Cleveland: Does police emblem hide image of a pig?

Michael K McIntyre, Plain Dealer Columnist
Copyright 2006 Plain Dealer Publishing Co.

If a Cleveland police cruiser rolls past and you shout, "Hey Pig," you will soon be wearing a pair of silver bracelets, courtesy of the men in blue.

But you would have a defense:

"I wasn't talking about you, officer. I'm talking about the car!"

Have you ever noticed it? The emblem on the side of Cleveland police cruisers carries the visage of a pig.

Greg Reese, a former Cleveland Heights resident who moved last year to Madison, Wis., immortalized the "subliminal pig" in a short movie - a music video really - he made for an Independent Film Channel Internet contest. Best films get on the cable network.

Reese's film is rated in the middle of the pack of about 600 films, but the network told him it wants to use the short at the Sundance Film Festival to advertise its Web site, medialab.ifc.com.

Reese, who said a friend pointed out the pig to him last year, surmised in the film that a pot-smoking peacenik won a logo contest, singing: "He drew his shield, and he hid a pig. And the city I serve, put it on my rig."

Larry Rutherford, former head of the Police Department's traffic division and now president of the Cleveland Police Museum, said the logo was designed by the city's sign shop in the late 1960s or early 1970s, after the racial riots that rocked Hough.

He has never noticed the pig and says there's no way someone put it there on purpose.

"That's ridiculous," he said.

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