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    

Old Fla (florida) Highway Patrol Sew On Patch Original 6 Different Yuba County, California Sheriff PatchesVintage 1970 Live Oak Police Patch Felt CaliforniaOld Orange County, California Flood Control Special Deputy PatchOld Fla (florida) Highway Patrol Sew On Patch Original Huge Collection Of 200 + Police Shoulder Patches - Many Ohio Patches.Old Orange County, California Harbor Police PatchDefunct San Bernardino County Sheriff Aero Squadron Old Style Police PatchU.s. Marshals Flag Patch -usms Police9 Different San Luis Obispo County, California Sheriff PatchesSan Bernardino County California Sheriffs Dept Search Dog Team Police Patch CaLot Of 60 Sheriff And Police Patches5 Different Monterey County, California Sheriff PatchesDefunct King City California Old Style Police PatchCounty Of Los Angeles Animal Care And Control Police Patch CaOld Orange County, California Airport Police Patch3 Different Los Angeles County, California Sheriff Security PatchesLos Angeles County Probation Department Police Patch Subdued California Ca8 Different Fresno County, California Sheriff PatchesRiverside County California Regional Gang Task Force Police Patch CaAtf Operation Statesboro Blues Federal Police Patch Dea Fbi Usms Ice Usss ColorsScottsdale, Arizona, Marshal PatchMekoryuk Tribal Police Patch, AlaskaU.s. Marshals Northern District Of West Virginia Patch -usms PoliceDefunct City Of Kotzebue Alaska Old Style Police PatchLos Angeles California Recreation And Parks Security Officer Police Patch CaContra Costa Sheriff - Military Ocean Terminal Concord Patch, California7 Different San Bernardino County, California Sheriff PatchesLos Angeles County, California Life Guard PatchDefunct City Of West Covina California Old Style Police PatchAurora Gang Unit Colorado Federal Police Patch Fbi Dea Atf UsmsSan Joaquin County, California Sheriff Eod Bomb Squad Patch8 Different Kern County, California Sheriff PatchesCalifornia Police And Sheriff Patches, Set Of 38Indio California Swat Police Patch Very Rare Htf ( Subdued )Police Patch Lot Collection Of 15 Assorted Very Sharp Police PatchesRare Delaware De Alcoholic Beverage Control Abc Agent Police Leo Patch - Nice!Vintage Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources Patch // Conservation // PoliceTexas Dps Highway Patrol State Police Public Safety Patch - SubduedArizona Highway Patrol Patch, Subdued, SwatSan Bernardino Sheriff Set Patch | �� Ca California • Police PatchesC Tran Transit Security Police Wackenhut Patch Clark County Washington WaDetroit Violent Crime Task Force Federal Police Patch Dea Atf Fbi Dpd Msp 20thPolice Patch Lot Collection Of 37 Assorted Ohio Police PatchesUtah Highway Patrol State Police PatchesBoston Atf Set (4) Federal Police Patches Fbi Dea Usms Pats Bruins Red Sox CeltsWisconsin State Capitol Police PatchFbi Operation Red Wolf Task Force Federal Police Patch Dea Atf Usms Msp BostonPalm Springs California Unified School District Security Police Patch CaBuena Park California Swat Police Patch ( Subdued )Federal Gang Task Force Police Patch Fbi Dea Atf Usms Skulls Handguns LatinUsss Us Secret Service Ems Miami Fl Medic Patch Tems Tactical? Medicine FloridaFoley Alabama Police Department Canine K9 Patch AlPrince George County Maryland Md Police Patch Homicide UnitMerced California Police Department Swat Subdued Patch CaFbi Operation Red Wolf Task Force Federal Police Patch Dea Atf Usms Msp BostonOperation U.p.s.e.t. Federal Police Patch Atf Dea Bia Usfws Fish & Wildlife WeedFederal Cia Police K9 Patch Subdued Central Intellegence Agency Not Fbi Dc Va Md2 Federal Patches- Noaa/nmfs-dept Of Commerce & Federal Motor Carrier Admin7 Different San Diego County, California Sheriff Patches