Following is legal information and links to U.S. Federal & U.S. State Laws and regulations as well as Foreign National Laws governing Badges, Emblems, Uniforms, Insignias and Names. All but a couple of U.S. States rely on the U.S. Federal laws and do not have their own State laws governing the possession, marketing and sale of police insignia. Also listed are any current efforts to pass legislation which may affect U.S. Badge Collectors. This list may not contain all current and updated laws / regulations. If you wish to have an updated or new regulation added to this list, please e-mail all teh details to the following address ~ email@example.com
UNITED STATES LAW
United States Code Sections 700-715 - EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA & NAMES
United State Code, TITLE 18 - CRIMES & CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, PART I - CRIMES
United States Code Section 716 - Police Badges - EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA & NAMES
United State Code, TITLE 18 - CRIMES & CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, PART I - CRIMES
United States Code Section 704 - EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA & NAMES - MILITARY MEDALS OR DECORATIONS
United States Code, TITLE 18 - CRIMES & CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, PART I - Chapter 33
AMENDMENT - H.R. 3352 The Stolen Valor Act of 2005 (In the Senate July 19, 2005)
KNIGHTS INTERNATIONAL - Law Enforcement Motorcycle
The words "Blue Knights" are trademark protected, as is the international logo. There is a formal process for the issuing of sales permits that only "Chapters" and "Conferences" can obtain, not individuals or even individual members of the Blue Knights.
(Source: Bob Seelye, Chairman, Blue Knights International Sales, Seattle, WA.)
CALIFORNIA - CITY OF GLENDALE:
Chapter 2.104 POLICE BADGES AND UNIFORMS
The following restrictions shall be applicable to the manufacture and use of badges:
A. No person shall manufacture, sell, design or transfer any regular police officer's badge without written authorization of the chief of police. Except as provided in subsection C of this section, the manufacture, sale, design or transfer of such badges shall only be for the purpose of delivering them to the chief of police.
B. No person shall manufacture, sell, design or transfer any badge, star, shield, miniature, ring, charm or insignia, regardless of size, shape or design, which has on it the words "Glendale Police" or "Glendale Detective," or other words which, when used separately, together or in a combination with any other words, indicate a connection with the subdivision of police of the city, or which is identical in design with or which resembles or may be mistaken for the design of the regular police officer's badge, without written authorization of the chief of police and, except as provided in subsection C of this section, then only for the purpose of delivering the items to the chief of police.
C. Exceptions. The prohibitions of this section shall not apply to the following circumstances:
1. Where sworn police department personnel are authorized to purchase police department badges that were retired from use in 2000;
2. Where sworn police department personnel are authorized to retain commemorative centennial badges upon the badges' retirement from use; and
3. Where commemorative centennial badges are encased in Lucite or other similar permanent encasing, the Glendale Police Officers' Association may sell the centennial badges as keepsakes. (Ord. 5495 § 1, 2005: prior code § 19-14)
CALIFORNIA - CITY OF LOS ANGELES:
The use of the Los Angeles City Seal, LAPD marks, and LAPD Badges (City Marks) for any commercial purpose is unauthorized and constitutes trademark infringement under the law , including but not limited to the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. S 1125 and also violates or causes others to violate SS 52.23, 52.27 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code ("LAMC"), relating to Public Safety. Further, Section 63.108 of the LAMC protects the City Seal against use by private entities. The City of Los Angeles will aggressively confiscate and/or prosecute violators.
(Source: Philip H. Lam, Office of the City Attorney, Los Angeles, CA.)
CALIFORNIA - CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO:
SEC. 934. REGULATING SALE OF POLICE BADGES.
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to sell or offer for sale, or cause to be sold or offered for sale, or to deliver, or cause to be delivered, to any person, any badge or star of the kind or design used by the members of the Police Department, without the written authorization of the Chief of Police.
(Added by Ord. 1.075, App. 10/11/38)
CALIFORNIA - CITY OF SAN MATEO:
2.39.090 UNAUTHORIZED POSSESSION OF BADGE OR PRESS IDENTIFICATION CARD.
No person shall have in his possession any official police badge or special reserve police officer's badge or press identification card which has not been lawfully issued to him according to the provisions of this chapter. No person shall possess any such card or badge after his right to use such card or badge has been terminated.
