By Barbara Jernigan
Duncan Police officers are celebrating Oklahoma’s 100th birthday by wearing special badges made just for this year’s observance.
According to Duncan Police Detective Dan Fletcher, the special badge mirrors the state’s centennial spirit of celebrating the past, relishing the present and looking forward to the future.
“It combines the styles of the early badges, about the time of statehood, with the new,” said Fletcher.
The most distinguishing feature of the new badge is its inner six-point star, which is a replica of the old Indian Territory star.
It looks like the old-fashioned “lawman’s” badge as seen in any number of old photos or Western movies.
But on closer inspection, the badge also boasts a golden reproduction of the current state seal in the center of the “old” star.
And the silver boundary is imprinted with the words “Peace Officer” and “Oklahoma,” while the inner circle is marked “1907 - 2007” and “Centennial.”
“This badge is made to be generic, so it can be worn by any law enforcement official in the state,” Fletcher explained.
The Duncan investigator said he first heard of the project during a Blue Knights gathering; a motorcycle group made up of members of law enforcement organizations.
After getting the OK to participate in the statewide project from DPD Chief Jeff Johnson and City Manager Clyde Shaw, Fletcher started taking orders from Duncan officers wanting to use part of their annual uniform allotment to purchase the collector’s item.
The first shipment arrived in December, and even though the new badge is bigger and heavier than the department’s normal badge, it is so popular that Fletcher was able to place a second order, which arrived just this week.
“Some officers didn’t order one the first time, and some have now ordered two; one to wear and one to save, although they had to pay for a second one themselves,” said Fletcher.
The idea for a centennial badge was an offshoot of an idea hatched by the Norman Police Department in 2001, which had a “new millennium” badge made for their officers to launch the 21st century.
Oklahoma’s centennial badge, said its creators, was designed to show “pride in our state heritage and the unity of our law enforcement family.”
The badge will be used for just one year, concluded Fletcher.
On Dec. 31 of this year, he said, the badges will be retired and local law enforcement officials will again become “police” officers.
By Barbara Jernigan
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