Badge and Patch History
The badge of the SJPD has traditionally been a seven-point star. Some of the early badges dating back to the late 1800’s were five, six, and even a few seven-point stars. There were a few exceptions one such example is the early 1900’s detective badges that had an “eagle-top” shield style. Some of the early Chiefs and command rank badges were special designs and may have been hand made by local jewelers. The traditional SJPD Police Officer’s badge from the 1900’s to 1976 was a smooth background seven-point star that read “SAN JOSE POLICE” in black enamel and had an assigned number, 1-3 digits long in the center, and were reissued as members left the department. During the same era Sergeants and Traffic Officers wore a silver seven-point star with detailed leafing and/or scrolling and Command Officers badges were similar, but with gold finishes. Most of the early badges were made of sterling silver, and 10k gold. Some of the badges, including all of the early Auxiliary, Reserve, or also called “Special Police” badges were made from chrome, tin, and nickel, primarily due to the need to preserve certain metals for the war efforts.
The badge company “Irvine and Jenkins” made most of the early San Jose Police badges. In 1976 the department changed to a four-digit number system and at the same time changed the badge style to the current version. The badge contract was also given to “Ed Jones Badge Co.” The current style badge still kept the seven-point star but added a rank ribbon, detailed leafing and blue enamel for the text on the badges. As for rank, command staff still use a gold colored badge and Sergeants and Officers are issued a silver colored badge. Badge numbers were now permanently assigned to Officers. The first badge number started with 1000, which was assigned to then-Chief of Police, Joseph D. McNamara. The numbers were then assigned in ascending numerical order by seniority in rank, beginning with the highest ranks. Now if an Officer resigns, is promoted, or retires their badge number is retired as well.
In the Mid 1980’s the Department’s badge contract was awarded to “Sun Badge Co.” who still holds the contract. With each badge company change came a slight variation on the look of the badge. Department members are allowed to privately purchase their own badge and today you can find new Officers wearing sterling silver, chrome and gold plated badges made by Irvine and Jenkins, Ed Jones, and even Blackington Badge Co.
In 1999 the San Jose Police Department celebrated its 150th Anniversary. For this special occasion an anniversary badge and patch were designed and worn for the anniversary year. The badge and patch were designed by Jarrod J. Nunes and the badges were produced by the Sun Badge Co. This badge included the same size text content found on the current badge yet combined it with the styling of a pre-1976 smooth style badge. This meant that the badge, besides having a smooth background, would also have a larger font on the lettering and be in black enamel. In addition a top ribbon was added that displayed the years “1849-1999” along with “150 years.” The patch for the anniversary year incorporated the years “1849-1999” to the current style design. As of January 1st, 2000, this badge was no longer authorized to be worn on duty. A non-sworn version of the badge was designed as well. The nonsworn badge was an “eagle-top” shield with a miniaturized version of the sworn badge in the center. It too commemorated the Department’s sesquicentennial with the years “1849-1999” on an attached ribbon.
The seven points on the badge represent the seven core values of the Department: Truth, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, Tolerance, Brotherhood. The San Jose Police Department badge will continue to be a recognized symbol of professionalism, dedication, and service, while it is worn by the men and women who serve and protect “America’s Safest Large City”.
The SJPD patch was designed in approximately 1956 to 1957. Prior to this the only personnel who wore a patch were the Traffic Officers. Their patch was a generic black felt circle with the words “Traffic Officer”, or “Police Traffic” and usually contained a wheel with an arrow or a wheel with wings in the center. Regular sworn personnel did not wear any shoulder patch until 1957. The San Jose Police patch has remained virtually unchanged since its original conception. Any slight variations in the patch over the years can be attributed to the patch being made by different manufacturers. The SJPD patch is blue with yellow writing and contains the city seal in the center of a seven-point star. The seal is a bushel of wheat with a grape and prune vine underneath. The significance of this was that County of Santa Clara was the largest wheat-producing county in the US in the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s. The City of San Jose, which is the largest city in Santa Clara County, was also a large producer of grapes and prunes during that same time era.
Obsolete Badges and Patches
1: Chief Ray Blackmore’s presentation badge. Designed and built by jeweler Gus Millet, the badge’s center is set with a 1-carat diamond, surrounded by 20 smaller diamonds. The entire badge is made of solid 14-carat gold. After seven years as chief, department members and personal friends presented Chief Blackmore with the badge in 1954. Courtesy Chuck Blackmore.