Unless authorized by the Chief of Police, no person shall have in his possession any other badge, star, shield, miniature, ring, charm or insignia, regardless of the size, shape or design thereof, which has on it the words "San Mateo Police" or "San Mateo Detective," whether used separately, together or in combination with any other words indicating a connection with the San Mateo police department, or which is identical in design with or which so resembles an official police officer's badge or a reserve police officer's badge that it may be readily mistaken for either of such badges. No person who is not a regular police officer, reserve police officer, honorably retired police officer, police service aid or police cadet shall wear or display any badge, star or insignia calculated to indicate that he or she is a member of, or connected with, the San Mateo police department. (Ord. 1981-5 § 9, 1981: prior code § 10.37).
BADGES OF RETIRED OFFICERS. (a) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this
chapter, any person who has been, during his lifetime, a duly and regularly
appointed, commissioned and sworn police officer of this city and who has honorably
retired from such position, may retain and carry any badge lawfully issued to
him or otherwise lawfully acquired by him during his service or incident to
his retirement, provided the word "retired" is plainly shown on such badge,
by being engraved or embossed thereon or otherwise permanently affixed thereto.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to authorize the use of any badge herein mentioned for any unlawful purpose, and any such badge so used may be confiscated by the Chief of Police.
(c) Any badge mentioned in this section shall be subject to confiscation by the Chief of Police if worn or displayed by any person other than the person authorized to possess it, and shall be returned to the person authorized to possess it only upon a showing that such wearing or display was without his consent, express or implied. (Ord. 1981-5 § 10, 1981: prior code § 10.38).
CALIFORNIA - LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE:
The sale or marketing of Los Angeles County Sheriffs badges, replicas of such badges, or badges which resemble Los Angeles County Sheriffs badges, will result in litigation under Los Angeles County Codes 5.64.310/5,64.350 which prohibit the sale of official peace officer badges and California Penal Code section 528d which renders such activity a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not to exceed $15000.
(Source: Counsel for Los Angeles County, Sheriff's Legal Advisory Unit, Los Angeles, CA.)
- MASHANTUCKET PEQUOT TRIBAL NATION:
The sale or marketing of Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation badges, or any such products bearing the name of the Tribe or its registered trademark are in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Trademark Act.
(Source: Peter L. Costas, Counsel for The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, Hartford CT.)
Title XLVI CRIMES, Chapter 843 OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE (In part)
843.085 Unlawful use of police badges or other indicia of authority.--It is unlawful for any person:
(1) Unless appointed by the Governor pursuant to chapter 354, authorized by the appropriate agency, or displayed in a closed or mounted case as a collection or exhibit, to wear or display any authorized indicia of authority, including any badge, insignia, emblem, identification card, or uniform, or any colorable imitation thereof, of any federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency, or other criminal justice agency which could deceive a reasonable person into believing that such item is authorized by any of the agencies described above for use by the person displaying or wearing it.
(3) To sell, transfer, or give away the authorized badge, or colorable imitation thereof, including miniatures, of any criminal justice agency as now or hereafter defined in s. 943.045, or bearing in any manner or combination the word or words "police," "patrolman," "sheriff," "deputy," "trooper," "highway patrol," "Wildlife Officer," "Marine Patrol Officer," "marshal," "constable," "agent," "state attorney," "public defender," or "bailiff," which could deceive a reasonable person into believing that such item is authorized by any of the agencies described above, except for agency purchases or upon the presentation and recordation of both a driver's license and other identification showing any transferee to actually be a member of such criminal justice agency or unless the person is appointed by the Governor pursuant to chapter 354.
(Source: Florida Statutes)
May 2005 - Cook County, Illinois Sheriff Michael Sheahan's request to make sales of law enforcement badges illegal without the express written consent of the agency named on the badge went into effect on 1-1-06 as seen in the Criminal Code posted below. However the standard Federal defense to prosecution is still valid for Collectors.
- CRIMINAL OFFENSES (720 ILCS 5/) Criminal Code of 1961
(720 ILCS 5/32 5.2 5)
Sec. 32 5.2 5. False law enforcement badges.
(a) A person who knowingly produces, sells, or distributes a law Enforcement badge without the express written consent of the law enforcement agency represented on the badge, or in case of a reorganized or defunct law enforcement agency, its successor law enforcement agency, is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a Class 3 felony.
