Lisbon Police Department played an April Fools joke Wednesday by posting a photoshopped image of what it claimed was its new Moxie-orange police cruiser on its Facebook page. Lisbon Police Department photo

LISBON — Hundreds of people got a gander at what appeared to be Lisbon Police Department’s new Moxie-orange police cruiser on the department’s Facebook page Wednesday, only to learn it was an April Fool’s joke.

“The cruiser was ordered in August, and it has been all we could do not to let our secret get out before it was built and ready to go,” the post states.

The post drew more than 140 comments and 750 shares by late Thursday morning, according to police Chief Marc Hagan.

“This would actually be really neat,” wrote one commenter. “You wouldn’t miss an officer for sure.”

Others played along.

“I can’t wait to see the new orange police uniforms,” wrote another commenter.

Thursday morning Hagan officially broke the news that the post was a hoax.

Hagan said after Lisbon Fire Department revealed its orange fire truck, he couldn’t go anywhere without someone asking when the town would get its first orange cruiser. Although his answer was always, “never,” the idea for the prank was born. M&H Signs does lettering for the department cruisers and helped with the joke at no cost. They even put a photo of the Moxie man logo on the back of the cruiser wearing a police hat.

“That was over the top,” Hagan said. “I’ve been shaking my head ever since.”

While he didn’t think people would like the orange cruiser, he said : “There seems to be a push for it.”

While Hagan was still laughing about the joke Thursday, “I definitely feel like I may have painted myself into a corner with this one.”

The police department will soon have all black cruisers, one of the traditional colors that signals for the public it is a police vehicle

“As police, we’re trying to portray a professional image and I wouldn’t expect a police officer to be pulling up in an orange cruiser,” Hagan said.

“Our truck is real, not make-believe,” said Lisbon Fire Chief Nate LeClair.

The new truck arrived in February and has been an attraction ever since. People have stopped while driving past the fire station when the truck is parked outside, and run for a better vantage point as it passes by on the road.

While Lisbon firefighters had a longstanding disagreement over whether trucks should be red or lime green, Fire Chief Nate LeClerc said the department decided to begin transitioning its trucks to Moxie orange to create community pride.

“That’s what it is doing is bringing everyone together,” he said.

The town also purchased a plow truck this winter. The cab is painted black with a wide orange stripe down the side and was equipped with a bright orange plow.

If nothing else the April Fool’s joke was a nice distraction from some of the “doom and gloom” in the news about the spread of the coronavirus as people shelter at home.

“It’s definitely been a fun 24 hours,” Hagan said.

Lisbon’s new and first Moxie orange fire truck arrived in late February. Lisbon Fire Department photo

Comments are not available on this story.