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Badge Collection Military Government Police Fire - Some help needed too


mds308
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Cobra 6 Actual

I was recently asked about the legality of collecting police badges. I’m no lawyer, so please take what I I’ve written as a non-lawyer’s understanding of this issue: the United States Code has a section that most badge collectors know of.  It is in Title 18, Chapter 33, Section 716:

 

“(b) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that the insignia or uniform is other than a counterfeit insignia or uniform and is not used to mislead or deceive, or is used or is intended to be used exclusively:

(1) as a memento, or in a collection or exhibit;

(2) for decorative purposes;

(3) for a dramatic presentation, such as a theatrical, film, or television production; or

(4) for any other recreational purpose.”


What I take from this is that the police badges I buy or trade for are “in a collection” (and I mean that quite literally that any badges I have are exclusively physically located at my residence, either in display frames or, in some cases, stored. I don’t wear them and I have no intent to mislead or deceive people). Further, even though this statute is unclear on whether it is OK to collect currently used badges or not, I stay well away from any such badges. In fact, I’ll often ask someone if a badge is obsolete/no longer officially used. If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know”, then I don’t buy it or trade for it.

 

By the way, in some cases, there are also state or local laws that address collecting or possessing police badges in addition to this federal stature I cited. Get familiar with them, too! And, if in doubt about all of this, then ask a lawyer.

 

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Cobra 6 Actual

By the way, it doesn’t appear that collecting fire badges has any restrictions (at least that I could find). Here’s a WWII era fire badge:

 

image.jpeg.7c2f492ca8b90ce5c7b06c3ad343ba44.jpeg

 

I would guess that “E.F.C. M.S.C.” Is an acronym for “Emergency Firefighting Crew, Maritime Service Center.”

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Cobra 6 Actual

Now, this is a really tough one to find:
 

image.jpeg.1da4641965faa4f25c52630fc578eeac.jpeg

 

Sorry, just kidding. Most bases now have these plastic “Crime Biter” badges as giveaways to the kiddies.

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