It is still there; dangling from a chain slung around my neck. Badge has been there for the last twenty years of a thirty year career. Before it resided on a chain, it graced a dark blue uniform. For the last two decades, display on a uniform has usually been on account of the funeral for a fallen colleague.
Badge has the word “Detective” arched over its top and a number below. Badge’s finish is again worn off due to the natural corrosive action of living against my chest. It’s been refinished before, and it will be again, just before it is encapsulated in a block of clear Lucite. Soon it will reside among a plethora of mementos occupying its own space in my home office display case.
Unlike the mementos of memories, Badge epitomizes the essence and nobleness of the law enforcement career. Badge symbolizes the public’s acknowledgement that a minority of society must be empowered to walk in the dark protecting against the human predators who feast upon the majority.
Actually, I’ve carried two badges. The other one is a flat badge in my wallet. Truth be known, I’ve carried Flat Badge far more than Badge because Flat Badge was always with me, adjacent to my police ID, both on and off-duty. Nevertheless, I don’t have a visceral connection with Flat Badge, and it will be turned in with my other equipment.
Tomorrow I will be issued a new Flat Badge with the word, “Retired.”