How did an image of a pig — the infamous ’60s-era epithet by protesters for police officers — wind up on a decal used on as many as 30 Vermont State Police cruisers?
State officials Thursday pointed to the failure of the quality assurance office within the Vermont Correctional Industries Print Shop in St. Albans to detect a prisoner-artist’s addition made four years ago to the traditional state police logo. A spot on the shoulder of the cow in the state emblem was modified into a pig.
An investigation has begun into how the computer program was improperly modified to insert the image, Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said.
Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn told the Burlington Free Press Thursday that he became aware of the alteration earlier in the day and has asked Pallito for an explanation.
The story about the pig on the state police emblem was first reported in a copyrighted story on the Burlington Free Press website Thursday afternoon.
State officials attempted to strike a balance between concern over the situation and acknowledgement of the humor involved.
State Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, D-Windsor, said he expects people to study the state police cruisers more carefully now.
“It’s going to be ‘Where’s Porky?’ instead of ‘Where’s Waldo?’” said Campbell, who was a police officer in Florida before he became a lawyer.
Major William Sheets, executive officer for the Vermont State Police, said he expects his department also will be more vigilant to inspect ordered items when they arrive.
“It is fair to say the quality control will be improved at the Corrections Department and at the Vermont State Police,” Sheets said.
Pallito said initial indications are that a computer program at the Northwest State Correctional Facility was modified in 2008. In 2009, an order for the 16-inch decals was sent to state police.
He said the corrections employee, who was not named, inspects print work before it leaves the St. Albans prison. He said the person accepting delivery for state police also failed to detect the change.
The real flag:
And what they got: