to the department.

Some of the new cars also include a different decal — “Protecting NYC since 1845” — that was unveiled by the previous NYPD commissioner, Keechant Sewell. A police spokesperson did not say if those decals would be replaced by the newer ones.

Though the department has long been associated with “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect,” the NYPD maintains a separate official motto: “Fidelis Ad Mortem,” a Latin phrase meaning “Faithful Unto Death.”