Baltimore City Police Badges

Baltimore Police Badges

Motto of the Department

Established in 1888

"EVER ON THE WATCH"

Badges worn by Baltimore City Police Officers...

1851-Present

 

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1ST. ISSUE   

October 20, 1851, the first known metallic badge worn by Baltimore Police Officers - a large six pointed star with Baltimore's official city seal, The War of 1813 "Battle Monument" over the year 1797 (the year Baltimore City was incorporated) in an oval center. Within this oval center, across the top and sides are the words "City Police". Reissued in 1997 to celepbrate our 200th anniversary, officers purchased this badge and wore it for that year only.

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 2nd. ISSUE

May 1, 1860, a new  "Metropolitan Police" force under a Board of Police  Commissioner's (BOC), state-appointed civilians, signaled the retirement of the "Corporation Police force" A new badge was authorized. This large oval badge with Roman "fasces", and an axe bound by wooden rods, as its central symbol. Across the top and sides of the "fasces" is a banner with the words "Baltimore Police" in raised letters.

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 3rd. ISSUE
June 22, 1862, a newly formed Police force appeared in a completely new uniform with a new series of badges. With the same center section of the first badge, and  returning the designation of "City Police" surrounded by twenty small points encircled by a narrow rim.  NOTE: The 20 pointer was replaced by an order from the Commissioner. he said, "too many were in the hands of the citizens."  (Stated in an article in the paper from 1890.) This badge had meaning, as in Baltimore from 1846 o 1887 we had 20 Wards a point for every Ward, and a thin band around to represnt the police that protect and hold it all together.

  

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4th. ISSUE

May 27, 1890, worn with a new uniform by all members of the force. This is a shield-shaped badge with the word "POLICE" across the top, Maryland seal in the center and a ribbon with the officers number across the bottom. Sergeant's and above had an eagle on top of the shield. Lieutenants and above wore a badge gold in color. The eagle on the badges had a ribbon in its beak denoting the rank of the officer.

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5th. ISSUE    

Badge currently     worn by Baltimore Police Officers. With exception to the Series 2 badge the     word Baltimore did not appear on any official Police badges. The Series 5     badge is similar to the Series 4 supervisors badge with a new center seal     that is the same as worn on the patch. Police Officers and supervisors wear     the same badge with the ribbon in the eagles beak denoting the rank.     Lieutenant's and above wear the same badge that is gold in color.

  

The 5th  issue badge that is currently worn by BCPD was designed by Robert DiStefano, now a retired BPD Major. He made the     drawings that were submitted to the committee for approval, and     subsequently to the manufacturer.

  

Police  Commissioner Tom Keyes was given two designs that he had drawn, one was     more of an OVAL BADGE, and the one that he personally liked. He designed the     current badge to be somewhat "different" than the classic "Eagle on Shield" design.

  

He says he purposely made the eagle's wings too high in proportion, and squared off,     sort of boxy. He wanted the committee to chose the oval, he lost!

  

Police Commissioner Keyes like the "traditional" "Eagle on Shield." That's how we lost a really nice looking, more modern badge.    He says that the chosen design grew on him!

  

He also worked on the design team that did the Departmental Sword. Along with Sergeant Bill Stone, he worked on the etchings for the blade. He was in Colonel Karner's office when he met with representatives of Wilkinson Sword. He has sword # 4.

  

Photos courtesy of  Retired Major Robert DiStefanobadge 1858i i Photos Courtesy of Ret. Det. Leo Smith

New Badges for City Officers
City police will adopt a new badge this Sunday, replacing the old one (right) that they have worn for 82 years. The new Badge is a multicolor adaptation of the reverse of the Great Seal of Maryland with the official emblem of the department in the center. 

 

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~Sword of Honor~”  

Commemorating the 200th. ANNIVERSARY   

of the  

BALTIMORE CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT

  

These swords were made available in 1984 to members of the department. The sword is 34” in length. Made by the Wilkinson Sword Company in England. The blade is engraved with all the important events of the Baltimore Police Department and that of Baltimore from 1634 thru the end of 1976. The blade also has engraved the 5 badges that the department has used since their beginning.  

The sword pictured here is #58 of only 151 made, it was originally owned by Thomas B. Badlik then apparently sold to Sgt. Thomas Bradley of the Traffic Division, Motorcycle Section who attended his Final Roll Call. After this Bill Hackley obtained it and had it in his personal collection until his passing  

The original price of the sword was $278.00 There were 151 made, the #1 going to Commissioner Bishop Robinson.(Actually the office of the Police Commissioner) #151 went to the Baltimore Police Dept. Museum.  

British Ceremonial Imports Ltd.  

The Baltimore Police Sword is manufactured from a 10th Century  

Knightly model of which there were a large number of styles befitting his station.  

The 10th Century sword was a straight and not a very long-bladed weapon, with a simple cross shaped quillons and a relatively short grip terminated by a bell-shaped or round pommel.  

Towards the 13th Century, the blade became longer and the grip larger. While the pommel assumed a great variety of shapes ranging from a simple ball, a Norman-like helmet to a disc, a mushroom-shape, a semi-circle or a crenallated boss. *  

*BOSS - A circular prominence; a knob or projecting ornament.

  

Swords similar to the Baltimore Police Sword with cross shaped quillons are found everywhere in the West, used by fighting men from the Northern European countries to the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Sahara, where the     TOVAREGS still nowadays use a similar type.

