The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Patrol Badges
Badge Photo compliment of Jim Casey
When the current force was originally put into action on September 11th, 1861 they had no uniforms. The only way they were seen apart from your everyday man was by a ribbon they were given to wear around their hats. The ribbon simply said, " METROPOLITAN POLICE".
On the 23rd of September, 1861 , the capitol of the United States was selected as the device for the Patrolman's shields, and the Superintendent was adorned with a shield of guilt or gold, surmounted with an eagle, while for the Sergeants was chosen a silver plate with an eagle and number thereon, (D of C Police)
is a badge that comes out for special events. Usually made by the rank and file and distributed as a Novelty. On occasion they are made for an Anniversary as well. These badges are usually of high quality and attractive to the eye.
CAUTION should be used when spending your hard earned money on a badge. There are some people out there who don't care if you work hard for your money and sell FAKE badges. Before dropping a half a weeks hard earned wages on a badge consult with someone who knows a little bit about them. The badge below is not an issued badge by the MPDC, but if you didn't know this already, you would have no idea, SO BE WEARY WITH THOSE WHO SELL BADGES ON Ebay....
I was just told today by another collector that this guy is selling other Fake traditionals as well, so use caution
November 10th, 2010
FAKE Washington D.C. Traditional Badge on Ebay
We just purchased another small collection of badges.
These badges are available to those who can click the fastest!
We know very little about badges, but we know collectors want them.
This badge meets the eBay guidelines for historical badges.
It does not resemble a modern law enforcement badge.
It is a historical piece that is 75 years old or older or is defunct.
baystateantiques ( 263 )
Item number:260556452827 Item location:Brimfield, MA, United States Ships to:N. and S. America, Europe, Asia, Australia Payments:
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Old Obsolete Metro DC Police LBJ 1965 Badge
CAll sales are final; placing a bid is a legally binding obligation. There are no returns or exchanges. All items are sold as is, where is, with all the faults, imperfections, omissions and errors in the written description and photography. Neither Bay State Antiques nor eBay are responsible for any errors or omissions in the description or photography provided on this web site. Due diligence to verify the condition and description of an item is the sole responsibility of the bidder/buyer prior to placing any bid on this auction.
High bidder will pay an additional $5.00 per item to cover postage.
Insurance is extra.
Any questions please e-mail me directly at
Badges Worn by the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
POLICE BREATS BADGE: There are several theories on how the Police Badge evolved to what it is today, here are a few of them.
A- Some historians speculate that the first police badge ever issued was done so in or about 1845 in London, England where the first police department was established.
B- The fist police badges were made of copper, and many believe that "copper" became a nickname for police officers, and, ultimately, it was shortened to cops
C- The modern police badge can trace it's origin back to the Roman Empire. Roman 'Centurions' (enforcers of Rome's Law within the empire) wore, as a symbol of their power, a small piece of armor known as a 'breastplate.' Over ages this breastplate became smaller in size but the authority of civil law that they represented remains the same.
Birth of the Police Badge
are the badges worn by the Reserve Corps and Specials. These units have been instrumental to the MPDC for decades.
CURRENTLY there are six different catagories of badges for the D.C. Metropolitan Police
there is the issued Police officers badge. This is the badge issued and worn by the patrol force on a daily basis. It is large with a silver finish, yet simple and traditional in character. Few changes have been made to it since 1861, the major one being the manner in which the officers badge number is displayed. they have gone from being stamped, to applied and back to being stamped into the badge.
is the rank badge. For those with the rank of Sergeant and above, or perhaps in a specialty will have this badge. It is much smaller then the Patrol badge and has also had few changes
is what is known as a TRADITIONAL badge. This badge is made every four years when a new President is voted into office. It will display the name of the new president, the vice president, and the date of the inauguration. They vary in style depending on the Chief at the time. On occasion there will be two different sets made. this tradition began in 19__ and has been conducted every election with the exception of 194_ when the WWII was in action. However years later another Metropolitan Policeman named George Wilson was authorized to make a badge for 1941 A limited amount were made and they were of Sterling Silver
is what is called a Traditional STREET BADGE. This badge started in 19__ and is distributed by the rank and file of the Metropolitan Police. With so many agencies helping on Inauguration day is was thoughtful of having a memento made for the working men and women as well. Many departments have taken the opportunity to make their own,but D.C. is the actual Traditional Street Badge
The 1924 Book on the history of the Metropolitan police suggest that this is the first Officer with the agency. Well I don't know about that but given the head piece that he is sporting it is very possible.
Before the badge was issued they were given a cloth strap with the words Metropolitan Police embroided into them. This photo may have been taken after the badge and baton were issued but before the uniform jackets and hats were issued....