(b) It is a defense to a prosecution under this Section that the law enforcement badge is used or is intended to be used exclusively:
(1) as a memento, or in a collection or exhibit;
(2) for decorative purposes;
(3) for a dramatic presentation, such as a theatrical, film, or television production. (Source: P.A. 94 341, effective 1-1-06.)
STATE AMENDMENT - 2006
92_HB4073 LRB9212482LDtmA - AN ACT in relation to criminal law. Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Criminal Code of 1961 is amended by adding Section 17-2.1 as follows:
6 (720 ILCS 5/17-2.1 new) 7 Sec. 17-2.1.False police badges.
A person who manufactures, sells, trades, exhibits for sale, or offers for sale, an identification card or badge of a police organization, or a colorable imitation of an identification card or badge of a police organization, knowing that his or her conduct is not authorized by that organization, commits a Class 4 felony.
- CITY OF CHICAGO:
The Current design Chicago Police Department star (2002-present) is copyrighted. As such, the provision of Title 18, section 716 and Illinois ILCS 5/32 allowing for an affirmative defense is void in the case of the Chicago Police Department star.
(Source: Sergeant Raymond Gawne, Chicago Police Department)
- STATE POLICE:
The State of Maine is one of the few states with a law that prohibits the sale or distribution of any item of the Maine State Police uniform.
- CITY OF ST. LOUIS:
St. Louis City Missouri Revised Code Chapter 15.08 Division I Chapter 15.08 IMPERSONATION OF OFFICERS
It is unlawful for any person, without being authorized to do so, to wear, display or have on his person, any badge, shield, button, pin or other emblem, which purports, represents or in any manner indicates, that the wearer or possessor thereof is vested or endowed with official powers or with authority to make arrests, or in any manner to exercise governmental or police powers, or which shall purport, represent or in any manner indicate, that the wearer or possessor thereof is a duly appointed sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, detective, marshal, private watchman, city or state inspector. (1948 C. Ch. 46 § 4: 1960 C. § 784.010.)
It is unlawful for any person, to sell, offer for sale or display for the purpose of sale, any badge, shield, button, pin or other emblem, which purports, represents or in any manner indicates, that the wearer or possessor thereof is vested or endowed with official powers or with authority to make arrests, or in any manner to exercise governmental or police powers, or which shall purport, represent or in any manner indicate, that the wearer or possessor thereof is a duly appointed sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, detective, marshal, private watchman, city or state inspector, unless the purchaser thereof is authorized to wear or possess the same. (1948 C. Ch. 46 § 5: 1960 C. § 784.020.)
CONSOLIDATED LAWS PENAL ARTICLE 190
S 190.26 Criminal impersonation in the first degree.
A person is guilty of criminal impersonation in the first degree when he:
1. Pretends to be a police officer, or wears or displays without authority, any uniform, badge or other insignia or facsimile thereof, by which such police officer is lawfully distinguished or expresses by his words or actions that he is acting with the approval or authority of any police department; and
2. So acts with intent to induce another to submit to such pretended official authority or otherwise to act in reliance upon said pretense and in the course of such pretense commits or attempts to commit a felony; or
3. Pretending to be a duly licensed physician or other person authorized to issue a prescription for any drug or any instrument or device used in the taking or administering of drugs for which a prescription is required by law, communicates to a pharmacist an oral prescription which is required to be reduced to writing pursuant to section thirty-three hundred thirty-two of the public health law. Criminal impersonation in the first degree is a class E felony.
S 190.27 Criminal sale
of a police uniform.
A person is guilty of criminal sale of a police uniform when he or she sells or offers for sale the uniform of any police officer to any person, unless presented with a valid photo identification card showing the purchaser to be a member of the police department which has authorized the requested uniform or an authorization to purchase specified uniforms signed by the police chief or the police commissioner of such police department accompanied by a personal photo identification. For purposes of this section, "police officer" shall include federal law enforcement officers, as defined in section 2.15 of the criminal procedure law; and "uniform" shall include all or any part of the uniform which identifies the wearer as a member of a police department, such as the uniform, shield, badge, numbers or other identifying insignias or emblems. Criminal sale of a police uniform is a class A misdemeanor.
YORK CITY POLICE & AUXILIARY OFFICERS:
Internal policies prohibit the sale of any law enforcement badge by active duty
(Source: New York Post quote of Inspector Michael Coan, February 2, 2005) (If someone knows the official text of this law please contact us.)
