Santa Rosa police aim to close the gaps with a new lowrider patrol car in memory of the late officer Marylou Armer
A public unveiling of the Santa Rosa Police Department’s first-ever lowrider patrol car on Saturday was an opportunity for the community to come together with law enforcement and honor a fallen officer. It was also a time to build relationships and celebrate culture.
Detective Marylou Armer, the first California peace officer to die of complications from COVID-19, was remembered with a mural smeared on the trunk of the 2011 Crown Victoria that had been converted into a lowrider.
The culture surrounding lowriders, cars customized with lowered suspension to drive as slowly as possible, began in the mid to late 1940s in Los Angeles. The vehicles were popular with young Mexican Americans.
The patrol car, named The Marylou, was revealed to gasps and applause during the ceremony Saturday outside Santa Rosa City Hall, sponsored by the city’s police department and office of community engagement. This marked the beginning of an effort to bridge the gaps between police and community through future events and programs.
“It’s our community coming together, especially after a pandemic, and celebrating one of our own,” said Lalo Barragan of Windsor, who knew Armer privately and professionally. He praised the city’s efforts to become more inclusive.
The event included a lowrider car show, the blessing of the Pomo community, performances by the Youth Mariachi band of the Luther Burbank Center and the Ballet-Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl, and a screening of the trailer for The Marylou Lowrider Patrol project. Because. The ceremony also included speakers from the Sonoma County Lowrider Council as well as local and state elected officials. People were then waiting for their chance to take selfies with The Marylou.
Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro thanked the council of lowriders for their hard work while addressing the crowd of about 500 people.
“It really means a lot to us,” he told the crowd. “I see this as an ongoing opportunity to collaborate with the community and build relationships. It fits with everything we do.
Jose “Mico” Quirez of the lowrider council saw another lowrider project on YouTube and suggested the idea to Navarro in August 2020.
“This project for our community is a big deal,” Quirez said at the event. “Cruising on Mendocino has not always been allowed. Now the city is celebrating our culture with us and for that I say thank you.
Lisa Marin, 56, of Larkfield, remembers walking down Santa Rosa’s Main Street in the ’70s, “but you could only do it twice and, boom, you had to get out of there.”
Marin slipped through the hordes of people trying to get a peak at Marylou. ” I’m really impressed. I really like it,” she said.
“This project was a labor of love and shared passion for cars, artwork and culture,” Community Engagement Manager Magali Telles said ahead of the event on the city’s website. .
The project was inspired by similar projects in Stockton, Oakland and San Diego. Construction of the car was completed by various auto clubs and solo racers in Sonoma County’s lowrider community. Enterprise Rental Cars donated a stereo as the body and paint was done by The Body Shop of Santa Rosa.
The cost of the patrol car transformation was estimated at $17,000, funded by the Office of Community Engagement, which was formed following the outcry, protests and demands in Santa Rosa and across the country following the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
Future workshops in various Santa Rosa neighborhoods will showcase lowriding “as a form of healing from generational trauma, as well as a strategy for social cohesion and a way to connect with our Indigenous roots,” the city said in a statement. Press release.
“I think North Bay is the definition of the freedom to express who you are as an individual. It’s a beautiful community, we celebrate community and we also celebrate diversity,” Barragan said. “There’s always been a deeper level of understanding and a deeper level of community that I’ve seen grow here.”
Editor Bryce Martin contributed to this story.
You can reach editor Kathleen Coates at [email protected] or 707-521-5209.