History of the Badge

Hand and Badge

DEFINITION: A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, or a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath (e.g., police and fire), a sign of legitimate employment or student status, or as a simple means of identification. They're also used for advertising, publicity, and branding purposes. Police badges date back to medieval times when knights wore a coat of arms representing their allegiances and loyalty.

A cop’s badge is perhaps the most visible and recognizable symbol of policing around the world. It is viewed by many as a sign of authority, sacrifice, and service.

Although it’s most closely associated with public service professionals such as firefighters, correctional officers, and especially police officers, the use of badges long predates the modern concept of law enforcement and policing as we know it.

Badges can be made from metal, plastic, leather, textile, rubber, etc. Textile badges or patches can be woven or embroidered and are attached by glue, ironing-on, sewing, or applique.

In the military, badges are used to denote the unit or arm to which the wearer belongs, and also qualifications received through military training, rank, etc. Similarly, youth organizations such as scouting and guiding use them to show group membership, awards, and rank.

Merced County Sheriff Badges

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office Badge has always been a symbol of pride and service provided by the Sheriff’s Office to the people of Merced County. Wearing the badge, presented by the Sheriff, is a moment no deputy ever forgets, and takes great pride in having the star pinned on the uniform for the first time. The badge has gone through many changes throughout history and has not always been a star. As you can see from the attached photos, The Sheriff’s Office Badge started as a shield and later morphed into the six-point star. 

The history of every badge for the sheriff’s office is unknown and we have not been able to verify the authenticity of some of the badges brought to our attention. However, below is the known verified badges worn by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office personnel. We have also included some of the badges that have not been verified as authentic. If you have photos or information related to the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, please email our Public Information Officer, Deputy Alexandra Britton at [email protected].

Badges From 1873 to present

Meany Badge
Cornell Badge
Sheriff Badge 3
Sheriff Badge 1
Sheriff Badge 2
Sheriff Badge 4
Sheriff Badge 5
New Badge

Unverified Merced County Badges

Unverified 2
Unverified 1
Unverified 3
Unverified 4
Unverified 5