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In Fairmont: Police redesign patches

Claudia Bleess, daughter of police officer Jaime Bleess, was presented with a recognition award and a shadow box for her work designing the new patch.

The Fairmont Police Department will roll out a new uniform patch beginning April 1 and transitioning into May.

The patch will not only be applied to uniforms but eventually be seen on new squad car designs. Police Chief Mike Hunter discussed why it was important to update the patch, designed by Claudia Bleess.

“Way back in 2000, our department was looking at doing some updates for the 100 year anniversary for the police department in 2001,” he said. “So we talked about new squad car designs, new patches and new badges. Things changed in our department at that time so we didn’t get the updates with the patches and badges at that time.

“In 2019, we developed a thing called the 2020 project at one of our meetings, which entails some short- and long-term goal setting our officers came up with for our department. We have a new squad car design coming out, we have new badges that were updated this year, but one of the most significant things we had was the development of our new Fairmont police patch.

“It’s something that professionally represents the uniqueness of our community and we wear it on our shoulders very proudly.”

Hunter said he initially worked with an embroidery company, but difficulties arose when trying to capture a design unique to Fairmont. The desire was to have something that incorporated certain elements that represented both the department and the community. Fortunately, officer Jaime Bleess mentioned the project to his daughter Claudia, who is a marketing and graphic design major at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“My dad sent me a few of the designs they were working with and I agree that nothing was personal to Fairmont,” she said. “It was very generic, and I thought I could take it farther because I’ve lived in Fairmont almost my whole life, and my dad has been working with this police department as long as I can remember.

“I’m really looking to find a job in marketing or advertisement, but I appreciate it when I can tie in some art design. This was a really good experience for me in a professional sense, but I’m glad I got to help in a more personal way too.”

When asked about any challenges she faced in the design process, Bleess said most of her issues arose when it came to color schemes and sizes.

“We were trying to get everything to match with what the police officers have to wear, like the flag patch and badges,” she said. “Sizing was also a little difficult, and we never met about this once in person, it was all over email and text messages. So there was never any face to face, which was a little difficult in nailing down which parts we wanted to change or keep the same.”

“Somehow over the years, our original patch got lightened in color and it got smaller,” Hunter said. “So right now, the city is using the phrase City of Lakes instead of Chain of Lakes, and the original has the outdated abbreviation for Minnesota. So those are some of the things we wanted to see incorporated to capture the uniqueness of Fairmont, and I think what Claudia produced for us definitely captured that.”

Hunter said all the officers were happy with the finished product, and are looking forward to getting it on their uniforms as soon as possible.

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