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AMERICA - LAW ENFORCEMENT MEDALS & DECORATIONS

Police use of Federal ribbons

Police, Security

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Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby waltergreen » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:57 pm

Does it bother anyone but me that a significant number of US police forces are using federal military ribbons for their own internal awards? When you look at the ribbon racks of the chiefs of Chicago and Orlando in recent photographs you see a number of identifiable federal ribbons worn by people who do not have the appropriate military service to justify them. I first noticed this in the case of the Orlando chief who was wearing the Air Force Combat Readiness Medal's ribbon - no prior Air Force service time, and not enough military active duty service to have met the requirements if he had served in the Air Force (he served one enlistment as an Army military policeman). A closer look showed that the entire rack was federal ribbons dating back to the occupation of Germany post World War II.

The supposed justification for this practice is that the federal military ribbons are cheaper than buying the metal and enamel ribbons provided a number of vendors of police uniforms. It is an apparently widespread practice. I find it incredibly offensive and an obvious case of misrepresentation.
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Re: Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby Silverturtle » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:52 pm

Or it could be that their awards look similar to the Federal ones.
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Re: Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby dcfowler » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:23 am

The answer is neither. Many police departments allow their officers to wear ribbons earned while in the military on their police uniforms, usually just on formal occasions. See the Los Angeles Police Department for example.

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Re: Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby Silverturtle » Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:12 pm

Well, that makes sense.
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Re: Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby waltergreen » Thu Sep 29, 2016 8:42 pm

Yes, some police departments allow wear of earned federal service medals and decorations. That is not what I am talking about - a mid 40s to 50 year old police chief (in 2016) who served three years as an Army military policeman is not entitled under any interpretation of the applicable award regulations to wear the Air Force Combat Readiness Medal ribbon. Nor could the same individual have qualified for the post World War II Occupation Medals for either Germany of Japan or the American Defense Service medal of World War II. What I am talking about is the widespread wear of military service medals, unit citations, etc. by police officers because their department (admitted in one case in Florida) chooses to purchase military ribbons at the considerably lower price than the price of metal and enamel ribbons marketed by police uniform vendors.
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Re: Police use of Federal ribbons

Unread postby Helios88 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:06 am

waltergreen wrote:Yes, some police departments allow wear of earned federal service medals and decorations. That is not what I am talking about - a mid 40s to 50 year old police chief (in 2016) who served three years as an Army military policeman is not entitled under any interpretation of the applicable award regulations to wear the Air Force Combat Readiness Medal ribbon. Nor could the same individual have qualified for the post World War II Occupation Medals for either Germany of Japan or the American Defense Service medal of World War II. What I am talking about is the widespread wear of military service medals, unit citations, etc. by police officers because their department (admitted in one case in Florida) chooses to purchase military ribbons at the considerably lower price than the price of metal and enamel ribbons marketed by police uniform vendors.

Maybe the local police department has just borrowed the insignia, giving them another meaning; so a policeman may wear an Air Force Combat Readiness Medal AND another ribbon which looks the same BUT is (possibly) a local "good conduct medal" because prices are lower.
Copying federal designs giving them another meaning makes sense to me, especially if a P.D. spends the largest part of its budget buying police equipment or training services.
A possible solution may be those to approve a law which establishes an uniform set of approved decorations through the United States.
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