Made of a thin metal very light to the carry, with a circular hook type clasp.
This style of badge was very cost effective. The M.PD. would have a barrel full of each number, therefor if a number fell off you could just weld on the replacement number, my favorite...
M.P.D. was concerned with fake badges and in 19?? decided to change over to the cut out style. This started as a good idea but with the international trade doors opening up breast badges soon became a dime a dozen. The badge is realistically a traditional icon that is more representation then actual identity of employment. The Policeman's Identification card is what matters most when identifying ourselves.
Until Law Enforcement decides to get serious about identity theft the badge is more of a keepsake then anything else. Having said that a police officer will always hold their badge as a special piece in their life. To bad the public doesn't see it that way anymore...............
BlackSheep Productions 2009
TO SOME OF US A BADGE IS MORE THEN A PIECE OF METAL
Pete Bignotti is a retired Police Officer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police. Pete served from 1970-72 as a Cadet and as a member of the M.P.D. 1972 to 2001. Pete retired as a Detective and for his entire career he wore the badge # 80. Pete's father Frank J. Bignotti served as a member of the M.P.D. prior from 1955 to 1972, he also wore badge # 80
"I was sworn in right after my dad retired and took over his badge and cap plates. When I was promoted to Detective, I was assigned badge D-80 and never picked it up. Since I never picked up a Det. badge, I never turned in my officer badge. I used to get some strange looks when I was a Detective with my officers badge hanging around my neck at crime scenes. (LOL)"
"My Dads badge is the same one I played with as a small boy and carried for 29 years. My badge was the 3rd type of issued badge. In 1917 the Dept began transitioning the old solid badges to the open number window ones. The first ones of those did not have D. C. on each side of the capitol dome. In 1919 the letters D.C were added(some stamped and some molded) these were worn through 2000.) "
" I am proud to say that for the years that my family had badge 80, it was on the street, not behind a desk. I used that badge until I retired and refused to pick up any Det. badges. MPDC provided me with a gold det badge for retirement purposes.
I placed my dad's hat, and badge 80, near him at his funeral in 1999."
A funny story.
My father told me about an incident that happened when he was rookie. A officer in his precinct was sleeping with a women who he got pregnant. When he met the girl, he introduced himself as Frank Bignotti. When the officer broke it off after he found out she was pregnant, she went to the station Captain and complained that Officer Bignotti getting her pregnant.. The station Captains at that time were like gods, you only saw him when you screwed up. Since the description of the Officer didn't fit my tall and skinny Dad, the Captain had the young lady respond to the station at the shift change between day work and 3-11. He then had all the Officers line up and let the girl walk down the line until she identified the scoundrel.... I never did find out what happened after that, maybe a real shotgun wedding.
When JFK was a Senator, he was a passenger in a car on Foxhall Rd, near Georgetown. My father stopped them for speeding. In the car with JFK, was Hugh O'Brien (Wyatt Earp), the cowboy star from "Sugarfoot"(Will Hutchins, I think) and an unknown female star. Of course my father let them go. Senator Kennedy was campaigning at the time, took his PT 109 tie clasp off of his tie and gave it to my father. I still have the tie clasp, don't remember what happened to the autographs that were obtained at the same time. Too many school show and tells. LOL
THE MAKERS OF
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Badge
The of the makers of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Badges have been Blackinton and Northeast for the regular department issued badges maybe other makers, too( most are not hallmarked).
1st issues were made by Bastian Brothers in Rochester, NY. Again most were not hallmarked.
Inaugurals – Traditional & Street- best of my knowledge all made by Blackinton except for the 1993. that year Bastian brothers made the traditional and the street. traditional was a little smaller than previous ones. The story I heard was that a new chief came in, hated the badge and had Blackinton make the Traditional (so there were two 1993 Traditional).Blackinton finally lost the contract for both street and Traditional in 2009 to Collinson badge co.
On a side note - the 1937 and 1941 contract was given to lamb stamp and seal co in Washington, dc, but they farmed the work out to Blackinton.
Because of world war II, there was no inaugural ceremony in 1945, but a sterling silver commemorative badge was made in 1995 on the 50th anniversary. The badges were made by Blackinton.
In 2005 and 2009 sterling silver Traditionals were struck and given out by the chief to V.I.P.’s
In 2009, Blackinton made a traditional that they gave away to some of their high volume dealers.
If you should happen to know any additional information please send it to my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
This Photo's above shows an 1861-65 White House Sergeant Badge #1, This photo was provided to me by Ken Lucas.
Donations are appreciated and will remain in this collection.
Information and photos are welcome on patrol badges