Compared to police badges, which have been symbols of authority since at least the mid-19th century, when tin stars differentiated the "good" guys from the "bad" ones in the Wild West, police patches are relatively recent arrivals. In fact, police patches did not become popular in the United States until the 1930s, when insignia for law-enforcement officials were hand embroidered on felt. Eventually the designs and lettering on patches for local, state, and federal peacekeepers were stitched by sewing machines, which brought uniformity to the designs and ubiquity to the genre.

Police patches can be shaped like shields, circles, triangles, and (depending on your locality) arrowheads, keystones, or an officer’s home state. Some people collect patches based on geography (for example, all the police badges in Texas) while others collect patches based on the wearer’s duties, whether they worked on a bomb squad, S.W.A.T. team, or mounted patrol. Patches showing service in a specialized units such as motorcycle patrols, divisions, or squads are generally more difficult to find (they are certainly pricier) than stock patches, which only vary from area to area by the name of the community being served. Other special-unit patches include those worn by members of Native American “tribal” police officers.

Sheriff and highway-patrol patches are highly collected, as are patches featuring elaborate embroidery (vintage patches from Alaska, Hawaii, and Florida are some of the nicest). And then there are U.S. government police patches, which range from simple patches bearing the letters M.P. for military police to more elaborate designs that herald one’s membership in the police units of the U.S. Treasury, Arlington National Cemetery, or even the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Comic Character Pinbacks

Comic Character Pinbacks

Mark Lansdown's excellent collection of over 800 pinbacks representing 200+ comic characters from 100+ strips. Beau… [read review or visit site]

Most watched eBay auctions    

Patch - Game Warden - Dept. Of Inland Fisheries And Wildlife - Maine, UsPatch - Colorado Game And Fish-wildlife Conservation Officer, Us (4.5" Dia.)Patches(2) Louisiana Wildlife And Fisheries Commission - Enforcement Div., UsPatch - Tennessee Game And Fish Conservation (*logo Stitched Into Cloth)Patch - California Dept. Fish & Game - 3.75" X 5" - Ver#3Patch - Tennessee Game & Fish CommisionPatch - Department Of Natural Resources - Division Of Wildlife - Ohio, Us Ver# 2Patch - Delaware Division - Fish & Wildlife Enforcement - 5" X 4" - Ver#1Patch - Montana Fish, Wildlife & ParksPatch - Nebraska Game Forestation & Parks Commission - Law EnforcementPatch - Colorado - Game And Fish, Us Ver# (4" Diameter, Felt Cloth)Patch - State Of Montana Fish And Game Department - WardenPatch - Kentucky Department Of Fish & WildlifePatch - South Carolina Dept. Of Natural Resources - Law Enforcement K-9 TeamPatches(2) - Washington Dept. Of Game - State Game Protector, UsRhode Island Environmental Police Game Warden Fish & Game PatchPatch - Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission - ReservePatch - Georgia Game & Fish Commision - Law EnforcementPatch - Tennessee Wildlife Agency - Enforcement OfficerAustralian Police Set Of Mini Patches Victoria Nsw Tas Qld Nt Sa Wa FederalPatch - Wildlife Officer - Maryland, UsPatch - Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency -3.75" Diameter Ver#3Massachusetts Law Enforcement Environmental Affairs (game Warden) PatchObsolete Scarce Toronto Transit Commission Special Constable Shoulder PatchClarkdale Pd Police Patch Az ArizonaPatch - Delaware Division - Fish & Wildlife Enforcement -safe Boating InstructorPatch - Warden Service - Maine, UsPatches(2) - Washington Dept. Of Game - State Wildlife Agent, UsPatch - Delaware Division - Fish & WildlifeLot Of 90 Police, Sheriff, And State Agency PatchesOld Nashville Davidson Tn State Tennessee Metropolitan Sheriff Dept Police PatchToronto (ontario) Police Mounted Unit Patch And Hat Patch, Old!Patches(2) - State Game Warden - Fish & Wildlife - Vermont, Us (3" X 3.5")Patch - Montana Dept. Of Fish Wildlife ParksLot Of 40 City Police PatchesPatches(2) - "warden Service", "c.w." & "m.e", Maine - UsVintage- Tn Knoxville Tennessee K9 Corps Police PatchVintage- Tn Knoxville Tennessee K9 Police PatchPatch - South Carolina Dept. Of Wildlife And Marine Resources CommissionCalifornia Ca State Parole Corrections Agent Correctional Police Subdued Patch California Ca State Parole Corrections Agent Fugitive Team Police Patch Cdc CdcrObsolete 70's Version Of Coos Bay Police Patch 8 Different California Sheriff Patches Lot 2Patches(2) - Illinois Conservation Department - EnforcementTwo (2) Fort Hood Texas Game Warden Patches Not ReproductionsMalta - Very Rare Collectibles: 2 Badges, Patch And PinCity Police Patches Lot Of 40Patch - Nebraska Game & Parks Commission - Law EnforcementImmigration Canada, Police, Canada. Rare Obsolete Defunct PatchObsolete Queensland Australian Police Cap Australia Police Cap With Police PatchPatch - Delaware Division - Fish & Wildlife Enforcement - 4" X 3" - Ver#3Michigan Conservation Officer PatchesWorcester Massachusetts Park Ranger Patch4 Different San Jose, California Police Patches Lot Of 40 City Police Patches1970's Australian Federal Police Dept., Australia PatchVintage 60/70's Obsolete Version Blackstone Police Patch Massachusetts York City (pennsylvania) Police Badge And Patch Set , 2 1/2" X 2" , Old!Patches(2) - State Game Warden - Vermont, UsCalifornia Ca State Dept Of Insurance Detective Fraud Investigator Police Patch