The Los Angeles Police Department is going back to 1869 to celebrate its 150th anniversary.
On Wednesday, Police Chief Michel Moore unveiled a commemorative badge that several thousand officers will wear during the final three months of the year. The sunflower-designed badge is a near-replica of the one worn by the department’s first six officers and Chief William Warren in 1869.
Moore revealed the badge to honor the department’s history and to tell the public that more than 2,000 officers and detectives will carry the badges instead of the iconic 1940 badges now worn by 10,000 officers.
“It’s changing over the next three months as we celebrate this occasion of our 150th anniversary,” Moore said. “We want to alert the public that they will see a difference in an officer’s uniform and appearance.”
Moore stressed residents can request to see an officer’s identification card if they’re skeptical of the commemorative badge during an encounter. The identification resembles a credit card and contains the officer’s name, rank, serial number and photo. Badge numbers and serial numbers do not match, he added.
Tax dollars were not used for the badges. Each officer had an opportunity to buy their own.
In 1869, the city of 5,000 formed the department to “instill some law and order” because it was “suffering bouts of violence and all types of prostitution, gambling and disruptions,” Moore said. “This was a frontier city at the time.”
Throughout the 150 years, the department grew as Los Angeles became a world-class city, Moore said. He called the badge unveiling a “good day for the LAPD” and said the department has become “a modern-day example of what policing in America should look like.” He acknowledged that some of the city’s darkest chapters fell on the shoulders of the LAPD.
“We had challenges,” Moore said. “We had setbacks.”