Sheriff's old 'Shamu' cars to get new look

The Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office unveiled a new look for its patrol cars on Friday.

The new silver-on-blue design replaces the award-winning "Shamu" look that has been featured on patrol cars for more than 17 years.

The new design will be phased in over the next three years as patrol cars are replaced, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw said.

The move is a cost-cutting measure, Hinshaw said. The new design should save the county $70,000 a year, with a savings of more than $262,000 by the time the entire fleet is replaced by 2012.

The "Shamu" white-over-blue design, which has been in use since the early 1990s, won a national award for best patrol vehicle design in 1994.

But the Sheriff's Office spends $4,000 per vehicle for the "Shamu" paint scheme and decal package, and the new design will only cost about $500 per vehicle.

The Sheriff's Office replaces 20 patrol cars a year.