Baltimore City Police Badges
Baltimore Police Badges
The Official Motto of the Department
Established on November 9, 1880
"Semper Paratus, Semper Fideles, Ever on the Watch"
"EVER READY - EVER FAITHFUL"
"EVER ON THE WATCH"
Badges worn by Baltimore City Police Officers...
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 1812 "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 celebrate our 200th anniversary, officers purchased this badge and wore it for that year only.
From a Baltimore Sun Article dated - 21 October 1851
The Stars – The badge designed to be worn by the city police was yesterday (Monday 20 Oct 1851) mounted for the first time by Messra. Mckinley and Callaway, who is in special attendance at the hall of the Maryland Institute. It consists of the heavily gilded, brightly burnished six-point star, in the center of which is seen a correct representation of the Battle Monument, surrounded by the words “City Police,” and underlined with the date “1797” – the date of our city’s charter; The star is worn on the left the lapel of the coat, and is so conspicuous that he who runs may read.
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 ax 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.
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 represent the police that protects and hold it all together.
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 officer's 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.
4 April 1976 - 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 eagle's 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 Donald D. Pomerleau 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 pick the oval, he lost!
Police Commissioner Pomerleau 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.
1976 - 4 April 1976 - the 5th. Issue badge came along and is the Badge currently worn by Baltimore Police Officers to this day. With exception to the 2nd Issue badge the word, Baltimore did not appear on any other official Police badge. The 5th Issue badge is similar to the 4th Issue "Supervisor's" badge with a new center seal that is the same as worn on the large shoulder patch and considered our official department emblem.
Seeger & Gminder versions of the 3rd Issue Badge
Badge A - In the 1862 Seeger Version the Statue's arm is bent at a wide angle away from her body
The Seeger Die is made from two pieces, and if you look close at the base of the monument you'll find no words or names.
Also, the angle of the monument is a slightly different it almost looks larger and than the Gminder version.
Badge B - In the 1870's Gminder Version the Statue's arm is held at an angle more tight to her body
The Gminder Die was made in one piece, and in you look close you'll find two words, on the left Jacob, and on the right Gminder
The angle of this monument seems smaller, almost as if it is further away
Above it the 4th Issue badge if you look at the badge you'll see in badge #1 the fisherman's side you'll see he is leaning cleanly against the escutcheon, wherein the #2 badge the fisherman appears to be leaning on some sort of box or added ledge This dates the badge, any badge that falls into the group looking like badge #1 was made between 1890 and 1936. - Badge number falls between 1936 and 1976 when they came out with the 5th Issue badge. The ledge was made in 1936 after the mold cracked, and the ledge was added when they made repairs to the mold
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, Badge #1 the figure on the right (The Fisherman) of the coat of arms has his elbow resting cleanly on the top corner point of the escutcheon, whereas on the second die Badge #2, everything is the same with the exception of the fisherman's elbow which appears to be leaning on some sort of box, or added ledge below supporting his arm. That ledge/box was added due to a die or mold break/fracture that occurred in 1936. Also on the upper ranking badges, Sgt on up there was an eagle atop the badge, with a ribbon in his bill that revealed his rank. From 1890-1940's, that eagle was applied separately, after the 1840's the badges have a flatter less detailed eagle.
*Information provided by Police memorabilia collector Steven Rosenstock
Have a Wooden Badge Made
Click the word HERE or the pic above to go to the page
The Maryland Coat of Arms which made it first appearance on the badge on 20 Aug 1886 - below is more information on that coat of arms
The reverse (at right) consists of an escutcheon, or shield, bearing the Calvert and Crossland arms quartered. Above are an earl's coronet and a full-faced helmet. The escutcheon is supported on one side by a farmer and the other a fisherman. It symbolizes Lord Baltimore's two estates: Maryland, and Avalon in Newfoundland. The Calvert motto on the scroll is "Fatti maschii parole femine," which is usually translated " manly deeds, womanly words." The Latin legend on the border (the last verse of Psalms 5 from the Vulgate) is translated "with favor wilt thou compass us as with a shield." The date, 1632, refers to the year the Maryland charter was granted by Charles I, King of England, to Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore. The obverse (left) of the Seal shows Lord Baltimore as a knight in full armor mounted on a charger. The inscription translated is "Cecilius, Absolute Lord of Maryland and Avalon, Baron of Baltimore."
Photos courtesy of Retired Major Robert DiStefano 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 86 years. The new Badge is a multi-color adaptation of the reverse of the Great Seal of Maryland with the official emblem of the department in the center.
~Sword of Honor~”
Commemorating the 200th. ANNIVERSARY
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 152 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 152 made, the #1 going to Commissioner Bishop Robinson.(Actually the office of the Police Commissioner) #152 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 quillon 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 crenelated 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.
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 commemorates 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 of 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 Honor This 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 swordsmiths 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 showpiece 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
1850 CENTERPIECE 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 was 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 Francais Folsom. Chapter X has about twenty pages detailing some of Detective Gault’s cases.
Above is the early issue badge
Below is the later version after the mold had broken and was reinforced. Note the shelf under the fisherman's arm on the right arm
Below is a matched set of wreaths and a badge dating from 1890 through 1915 and afterward. These were assigned to Officer James E. Schmidt of the Northern District. Officer Schmidt was appointed in 1894 and served until 1923. Featured are 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.
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
Above the Wreath style of 1880-1896
Below the Wreath style of 1896-1908
Above is the style of hat device 1908 - Present
Sergeant’s badge from the 1920’s. The earlier construction of these badges had a separately detailed eagle mounted on the top. Note the talons overlapping the top rim of the badge. This denotes an 1890 pattern.
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
Early DETECTIVE Badge with applied number (above)
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.
Photos courtesy of Retired Major Robert DiStefano
Medal of Valor, and the Legion of Merit.
Friday Aug 20, 1886 new badge
New badges for the police captains – today the captains of the police force of the city will appear with new badges. The police board having issued an order to that effect. For some time past, Marshall Frey states, the captains have complained that their old badges were identical with the badges worn by nearly every private detective or watchman in the city. The old badges were simply a star within a circle, with the words “Capt. of police” on the rim. The new badges are much more elaborate and are very handsome. The form is a shield, about 2 ½ inches long and 2 inches wide. Of silver. The Maryland Coat of Arms is and blazoned on the face. An “eye” is engraved over the coat of arms. The word “Capt.” appears below. The new badges were made by Mr. John W. Torsch. Marshall Fray says that the force being a state institution, he thought it appropriate to have placed the Maryland coat of arms upon the badge. He further says that the “eye” is intended to remind the captains that their duty is to be always on the alert.
This is an Obsolete Civil Defense Patrolman Badge for the City of Baltimore. The badge is stamped metal with an Eagle over a shield. The center of the shield has an enameled roundel with the Civil Defense emblem on a blue background. Around this is Patrolman and Baltimore. "BASTIAN BROS/CO/ROCHESTER NY".These badges were intended for police personnel acting under Civil Defense authority in an emergency situation and are a neat Cold War memento.
Courtesy Patrica Driscoll
1920 Park Police Matching Badge and Hat Device
Copyright © 2002 Baltimore City Police History - Ret Det Kenny Driscoll