City Government

Who Needs A Stinking Badge?

badges2The recent shooting of a man in Bonneville County by a bounty hunter/bondsman brought to mind the famous line, “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’badges,” from the “Treasure of Sierra Madre” movie. A witness said the bondsman displayed a badge to keep himself from being shot by an armed citizen (her husband).

In the movie, some bad guys were claiming to be police. This brought up the question of just who carries a badge these days. A cursory internet search comes up with the answer: “Just about anyone who wants a badge can carry one.”

We found badges for sale to identify everything from TAXICAB COMMISSIONER to TRUANT OFFICER. There are also official looking badges for sale denoting, CONCEALED WEAPONS PERMIT, BAIL ENFORCEMENT AGENT, CHAPLAIN, COURT CLERK, ARMORED COURIER, and CASINO SECURITY. These impressive shields are mostly gold or silver colored and include either state seals or other impressive devices with flags, eagles, and stars.

In these days of drug agents, FBI, ATF, and other assorted undercover (unshaven and dirty) coppers, how is the average citizen to know if they are dealing with a REAL copper or any one of a hundred other “officials” when they flash a badge? Impressive badges abound on the internet marketplace. All you need is a credit card to get one.

To add to the confusion, we find there is a growing movement for DIGITAL BADGES which are marketed to replace a college education.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Bill Goodnight
    Mar 21, 2015, 11:51 pm

    One of my favorite movies. The actor was Alphonso Bedoya whose next line was: “Come on down…we woon hurt you! All we want is the gold!”

  2. Undercover and face covered in some cases. Even when not operating undercover. This occurred as recently as the triple murder in the foothills.

  3. As the government prosecutes its immoral war against American citizens, under the guise of fighting the enemy of the day (drugs, terror, evil clowns, etc.), it will be increasingly tempting for the average citizen to carry a gun and use it against any threat, badge or no badge.

  4. Rod in SE Boise
    Mar 22, 2015, 10:45 am

    It is getting to be us vs them. Anyone showing up on my doorstep with a gun better be wearing a BPD or ISP uniform to go along with that badge.

  5. Rod, did you see the recent news piece about the fact there is nothing “illegal” about someone showing up on your doorstep in a BPD “uniform”.
    For example a polo shirt with BPD logo on it… perfectly legal.
    It’s not until they say something like, “I’m officer joker” that they cross line. Pretty easy to see people being intimidated just by a police… Of course we should be asking, “Why would anyone be intimidated by the police?”

    Dear Legislator,,,,

  6. You forgot a photo of the biggest keystone cop badge around.

  7. The police don’t wear real badges anymore. They now wear a sew on, embroidered style badge.

    These seem to have replaced almost all of the metal badges out there except maybe the Idaho State Police and Twin Falls City.

    You have unions to blame for that one. They used the tiresome argument of “officer safety” without the facts BS. Now we have gone from officers wearing the so-called Class A uniform to an outright uniform that is so sloppy looking, the officers professionalism has gone along with the uniform.

  8. Grumpy oleGuy
    Mar 22, 2015, 10:51 pm

    American’s fascination for weaponry has been part and parcel of the creation of this though-guy persona where might makes right has overcome common sense and civility. I feel and fear for police when they have so many homegrown “alternatives” in competition; I fear for all of us that the result of this competition will lead to increased regulation and reduction of freedoms.

  9. TWO of my favorite movies! First in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” the line was repeated – I’m sure in tribute – in another western classic, “Blazing Saddles.”

    As a fifth-grade safety patrolman at Roosevelt Elementary, I was delighted to wear my chrome-plated metal “AAA School Safety Patrol” badge on a flourescent orange harness. It was an extra good day when I attended the crossing on Warm Springs at Walnut. We’d try to persuade the logging-truck drivers to toot the air horn; they rolled down Warm Springs regularly back in those days. I was so enamored with my Safety Patrol badge that I got Mom to buy me a cheap wallet, so I could put the badge in it and be plain-clothes Safety Patrol. (I don’t think I ever busted a kid for jaywalking, but I dreamed about doing so.)

    Thanks for allowing me to wax nostalgic for a moment, Mr. Guardian.

