Law enforcement badges are a standard in the uniform of most officers, whether they are marshals, secret agents, or state troopers. However, these shiny “shields” – as badges are often referred to – are more than just a means of verifying whether someone is an actual officer or an impersonator. Let us find out more about them, shall we?

What A Badge Is

The first thing we should know about is what exactly a badge is. Considered an accessory, it is either presented or worn/displayed, and has a variety of uses, the most popular of which is for identification. A badge is usually given to or worn by someone as a symbol of authority, employment, or affiliation with an organization. It can also signify accomplishment.

Badges are made from a variety of materials – including plastic, metal, textile, and leather. These are fastened to clothing (the method for which depends on the badge’s material).

A Short History Of Badges

Badges became popular during the Middle Ages as jewelry worn by individuals to signify allegiance or support for a political figure. Where this is the case, the badge is called a livery badge. It is from this specific type that the badges worn by our law enforcement officials trace their origin. However, while in the past a livery badge indicates one’s service to a particular person or family, today badges worn by the authorities signify their membership to a law enforcement agency.


What Law Enforcement Badges Mean

Because there are no rules as regards the appearance of a badge, there are more than a handful of styles we can see today. But let’s not think for a second that the style of a badge is just for aesthetic purposes. Authorities make it a point to design their badge in such a way that it becomes symbolic of the agency it represents, from the shape of the plate to its details. The shield-shaped plate that is characteristic of most badges, for instance, is symbolic of the duties and responsibilities of law enforcers. It signifies their role as protector of the people and keeper of the peace. And with regard to the detail, often badges carry the symbol of the agency’s or department’s jurisdiction.

What Law Enforcement Badges Can Tell Us

Law Enforcement BadgesThere is a handful of information we can glean from the badge of an officer which can be useful particularly if we are being apprehended. More often than not, an officer’s badge can provide us with the following data: his or her rank, area of jurisdiction, badge number, and even his or her name. Taking note of these details can protect us, as with these the identity of the officer we encountered can be quickly and easily known and verified. This is especially useful if we want to file a complaint against an officer whom we believe is abusing his authority one way or another. Also, knowing about law enforcement badges can likewise help us protect ourselves from impersonators who prey on unsuspecting individuals.