Port Townsend police unveil first new badges in decades
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Officer Nate Holmes holds a badge formerly worn by Port Townsend Police Department officers, left, next to the custom-made badge personnel have started wearing in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the department. -- Port Townsend Police Department photo

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — After 125 years of policing Port Townsend and its environs, the police department has newly designed badges.

The badges, which officers have begun wearing, and new patches that will be sewn onto uniforms over the next few months, reflect the officers’ pride in their occupation and a connection to the community, said Police Chief Conner Daily.

“The badge is a symbol of the service we provide and what we do,” Daily said. “It’s a reminder of what we do for the community and the role that we play.”

The badges and patches have an increased significance to those on the force since the officers had input in their design and execution, Daily said.

The old badge, in use for decades, is of a type and design used by many agencies across the country.

The new design, which depicts Port Townsend City Hall, is unique.

Also unlike the generic badges, the new shields are custom-crafted for each officer by featuring individual badge numbers.

Daily encouraged the redesign project from the beginning, emphasizing that no money was in the budget for what is mostly a cosmetic change.

This wasn’t a deterrent as officers expressed willingness to subsidize the project themselves, each kicking in the $75 needed to cover costs.

Daily said police officers keep every badge they have ever worn as a keepsake.

He has kept his own badges since he first began as a patrol officer in Albuquerque, N.M.

Daily said when officers leave a department, they often purchase their badges as keepsakes, which won’t be necessary in Port Townsend because they already own them.

“My old badges are a visual representative of what I did, and I am the only one who ever wore that badge,” he said.

Daily said the department has not decided how to handle the badges for officers who join the force in the future — whether they will be assessed $75 for their own custom badge.

The badges feature the Roman numeral CXXV — 125 — representing the anniversary of the department in 2013.

Officers received silver badges with gold highlights, while supervisors wear gold badges with silver highlights.

Officer Nate Holmes took the lead on the project but all the officers had the ability to weigh in on the design.

Homes’ mission was to keep it simple.

The custom-made badges depict a three-dimensional image of City Hall as it existed when construction was completed in February 1892.

City Hall fills the center of the shield-shaped badge, and the steep towering roof of the building stands tall against a reflective polished metal backdrop.

The vaulted roof and third floor were removed and replaced with a flat roof after suffering storm damage in 1945.

On the old patches, the large red brick building, a representation of City Hall, was frequently mistaken for the county courthouse, and the yellow lettering used for the department name was difficult to read.

Holmes then used the schooner Adventuress, a symbol of Port Townsend, as a model, and during a morning shift sketched the vessel silhouetted against the rising sun.

The sunrise was too much of a distraction, so Holmes set the scene at night.

Patches are collector’s items and are often traded among departments.

In Port Townsend, several cases of badges from other locations are displayed on the police station walls.

Daily expects this to continue, but for the time being the patches are only in use by officers and will not be supplied to anyone outside of the department.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 08. 2013 6:47PM
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