  

* * * * * * * * *  * * * *

  

WILKINSON

  

SWORD

  

Sole Distributor

  

Baltimore Police Department 200th Anniversary Commemorative Sword of Honor With our permission, Wilkinson Sword Limited of London, England, U. K. will be honored to manufacture, in a single world-wide limited edition, made available only to members of the Baltimore Police Department, and under no circumstances made available to the general public a limited edition commemorate the history of the Baltimore Police Department. The sword, which is of intrinsic value in terms of sentiment and in line with the tradition of one of the oldest uniform services, is symbolic of authority. It is also symbolic with our tradition. It occupies a significant place in the statue of justice, where the sword is held in one hand and the weighing scales in the other.

  

The world renowned sword smiths of Wilkinson Sword Limited of London, England, will hand forge the Baltimore Police Department 200th Anniversary Commemorative Sword of HonorThis modern presentation sword will be approximately 30 inches in length.- Its blade will be hardened-and tempered. The cross piece, shell guard and pommel will be heavily plated in 18 ct. gold. The grip will be made of Rosewood and will be hand French polished to a mirror finish. On the sword's blade, the sword smiths will make historical etchings of the Baltimore Police Department, its artifacts directly relating to the history of same. The limited edition will be individually numbered, commencing with number 001 which will be presented to the Commissioner of Police. To accompany the sword will be a numbered certificate of Authenticity. The names and addresses of each recipient will be entered into the registers of British Ceremonial imports Limited for all time. The Baltimore Police Department 200th. Anniversary Commemorative.  

Sword of Honor will be a legacy of history, which can be passed along to future generations of families, to serve as a reminder of     the recipient's participation in the Baltimore Police Department. The recipient will also take pride in owning one of the finest examples of craftsmanship ever created; the artistry-in-steel, a rare and unusual show piece which can be exhibited and enjoyed.  

The sword will be made available exclusively through a designated official of the Baltimore Police Department, on a first come first served basis. Prompt action in ordering will result in securing the lowest registry number. Anyone interested in purchasing a sword, please contact the Director, Property Division, 396-2575. An example sword made for the Marine Corps by Wilkinson Sword is on display in the Museum.  This information was from the original brochure for the BPD Commemorative Sword furnished by Retired Major Robert DeStefano

  

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  1850 CENTER PIECE OF THE STAR.

  

NOTE: This has a pin & catch on the reverse.   

There is wear to this badge however there were never any star points applied due to the lack of solder on the reverse.

*Rumor says this may have preceded the star as the first badge. Only a few of these exist.

Actual Baltimore Police badge worn by Detective Albert Gault,, who was a Baltimore City Policeman and Detective from 1866, when he joined the force, until his death in 1900. Detective Gault was a celebrated Detective who was involved in numerous cases during his tenure. The book, entitled "Our police: a history of the Baltimore force from the first watchman to the latest     appointee", by De Francias Folsom. Chapter X has about twenty pages detailing some of Detective Gault’s cases.  

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Badges made from  1890-1936 and 1936-1940's. The 1890's have a difference in the die, after 1936, there was die change which is quite minute. On the first die, the figure on the right of the coat of arms has his elbow resting on the top corner point. on the second die, everything is the same except the elbow is resting on the point with a small ledge below to support his arm. that was added due to a die break. From 1890-1940's, the eagle on the top applied separately. the badges after that have a flatter, less detailed eagle.   

*Information provided by Police memorabilia collector Steven Rosenstock

     4th issue badge 408      

Above is the early issue badge

  Below is the later version after the mold had broken and was reinforced.Note the shelf under the man's arm on the right

later issue
Below is a matched set of wreaths and a badge dating from 1890 through 1915 and afterwards. These were assigned to Officer James E. Schmidt of the Northern District. Officer Schmidt was appointed in 1894 and served until 1923.
Featured is his original badge# 682, the 1880 type wreath# 682, and the 1896 wreath# 682 and the 1915 hat device# 682 that is still in use today.

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  Above is the badge being issued around 1890

  

Badges were made by the Irvin Hahn Company, Baltimore,Maryland
Still in Business to this day suppliers of our awards, Medal of Honor and Valor

  

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  Above the Wreath style of 1880-1896

  

Below the Wreath style of 1896-1915

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  Above is the style of hat device 1915 - Present

  

   sergeant 1920s      

  

Sergeant’s badge from the 1920’s. The earlier construction of these badges had a separate detailed eagle mounted on the top. Note the talons overlapping the top rim of the badge. This denotes an 1890 pattern.

  

     early sgt badge    

  

     retired lieut 1920s-2    

  

A very rare early 1900’s period Lieutenant’s gold badge. This early style of badge had the detailed eagle separately applied to the top. Notice the overhanging talons grabbing the edge. The lettering is hard enamel and stone ground to make the lettering flush with the surface. This was an option Hahn Company offered with their badge construction. This was the most expensive way to     produce the badge

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       Early DETECTIVE Badge with applied number (above)

  1st issue patch

     Original shoulder patch of the 1950's

  

Another interesting set including the very early issue badge #187 and the matching hat devices used from 1880 through the present day.

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187-4  

      Photos courtesy of Retired Major Robert DiStefano
Medal of Valor, and the Legion of Merit.

 

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Please contact Det. Ret. Kenny Driscoll if you have any pictures of you or your family members and wish them remembered here on this tribute site to Honor the fine men and women who have served with Honor and Distinction at the Baltimore Police Department. 

Anyone with information, photographs, memorabilia, or other "Baltimore City Police" items can contact Ret. Det. Kenny Driscoll at   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  follow us on Twitter @BaltoPoliceHist or like us on Facebook or mail pics to 8138 Dundalk Ave. Baltimore Md. 21222