2: Chief John Newton Black’s Presentation Badge. Adorned with an unpolished ruby in the center and surrounded by a unique blue enamel aura, Chief Black’s badge is among the most unusual badges of its time. The retirement ribbon was added in 1944. Courtesy of the John Proctor Collection.
3: Chief John Newton Black’s “everyday” badge. This eagle-topped shield was manufactured in the mid 1920’s.
4: Unknown chief’s badge circa the late 19th century.
1: Captain of Detectives badge worn by Ray Blackmore during his tenure as head of the detective bureau until his promotion to chief of police in 1947.
2: Captain of Detectives Badge utilized from the 1930’s-50’s.
3: Inspector of Operations badge worn by Don Demers Sr. This position existed in the 1950’s- early 60’s and would be similar to today’s Bureau of Administration Deputy Chief position. This office was responsible for policy, personnel, and statistics.
4: Detective Sergeant badge worn by some detectives from approximately the 1920’s-1940’s. Courtesy Mike Miceli.
5: Captain of Police badge, Utilized from approximately 1910-1940.
6: Standard Sergeant badge, early issue, worn from the 1920’s until the departmental badge was redesigned and standardized in 1976. Courtesy Mike Miceli.
1: Sergeants Badge, later issue. Note the addition of the badge number. Badge number 77 was issued to the Department’s first woman sergeant in 1963. Courtesy Jarrod Nunes.
2: Gold presentation Sergeant badge. Courtesy John Proctor Collection.
3: Traffic Officers badge worn by officers during the 1940’s –1950’s. Courtesy Walter Gist Collection.
4: Soft Cap emblem worn by motor officers from the 1920’s into the 1950’s. Motor officers of this era worn soft caps, not helmets. Courtesy Mike Miceli.
5: Identification Officers badge worn by women officers from 1950-1970. Identification Officers were later reclassified as Assistant Police Women. Courtesy Mike Miceli.
6: Assistant Police Woman badge worn by women identification officers after they were reclassified as APW’s in 1970. assistant policewomen were reclassified as police officers in 1976. Courtesy Sharon Lansdowne.
7: Special Police badge, first issue. Worn by the San Jose Auxiliary Police formed the day after the Attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Courtesy Ed Pracna Family.
1: Special Police badge, second issue, circa 1942. Courtesy of Jarrod Nunes.
2: Deputy Constable- San Jose Township badge, first known issue. These elected officers served court paper, issued summons, collected fines, and served arrest warrants in the San Jose area. This position was created in the late 1880’s and existed into the 1950’s. Courtesy of John Proctor Collection.
3: Deputy Constable- San Jose Township badge, second issue. Courtesy History San Jose.
4: San Jose Traffic Reserve School badge. Worn by students of area schools who were members of the School Safety Patrol Program that was instituted shortly after the turn of the century and existed in various forms until the early 1970’s.
5: San Jose Officers badge #17. First issue, circa 1880-1900. Courtesy Don Demers.
6: San Jose Police School Badge. Worn by students enrolled in the Police School at San Jose State College (now University) during the 1950’s. Courtesy Jarrod Nunes.
7: Presentation badge #8 engraved: “Presented by The Workingmen,” presented by a private organization of the same name, circa 1888. Courtesy Don Demers.
1: San Jose Officers badge #2 with unusual six point design, manufactured around 1900. Courtesy of the Walter Gist Collection.
2: San Jose Officers badge #23 with unusual six point design, manufactured around 1900. Courtesy of the Walter Gist Collection.
3: These smooth style officers badges were standardized and issued from the 1920’s until the Department redesigned its badges in 1976. These badge were reissued to incoming officers. Courtesy Lt./Ret. Joe Nunes.
4: Chief of Police – Willow Glen. This badge belonged to Ed Pracna who was one of two police officers in the town of Willow Glen before it annexed to become part of San Jose in 1936. Donated by the Ed Pracna Family.
5: Police Officer badge – Alviso. Officers in the City of Alviso wore this badge until the town annexed to become part of San Jose in the 1968. Courtesy of the John Proctor Collection.
6: Alviso Chief of Police presentation badge circa the mid to late 1950’s. Courtesy of the John Proctor Collection
1: M.E.R.G.E. patch- first issue 1973- 76.
