Inmates working at a Vermont correctional unit's print shop managed to sneak a prank image of a pig into a state police crest that is emblazoned on police cars, and 30 cruisers sported the design for the last year, officials said on Thursday.
The official crest depicts a spotted cow against a background of snowy mountains, but the inmates' version featured one of the cow's spots shaped like a pig in an apparent reference to the pejorative word for police, state police spokeswoman Stephanie Dasaro said.
"It dishonors the memory of those past and present members, especially for those who have lost their lives in the line of duty," Dasaro said.
Vermont contracts with correctional facilities employing prisoners to make some print products, including the cruiser decals. Police said someone who works at the print shop changed the emblem from the officially sanctioned design.
A police employee noticed the prank on Wednesday and reported it. Police said the 60 16-inch door decals would be removed as soon as it was practical.
The "source and timing" of the change to the design is under investigation, Dasaro said.
"While some may find humor in the decal modifications, the joke unfortunately comes at the expense of the taxpayers," Police Major Bill Sheets said in a statement.
(Editing By Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)