HIBBING — Earlier this month, the Hibbing Police Department took to Facebook and revealed three top selections in its Patch Contest.

Police Chief Steve Estey says the citizens have until 3 p.m. Thursday, July 17, to submit their votes online or through the mail for what would become the latest shoulder patch in three decades.

There is a link posted on the police department’s Facebook page and citizens without computer access can mail in a vote identifying their names so the department does not have the same person vote multiple times. Mail votes to the Hibbing Police Department Attn: Patch Contest at 1810 12th Ave. E.

In an email, Estey wrote that “the public input for the patch contest has been very well received with over 100 submitted.” The pouring in of submissions come two months after the chief said that his officers are excited about asking citizens to design new patches for them to wear on their uniforms. Previously, he discussed the matter with the Hibbing City Council and the Hibbing Kiwanis Club, which helped him organize the patch contest.

“Our patch is outdated and we’re looking for a newer, updated look, and wanted to get the community involved with designing it,” Estey told the Hibbing Daily Tribune in March.

The current patch showcases a traditional Iron Range mining scene featuring a brown earth beneath a light blue sky. The phrases “Police Hibbing” and “Minnesota’s Largest City” surround the image in a bright yellow border.

Estey asked that citizens follow certain guidelines when submitting options for new patches, including:

• Patch size is approximately 3.5 inches X 4.5 inches.

• Patch is sewn onto a dark navy uniform, so reference that when choosing color selections.

• The design can be anywhere from one or multiple colors.

• The design can be in any format you choose, from pencil, color pencil to digital design. Example designs will be created by the patch company for final proof.

There are prizes for the top three designers: First place, $300; second place, $150; and third place, $50.

Switching to a new patch design is the latest of the chief’s attempts to humanize his officers and bond with the community. In April, Estey and his department welcomed more than 500 people at the spaghetti and meatball K-9 officer fundraiser. Earlier this month, he made it a point to introduce two new officers at a city council meeting — the first event of its kind in recent memory. He has also been quick to issue public statements on local police incidents and held a newly established Coffee with a Cop event.

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