POLICE BADGE PLACEMENT
WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A NECK POLICE BADGE
If you are working a detective assignment or plainclothes assignment wearing your police badge is almost mandatory when enforcement action is performed (if feasible in most cases). Most police or law enforcement sometimes carry their flat police badges or identification cards off-duty. The unfortunate truth is blue on blue incidents still occur but can be prevented. Until you have been a plainclothes officer or agent requesting uniformed assistance from officers, you don’t know the feeling of being possibly misidentified. Luckily, the Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD) decided to conduct a police badge study due to several high-profile blue on blue officer-involved shootings.
In short, the badge placement study was conducted in an indoor range with 16 targets and 8 shooting lanes. There were both shoot and no-shoot targets in the test and about half of the tests were conducted in a low light situation. The targets were programmed to face the officers for a short amount of time. The test was performed by 23 officers who went through 40 sessions and fired approximately 125 rounds each session.
The officers were given four targets as follows:
- (2) Plainclothes officer with KCPD badge placed on a belt and pointing a gun.
- (2) Plainclothes officer with KCPD neck badge and pointing a gun.
BELT POLICE BADGE PLACEMENT
- Belt police badge placement (Full Lighting) – Officer shot 1,272 times and hit 8 times per session.
- Belt Police Badge Placement (Low Lighting) – Officer shot 5,288 times and hit 2 times per session.
NECK POLICE BADGE PLACEMENT
- Neck police badge placement (Full Lighting) – Officer shot 196 times and hit 9 times per session
- Neck police badge placement (Low Lighting) – Officer shot 843 times and hit 07 times per session.
After the conclusion of this study KCPD found plainclothes officers were 4 times more likely to be shot in low light conditions than full light conditions. Also, officers wearing belt police badges were hit 6,560 times compared to only 1,039 times for officers wearing the police neck badge. If you remember one thing from this study is officers wearing a belt police badge are 6 times more likely to be shot compared to the neck police badge.
THINGS TO TAKE AWAY FROM BADGE PLACEMENT
While some might argue wearing your police badge on your belt is more of a professional look, your safety is far more important. If you work in an office assignment where the likely hood for enforcement action is not realistic, belt placement is acceptable. But if you’re rolling around on the streets doing cop work neck placement is the way to go.
CLOTHING HELPS WITH IDENTIFICATION
I’m not here to tell you how to dress or do your job for that matter. Wearing professional style clothing does help with threat assessment as opposed to jeans and a casual shirt. Solid colors vs multi-color shirts help a police badge be the focal point of your person second to your gun. If you are in a true undercover position you must be able to blend in and wearing professional clothing could compromise safety or the investigation.
Don’t discount your training and experience, threat assessment, and other tactics you have been taught. These things will allow you to make the right decision. Bringing in plainclothes officers to briefings (if possible) allows patrol officers to get familiar with faces in the event there is an encounter in the future. The days of an active shooter and mass casualty incidents are here. The job of an officer is to stop these incidents from occurring or stop them after they have begun, even if it’s not your primary job. Proper identification, training, and threat assessment are key.