VIROQUA Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – A decal is being removed from the newest Viroqua police department squad car.

Viroqua mayor Karen Mischel says the department designed a new vehicle after one was totaled in a crash and included an emblem of a black and white American flag with a blue line.

It’s an image associated with the support of police officers…but it has been taken as a less positive message by some.

Mischel said, “I started to get people reaching out to me, questioning whether that is appropriate to have the thin blue line because of the way that symbol has been co-opted and now used in many very racist and inappropriate ways.”

Because of the concerns, conversations between police chief Rick Niedfeldt, Mayor Mischel, and the city’s diversity board lead to the department removing the image from the vehicle.

Fox’s Alex Loroff said “Even though the conversation around the thin blue line decal started at city hall, mayor Mischel assures that does not mean the city shows a lack of support for the police department,”

“We did just complete a new, over two-million-dollar facility. We, last year, approved adding an additional full-time officer…and I think that’s what makes it so hard, even in this discussion, to hear police officers feel like this puts them in a hard place, and the fact that I pushed this conversation to happen feels like they’re not being supported, but if you look at what the city has done in the last couple years, I would say that our voting record would show otherwise” said Mischel.

Chief Niedfeldt could not be reached for comment, but said in part in a statement, quote: “Our office recognizes the different emotions that this symbol has brought to members of our community, and we want to make sure we are following our mission statement and core values as a department.”

Mischel hopes the police department’s decision creates a stronger relationship between officers and members of the community.

In Viroqua, Alex Loroff, first news at nine.