2: Police Reserve patch worn by reserve police officers during the 1970’s.
3: Traffic Officer shoulder patch worn by officers during the 1930’s & 40’s.
4: Traffic Officer shoulder patch worn by officers during the 1930’s & 40’s.
5 & 6: First aid certification patches worn by officers below the shoulder patch during the 1940’s & 50’s.
1: San Jose State College (now University) Police School shoulder patch.
2: San Jose Airport Police shoulder patch, first issue. 1950’s/60’s.
3: San Jose Police Cadet shoulder patch, first issue. 1950’s/60’s.
4: Police Trainee shoulder patch worn by program members who worked as interns during the early 1970’s.
5: San Jose Airport Police shoulder patch, second issue. 1970’s/80’s.
6: San Jose Explorer shoulder patch. 1960’s.
7: Alviso Police shoulder patch.
Current Badges and Patches
1: Chief’s badge – William M. Lansdowne. Gold filled, mfg. by Ed Jones Co.
2: Assistant Chief’s badge – Thomas Wheatley. Gold filled, mfg. by Irvine & Jachens
3: Deputy Chief’s badge – Robert Davis. Gold tone, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
4: Captain’s badge – Craig Buckhout. Gold filled, mfg. by Irvine & Jachens.
5: Lieutenant’s badge – Andrew Galea. Gold filled, mfg by Ed Jones Co.
6: Sergeant’s badge – Jarrod J. Nunes. Chrome, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
1: Supervising Police Data Specialist – O.S.S.D. shield. Gold-tone, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
2: Sergeant’s badge. Chrome, mfg. by Ed Jones Co.
3: Supervising Public Safety Dispatcher- Communications. Gold-tone, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
4: Sergeant’s badge – John Spicer. Sterling silver, mfg. by Ed Jones Co.
5: Police Data Specialist – O.S.S.D. shield. Sil-tone, mfg. by Sun badge Co.
6: Sergeant’s badge. Sterling Silver, mfg. by Irvine & Jachens.
7: Public Safety Dispatcher – Communications. Sil-tone, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
1: Police Activities League Cadet badge.
2: B.D.U. cloth badge, new issue.
3: B.D.U. cloth badge, first issue.
4: Standard shoulder patch, unchanged since its creation around 1957.
5: Police Academy recruit shoulder patch.
6: Airport shoulder patch worn by remaining Airport Police Officers.
7: M.E.R.G.E. Unit shoulder patch.
1: M.E.R.G.E. Unit subdued shoulder patch.
2: K-9 Unit shoulder patch.
3: K-9 Unit subdued shoulder patch.
4: Bomb Squad shoulder patch.
5: Auto Theft Unit raid jacket shoulder patch.
6: Crossing Guard shoulder patch.
7: Police Cadet shoulder patch.
1: 150th Anniversary Police Badge. Sterling Silver, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
2: 150 th Anniversary Dispatcher’s Shield, Sil-tone, mfg. by Sun Badge Co.
3: Police Officers Association Directors Commemorative badge.
4: 150th Anniversary Police Patch.
Emblems and Pins
1: Meritorious Medals. Four awards: Hazardous Duty Medal, William P. Poelle Lifesaving Medal, Medal of Valor, and the Medal of Honor (shown). To date, only two living department members who have received the Medal of Honor, Richard “Rocky” Bridges, and Dario C. Estrabao.
2: M.E.R.G.E / H-Unit pin.
3: Air Support Unit Wings.
4: Homicide Unit lapel pin- white. Given to individuals outside the Homicide Unit who have significantly contributed to the successful conclusion of a homicide case.
5: Homicide Unit lapel pin- blue. Signifies that wearer is a Homicide Unit member and has cleared a homicide case.
6: Robbery Unit pin.
7: Traffic Unit collar emblems- motor and radar officers.
8: Mounted Unit collar emblem.
1: Police Officers Association Directors pin.
2: Ceremonial Unit hat emblem.
3: Marksmanship pins- four levels: Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert, and Master. This qualification program began in the late 1950’s and was ended in 1984. Those members having qualified during this period are authorized to wear their pins.
4: Auto Theft Award pin (1-4).
5: Auto Theft Award Masters pin (fifth award).
6: Crisis Intervention Team Pin.
7: Horse Mounted Unit badge worn by mounts.