Saturday, April 23, 2011

On Badges

There was a discussion at The Firing Line forum about badges. One of the posters was asking about a CCW badge he had seen for sale and asked if it was a good idea.

Short answer? Bad idea, horribly bad idea.

As a long serving, long suffering cop, I can tell you that a badge is just jewelry. In and of itself, it means nothing. Your commission card is in your pocket, or should be at all times. However, wearing a badge makes you a target for lots of well-meaning folks. It magically confers unlimited knowledge upon the wearer.

I work a lot of public events in uniform and people ask me all manner of weird questions, because I'm a cop and I'm supposed to know everything. I try to help, but some questions just can't be answered. So, you smile and be nice to the folks. Honestly, guys, I don't know when the next bus will run, or why they haven't fixed the traffic light near your office (two recent examples).

Once in a while, I find myself doing things that didn't come with the assignment. Like last week, I was working one event, when a person came from another event, across the street, because she saw me working. A kid was missing, and I'm not going to let that happen. I went with her and we scoured her event until we found the errant kid. She didn't know me from Adam, but because I was wearing a badge, I was the guy she walked across the street to ask for help.

Folks don't read badges, they see badges. Most folks can't tell whether I work for the city, the county, or the state. The uniforms are different colors, the badges are different shapes, but most folks just don't differentiate between the various agencies. We're cops. Plain and simple. It amazes me when folks ask about another cop, normally someone who wrote them a ticket, and they ask me about it. They have no idea which agency the guy (or gal) works for, they don't remember the color of the uniform, or the shape of the badge, or the markings on the car. We're generic cops and expected to know what/who/the incident they're talking about.

You want to wear a badge? I like this one that one of my readers sent to me. I understand that they're easily available on the internet.

Y'all be careful out there.


Old NFO said...

The LAST thing I'd want to wear is something that calls more attention to me... but that's just me.

J said...

Pawpaw, I've said it before and I'll say it again--YOU are one of the most important people in Rapides Parish.