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  • Plainclothes Badge

    First off... I did run some searched for similar posts... and I didn't get an answer... so, here goes nothing...

    I've been working as a parole officer in Oregon since 2011. Up until a few months ago, I was working in a mostly rural county, doing the bulk of my work in trailer parks, low-end suburbs, and some time downtown in Eugene. When I started there, we were doing all our field work in plainclothes and in unmarked cars with civi plates. Things changed over time, and we moved to being more visible in the field... so by the time I left I was rolling a slicktop crown vic and wearing a black polo ("Parole Officer") and khakis in the field with my duty gear. We're armed in Oregon, and peace officers as well.. but back when we were plainclothes I always felt like I was at a huge risk to get shot by responding cover if things went sideways...

    Fast forward to today... I'm up in a bigger, urban county and working downtown. We issue external vests and ID'd polos for field work, but I work out of the office in plainclothes at least a couple days every week. More and more, I'm finding myself running out on something going on at subsidy housing around the corner, or jogging down the block after someone who walks from the lobby... I wear my gun daily, with a badge on a belt clip next to it. All concealed in the office, per policy.

    This brings me to my question... how much of a tool am I for thinking about wearing a neck badge. A few other officers are wearing them... and I'm aware of the Kansas City study that showed you are less likely to get shot "blue on blue" with a neck badge than a belt badge. I feel like I can justify it - I'm in a bigger city... with more cops on the street... and virtually none of them know my name, much less my face... and I'm working in the field sometimes in plainclothes. All that said, I'm having trouble getting over the "toolbag" factor the neck badge has for me.

    I had the same problem with the external vest... I thought it would look too tactical for a slow-speed guy like me... but, I absolutely love it now... so... maybe I need to just suck it up and try it.

    Anyone out there have any insight on this? I've worked patrol... and I know what I would have thought then if a parole officer whipped out a neck badge like it was training day... so.... that's pretty much what I'm dealing with.
    RIP EPD Kilcullen EOW April 22nd, 2011

    The wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

  • #2
    It might make you look like a tool, but if it keeps you alive...Does your vest have any panels on it for any ID placards? Our P&P folks here have ID cards, not badges, and are not armed, so they ride with officers or have officers escort them.
    The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

    I Am the Sheepdog.


    "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
    that we are all that stands between
    the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


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    • #3
      I'm sorry, I've heard this expression before so maybe someone can help me, what the heck do you mean by looking like a tool / toolbag?

      As far as wearing the badge on a chain, nothing wrong with that. Would your agency issue you 2 badges? So you could do both, or keep one always attached to your vest, or always in a wallet? And if you decide a day or a week or however long later that you don't like wearing it on a neck chain you can always take it off.

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      • #4
        Comparing officers I've seen with neck badges to ones with badges clipped to their belts, the neck badges are much more noticeable. Maybe you think that wearing a really noticeable badge makes you a tool, but isn't that the point of wearing a badge in the first place? You are wearing it so your parolees and cops can see it right?

        Most of the guys I've seen who wear badges on their belts are either doing it because they want to completely cover it up until they need to show it, or they think it's got the CDI factor going for it.

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        • #5
          I wore a belt badge when I was just doing normal day to day stuff. If we were running an operation like a search or arrest warrant, I wore it around my neck for greater visibility. Screw those guys who say it's "toolish."
          I’ll die with blue in my veins.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the quick resporesponsesmy belt badge holder has a loop for a chain, so I'll give it a try in the next week or two.
            RIP EPD Kilcullen EOW April 22nd, 2011

            The wicked flee when no man pursueth but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

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            • #7
              Move that badge to your neck and don't look back. More people will see it when you want them to and fewer will notice it when you don't.

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              • #8
                I believe this article, "Badge Placement Affects Survival Odds for Plainclothes Officers," may help you out.

                Too Long; Didn't Read: Force Science Institute says that neck badges are more visible and in a simulation led to substantially fewer accidental shootings of plainclothes officers by responding uniformed officers than did belt badges.
                Originally posted by Michigan
                Now that you mention it, who are you?

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                • #9
                  "Overall, a no-shoot target with a belt badge was six times more likely to be shot than one with a neck badge"

                  From the linked article above.

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                  • #10
                    P
                    Originally posted by SamRudolph View Post
                    I believe this article, "Badge Placement Affects Survival Odds for Plainclothes Officers," may help you out.

                    Too Long; Didn't Read: Force Science Institute says that neck badges are more visible and in a simulation led to substantially fewer accidental shootings of plainclothes officers by responding uniformed officers than did belt badges.
                    +1 This is an excellent read, well worth the time. As a detective I and most in my office carry it on the belt, IFO our firearm. For incidents and response to "ACTIVE" scenes it's around the neck or pinned just below the neck.
                    Hey Kidd, I've got more time On Meal than you have "On the Job"

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                    • #11
                      When I work plain clothes, I wear my badge around my neck.

                      Stay safe.

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                      • #12
                        Boston makes good quality one that is both belt clip and chain. A lot of online police stores have them. I've never felt like a tool wearing mine ;-)

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