Although the issue proved to be divisive, the Bakersfield City Council voted to approve adding “In God We Trust” decals to city police and fire vehicles at a meeting Wednesday evening.

The issue was debated for about two hours in the City Council Chambers, with 30 public speakers making comments. A total of 19 of those speakers were against adding the decals to city vehicles while 11 were in favor.

Councilmembers Willie Rivera and Andrae Gonzales were the only two “no” votes on the issue, and Councilmember Bruce Freeman was absent.

Both Rivera and Gonzales said they wanted to frame the issue as a debate over city policy not over religion.

“I think it’s clear this decision doesn’t represent everybody in this community and I think this is a problem,” Rivera said, explaining his dissent.

Gonzales said he was a Christian, but still did not support the decals.

Local pastor and Bakersfield Police Department chaplain Angelo Frazier made the initial request to the council to add the nation’s motto to city police and fire vehicles, following in the city of Delano’s footsteps.

Private businesses have offered to pay for adding the decals to city vehicles, making the cost to the taxpayer likely nothing, although the details have yet to be worked out.

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