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  • Laws regarding Civilian possesion of badges etc.

    I am curious if any states have laws regarding the possession of badges. Specifically badges that are not real law enforcement badges but designed to look like them. We have a pretty decent impersonating Police officer statutes but nothing in regards to a civilian carrying badges.

    The reason this has come up is that I have come across alot of civilians carrying badges and credentials of very official sounding agencies but not law enforcement. Several of them have "badged" me on traffic stops and contacts. Had I not been really savy on one of them I would have thought it was a federal agent. The badge and creditials looked excatly like a DEA badge without the words DEA..

    I am debating writing a statue forbidding anyone except a sworn LEO or Firefighter from carrying a metal badge. We have had a ton of impersonators and this would make life much easier on us. I am sure I can get a Senator or Rep to sponsor this bill to the state legislature.

    Do any states have this as a seperate law or included in the impersonating a peace officer statue. If you can post the state and statue # I would appreciate this.

    I don't want to have to reinvent the wheel and I know there are a few hurdles such as not arresting a kid for having a plastic toy badge. I would also not want it to prevent someone from collecting badges and displaying them of from having their fathers badge, retirement badges etc etc.

    I have talked about this with numerous other LEO's and most agree that unless your sworn, no need to have a Metal badge. Security can get by with a sewn on cloth badge. Plus it would help stop the CCW badges etc.

    Help a brother out.
    Last edited by Monkeybomb; 03-07-2008, 09:22 PM.
    The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

  • #2
    In mass we have a specific law against this, although it's only a summons and a fine NMT $50. (Can arrest if in presence and breach)

    MGL Chapt 268 Sec 35

    Whoever, without being duly authorized thereto, and with intent to assume an official character which he does not possess, casts, stamps, engraves, makes or has in his possession a badge or thing in the likeness of an official badge of a police officer, member of a fire department, or other officer appointed by a town in the commonwealth, or by any department of such town, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars.
    We have a separate law forbidding impersonation (Chap 268 Sec33)... but they must pretend to be and act in a manor which portrays them as an officer. (Just dressing up wouldn't rise to the level... they would have to be ordering someone around, etc) Summons unless breach, fine is NMT $400 or Jail NMT 1 yr.

    If someone tinned me on a stop, or was flashing the badge in public, I may be able to articulate the impersonation... otherwise possession is just a $50 fine.

    -Zack
    Last edited by Xaque; 03-07-2008, 06:58 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info
      To give a little more background I am hoping to make this a misdeamenor. This way jailing is an option as well as a summons. Our Impersonation charge is a felony and they actually have to perform an act like a traffic stop etc to be considered impersonation. We also have a seperate statute for red and blues etc.
      The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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      • #4
        Whoever, without being duly authorized thereto, and with intent to assume an official character which he does not possess, casts, stamps, engraves, makes or has in his possession a badge or thing in the likeness of an official badge of a police officer, member of a fire department, or other officer appointed by a town in the commonwealth, or by any department of such town, shall be punished by a fine of not more than fifty dollars.

        That sounds ALMOST like impersonating an officer without really saying you're an officer. Flashing a badge but not falsly stating that you are an officer, letting the badge giving a false impression.

        Lots of folks collect badges for the sake of collecting, without an attempt to assume an official character. I wonder if the law applies to them as well?
        "Say hal-lo to my leetle frahnd!"

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        • #5
          Hopefully this wording is broad enough to meet your needs:

          Any person who willfully wears or uses any badge that falsely
          purports to be authorized for the use of one who by law is given the
          authority of a peace officer, or which so resembles the authorized
          badge of a peace officer as would deceive any ordinary reasonable
          person into believing that it is authorized for the use of one who by
          law is given the authority of a peace officer, for the purpose of
          fraudulently impersonating a peace officer, or of fraudulently
          inducing the belief that he or she is a peace officer, is guilty of a
          misdemeanor.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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          • #6
            Once in a while I get flashed a 11-99 mini badge. I just wait for them to explain to me what they think the badge makes them and go from there.

            On a side note, I come across more Galls style firefighter badges than anything else. I have no idea why anybody would want to be a firefighter in the first place let alone play one.
            Last edited by ejay; 03-07-2008, 11:35 PM.
            "Get this and get it straight! Crime is a sucker's road and those who travel it wind up in the gutter, the prison, or the grave. There's no other end. They never learn."

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            • #7
              If I have to show my credentials for whatever reason, I just show the card.

              Anybody can get a badge.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gene L View Post
                That sounds ALMOST like impersonating an officer without really saying you're an officer. Flashing a badge but not falsly stating that you are an officer, letting the badge giving a false impression.
                That's exactly what I took the wording of the law to mean...

                If someone wants to collect badges, they would not be in violation... but if someone flashes the badge their toast.

                If I were to come across someone with merely a badge in their wallet, I suppose I could articulate (especially through some clever questioning) that the sole purpose for having an official looking badge in a wallet is for the purpose of misleading.

                (And let's be serious. If I've gotten to the point where I've discovered a fake badge in someone's wallet... there is a good chance there is going to be plenty of other shenanigans to go along with the badge charge.)

                -Zack

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                • #9
                  I have quite a collection of them here in my locker, as well as false IDs. I had a TS years ago where a guy told me he was "on the job" in NY. He flashed a badge AND ID card that had NYPD on them. After calling NY, I discovered he was a security guard in a building the NYPD had an office in. The guards had NYPD badges made up with "Honor Guard" on the bottom. He was arrested and charged with impersonating. All that for a simple speeding ticket...
                  As far as "rights" are concerned; I look at them this way... I don't tell you what church to go to, and you don't tell me what kind of firearm I can own...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ford123 View Post
                    If I have to show my credentials for whatever reason, I just show the card.

                    Anybody can get a badge.

                    Anyone with a decent computer, the proper software, and a good printer can make IDs up that would boggle your mind.....

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bearcat357 View Post
                      Anyone with a decent computer, the proper software, and a good printer can make IDs up that would boggle your mind.....
                      A neighboring dept (last year I think?) actually buzzed a guy in who was merely dressed like a tacti-cool cop... (bdu pants, etc)

                      ...their suspicions were raised when he, while standing inside the station, started berating the officers and asking when received such-and-such ticket.

                      Although come to think of it I don't think he flashed a badge... but I still figured I'd share.



                      -Zack

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