Proposed House Bill No. 115 creates the offense of unlawful sale of a peace officer badge or uniform. The bill (if passed) prohibits a person from knowingly selling or offering to sell to any person other than an active duty police officer any badge, other insignia of authority, or distinctive uniform that the person knows or reasonably should know is used by a peace officer, intended for use by a peace officer, or designed or manufactured for use by a peace officer as an official badge, other insignia of authority, or distinctive uniform of a peace officer in the performance of the peace officer's official duties. (As of 1-15-06 this bill is still in committee)
OHIO - STATE HIGHWAY PATROL:
The Ohio State Highway Patrol insignia and logo are registered trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Patrol's flying wheel symbol, when used in conjunction with any combination of the words, "Ohio State Highway Patrol," and the Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper Badge, are protected under United States trademark laws. Any use of the Patrol's logo/emblem, except those uses outlined in the Ohio Revised Code, Ohio Administrative Code, and Division rules & regulation, policies and procedures, must be licensed. The unauthorized use of the Ohio State Highway Patrol indicia is a violation of state and federal law, subject to civil and criminal penalties. The Patrol has a licensing program that allows vendors to produce merchandise that bears their trademarks. Click here for information regarding the Ohio State Highway Patrol Trademark Licensing Program.
(Source: Colonel Paul D. McClellan, Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Columbia, OH.)
PENNSYLVANIA - STATE POLICE:
The Pennsylvania State Police Badge is a trademark of the Pennsylvania State Police. The badge has been registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office under the Trademark Act of 1946. As a result, such insignia cannot be used without permission and a license from the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. As a matter of policy, the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police does not generally permit the commercial exploitation of the Pennsylvania State Police Badge in the marketing of merchandise except by their licensed charities. Accordingly, the Pennsylvania State Police will object to your producing, marketing and selling of any item bearing the Pennsylvania State Police Badge insignia and will pursue their rights in all 50 states.
(Source: Pennsylvania State Police, Thomas F. Jakubiak, Office of Chief Counsel, Harrisburg, PA.)
TEXAS - STATE:
Texas Penal Code, Section 37.12. False Identification as Peace Officer.
(a) A person commits an offense if:
(1) the person makes, provides to another person, or possesses a card, document, badge, insignia, shoulder emblem, or other item bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identifies a person as a peace officer or a reserve law enforcement officer; and
(2) the person who makes, provides, or possesses the item bearing the insignia knows that the person so identified by the item is not commissioned as a peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer as indicated on the item.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:
(1) the card, document, badge, insignia, shoulder emblem, or other item bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency clearly identifies the person as an honorary or junior peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer, or as a member of a junior posse;
(2) the person identified as a peace officer or reserve law enforcement officer by the item bearing the insignia was commissioned in that capacity when the item was made; or
(3) the item was used or intended for use exclusively for decorative purposes or in an artistic or dramatic presentation.
(c) In this section, "reserve law enforcement officer" has the same meaning as is given that term in Section 1701.001, Occupations Code.
(d) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly misrepresents an object as property belonging to a law enforcement agency.
(e) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.
(Effective 9/1/2001)(A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable with a fine of not more than $2,000 and/or a term of confinement not more than six months in county jail.)
TEXAS - TEXAS RANGERS:
Texas law prohibits the making, buying, selling, or trading of replicas or real Texas Ranger badges of the currently-used style. The penalty for violation is up to one year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine per instance. Texas Law.
FOREIGN NATIONAL LAWS
The use of any NSW Police "insignia" as defined in section 203 of the Police Service ACT 1990 without the express written approval of the NSW Police is an offence and may lead to criminal prosecution.
BILL NO. 131, Police Act - CHAPTER 31 OF THE ACTS OF 2004
An Act Respecting Policing in Nova Scotia
POLICE INSIGNIA 69
(1) No person or organization shall use the uniform, insignia, vehicle markings or other signs or symbols of a police department.
(2) Where the Minister is of the opinion that the uniform, insignia, vehicle markings or other signs or symbols employed by a person or organization are so similar to those used by a police department that the public or a member of the public may be misled, the Minister may, by order in writing, require the person or organization to cease using the uniform, insignia, vehicle markings or other signs or symbols.