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The Chief's Office

Badges of the Chicago Police Department

The Chief's got some things he'd like you to see but keep your hands off.


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Chicago's first issue badge, a large tin star, rather plain, circa 1880's. This badge is hallmarked S.D. Childs, an early Chicago maker. I finally was able to find one at a decent price at the 1996 National Show in Texas. The photo you see at the top of this page is of an officer wearing this style. The yellowing is just a forgetful Chief...I forgot to use the 80A correction filter... this badge is actually silver.

A first issue Lieutenant's badge. circa 1880's. In the early days, CPD rank officers wore badges half the size of patrolmen. The officer photo appearing on this page is from Chicago, wearing first issue stars twice the size of the Lt. badge pictured here

The Superintendent typically has his political cronies that he must give a badge to... This "Supt. Staff" from the 1880's is just like the first issue Lt's badge... Guaranteed to keep you out of trouble cuz you were the "Boss's Bud".

A 5-point star for a special officer, probably pre-1900's, a rare piece. Not many CPD badges can be found with filigree adorning them.
This is Chicago's "coat badge" circa 1880s.  Note the "old seal", ship on right, Indian on left.

This 9-point star for the Special Police, circa 1904, is a rarity for a CPD style. Made of German silver, this large badge weighs a ton.

An old flat tin star special... certainly older than the Chief cuz it probably dates back before the turn of the Century...or... maybe not.

A Chicago PD Messenger "pagoda pie plate", so called due to it's size and the pagoda-like banners, used early 1900 with 3 other titles: Patrol Driver, Driver & Chauffeur

The famous "pie plate" used by CPD until 1955, but this one was pre-1920's as the "old seal" attests. Nicknamed because of its size.

A later Supt. Staff badge...this one pre-1927 as evidenced by the "old seal". Supt. Staff badges from Chicago came in many different flavors over the years. The Suburbs had a similar "political friend" badge, usually titled "Chief's Staff".

The roaring 20s saw Chicago Detective Sergeants wearing this mid-size ball-tipped star, sometimes on there lapels.  Today, this style is commonly reproduced and is often sold as "authentic"

Chicago's Police Reserve badge, circa 1940's... with the rare rank of "Corporal". This badge has the "new seal" (current). Compare it to the "Supt. Staff" badge above.

A variation of the Chicago retired badge that was used until the early 70's when Police Artist Otis Rathel was told by superiors to re-design it in between drawing suspects for wanted posters. Apparently Rathel's design was just using the current issue star with the wording "Retired" applied in copper letters in place of the badge number.

This is the more common pre-1970's retired badge, without the ball tips. This is the badge sent to Otis Rathel, Chicago Police Artist, when he was told to design a new one. Rathel "donated" it to my collection, worried sick if he was doing the right thing. This was my very first Chicago badge... quite a prize for a 14 year old boy from the burbs.

The pre-1955 retired badge was a pie plate with a customized banner.... Quite a wallet full. Sorry about the quality of the picture...sometimes even the Chief screws up...

This Captain's star is inverted, a style common for the day. Circa, 1950's.

A more recent Lieutenant's star, this gold beauty includes the engraved presentation on the back to Lt. Joseph Dearing, 1965, from the Lieutenant's Association.

The longtime Chicago Patrolman's badge used just before the current issue, with applied copper badge number. This style has been worn since 1955. Hallmarked "Metal Arts", one of only two company's to have the contract for the current issue badge.

Chicago Detective, last used before the current issue. The difference is in the top panel, which is reverse enamel instead of raised lettering

Chicago's Policewomen had their own star until a 1970's lawsuit allowed them to change to the patrolman's badge. Supposedly, a few of these can still be found being worn today.

Not exactly a thrilling title....but if I woulda had 5 of these at the last Chicago show...they'd a gone. Seems a bunch of Chicago cops from a certain district call themselves the "Dog Catcher's" and wanted to have this badge... They begged and begged...but the Chief didn't give's still in his collection.

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