11/28/2007

Austin police get 'cool-looking' badges

By Miguel Liscano
The Austin American-Statesman

AUSTIN, Texas For decades, Austin police have used badges that could have been picked out of a catalog and look just like those worn by other city officials such as parking and code enforcement officers.

But by early next year, police officers will get their own badges, the details of which were chosen over three years by a 21-member police equipment committee.

Lt. Craig Cannon , co-chairman of the committee, said the group wanted something unique to Austin that also separated police from looking like other departments.

"It's not just a piece of metal that you put on," he said. "The badge symbolizes that you're willing to do whatever it takes to protect the citizens."

The committee started discussing what the badge would look like in 2004, Cannon said, and the final version was approved Nov. 12 after Police Chief Art Acevedo saw a copy . No other City of Austin departments will be allowed to use the design, Cannon said.

The current badge has an eagle at the top and the City of Austin seal in the middle.

The new badge will bear an image of the state Capitol superimposed over a lone star and a shrunken city seal near the middle.

It will include an officer's employee number instead of the badge inventory number on current versions. And it'll be an inch taller then the old ones.

The new badge will also come in one color scheme: silver and gold. The color of the current ones varies depending on rank, Cannon said.

Cannon said police hope that the new badge will make officers more identifiable, the same way they expect new black and white squad cars to separate the police from everyone else.

Plus, he said, "it's a cool-looking badge, man."

Copyright 2007 Austin American-Statesman

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