    EDITOR NOTE–No problem Bikeboy. Badges do that to people!

  10. its coming to the point that anyone who wears a badge, of any kind, is to be feared by the general public. There is no such thing as a “good cop”

    EDITOR NOTE–Pretty broad brush you use there L.D. We agree with not trusting the badge, but you will find most coppers don’t like the number of badges and guns that are out there either. Our issue is that while most coppers are good guys, they shy away from confronting, arresting, reporting, the bad cops.

  11. Thats a statement Editor you can’t back up. You have no idea on personnel matters within a department and who is disciplined or loses a job based on other officers saying something. Your police “experience” is like 30 years ago, so please don’t act as if you are in the know!

  12. Yes, broad indeed. I do so with the knowledge that there are potentially people who choose to wear a badge that retain some sense of human decency. Although, I also know that turning a blind eye to atrocities is as evil as committing them yourself.

  13. “they shy away from confronting, arresting, reporting, the bad cops”

    You said it Guardian!
    So doesn’t that make them a bad cop?

    When all cops and UNIONS (made up of cops) stop protecting bad cops – and instead confront, arrest, and report, the bad cops, then the police will deserve respect.

  14. In reference to the comments above: saying all cops are bad is the same as saying all humans are bad. They reflect society with all it’s problems just on a smaller scale. Having said that, BPD has used the “personnel issue” so much that there is a very strong reason citizens do not trust them. The excuse that we have “beaten this dead horse enough” in reference to the infamous and now dead Federal investigation into the BPD narc division is not the truth. The fact of the matter is, the horse was never touched and we will NEVER know what actually went on. Now that the “chief” is long since “officially ” retired is meaningless. He claims he never knew a thing about it and i believe him. He was clueless in the worst sense of the word. And the ONE man who could have opened this can of worms for the general public to see….welll….he ran off to the coast with everything he knew about it. The bottom line is this: if something of this magnitude was made to disappear, then what in the hell really matters here? I could care less if a cop cusses or is rude or any number of ombudsman investigations that amount to nothing at 100k a year. There sure as hell is a “wall” at that department but it doesn’t revolve around a blue uniform or a badge.

  15. Your police “experience” is like 30 years ago, so please don’t act as if you are in the know!
    Sal I will be the last one to defend Dave but you really need your eyes opened. The comments about the big blue blanket are true and you know it. Cops will NOT honestly investigate other cops… cover for them…lie on reports… you bet… omission is a lie…
    At least Dave did something for his fellow man… what have you done… except shoot off your keyboard on here?

  16. You have no idea what I have done Rick, just as I have no idea what you have done to be so jaded!

  17. It’s amazing to me that everytime there is a story touching the police, in this case the use of badges by everyone; the commenters come out of the woodwork with their tales of corruption, unions and intimidation that have nothing to do with the story. “Nice story, but I’ll push my own agenda.”
    Maybe Dave, you can just skip the story, put a title up and watch the show instead of investing your time and energy.

  18. Law enforcement officers, along with prosecutors, along with the judiciary and court officials, will not gain the respect that they crave, unless and until, they take decisive action to clean up their conduct, raise the bar of their performance, pro actively and aggressively deal with criminality, misconduct and substandard performance within their ranks, and cease using ticketing, charging prosecutions, and fines to prop up the crumbling finances of their municipalities.

    You all have a long and hard road to gain trust and respect!!!

    EDITOR NOTE–Off topic comment! Please respond only about badges.

  19. OK, badges it is then.

    The proliferation of badges may be consistent with the proliferation of bad law enforcement personnel. Bad law enforcement personnel are “fakes”, and “wannabe somebodies” with too much authority, too little education, too much power, far too little meaningful and effective oversight, perhaps too little training, and a lot of bad, bad, and misguided attitude. Unfortunately, the era of the true “peace officer” may be long gone. I hope not, but I am concerned.

    And, with the risk out there of bad cops, wannabe cops, wannabe somebodies, rogue cops, fake badges, poor and ineffective oversight of cops, there are going to be too many train wrecks.

  20. A bit of a stretch Steve. I do agree with the lack of oversight however. No badge needed for that…just an honest, apolitical man or woman of integrity who doesn’t like the coast.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: