This image provided by the Roswell Police Dept. shows the...

This image provided by the Roswell Police Dept. shows the new uniform patch. Famous for being the spot where a spacecraft purported crashed in 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, has become a mecca for people fascinated by extraterrestrial phenomenon. So it's only fitting that the city’s police force has uniform patches that are out of this world. The new patch was unveiled on Friday, March 8, 2024. Credit: AP

Famous for being the spot where a spacecraft purportedly crashed in 1947, Roswell, New Mexico, has become a mecca for people fascinated by extraterrestrial phenomenon. So it's only fitting that the city’s police force has uniform patches that are out of this world.

Unveiled on Friday, the new patches feature the official city logo of a flying saucer with a classic beam radiating downward to form the letter “R." The words “Protect and Serve Those That Land Here” form a circle and are separated by two tiny alien faces with large eyes.

Police Chief Lance Bateman said the department recently ordered an initial batch of 500, with the first ones being handed out just this week. The transition to the new patch is expected to be complete later this year.

Bateman said there had been discussions for a while about retiring the previous patch, which had served the department for more than 30 years. When he took office last summer, that was among the feedback he was getting from rank and file, so he pushed forward with the idea.

Employees submitted about a dozen designs, with most including some reference to UFOs and aliens. Top brass whittled that down to four finalists, and employees voted for the winner — designed by Support Services Sgt. Trong Nguyen — in January.

“It was a clear favorite,” the chief told The Associated Press during a phone interview Friday.

The new patch also incorporates New Mexico's official state symbol, which is based on the ancient Zia Pueblo symbol of the sun.

The unveiling of the patch came on the same day that the federal government sought to dispel claims that have captivated public attention for decades. A Pentagon study released Friday stated there was no evidence of aliens or extraterrestrial intelligence, a conclusion consistent with past U.S. government efforts to assess claims.

For those in Roswell, it has become a way of life, as thousands flock there every year to visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center, or to catch the annual UFO festival. Aliens and UFOs are plastered all over business marquees around town.

“At some point you kind of embrace it,” said Bateman, who was born and raised in Roswell.

Aside from the new patch just being cool, the chief said he hopes it will foster more relationships with the community. There are now more resource officers within Roswell's public schools, and Bateman said he and fellow officers often try to greet students on their way to school in the morning.

“They've done an awesome job with the community,” Bateman said of the police force. “I think we’re only getting better, and this will, I think, only enhance it. It opens conversations for the citizens and us.”

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