SPD Chief orders that badge numbers be “prominently displayed”

Hoping to put a close to the “mourning badge” controversy, this afternoon Seattle police Chief Carmen Best issued an order to all SPD sworn officers directing that mourning badge bands may not obscure badge numbers.


Here is the full text of her directive:

By order of Chief Best,

Mourning bands have deep meaning in law enforcement and are a long-standing way of honoring those who are killed in the line of duty. However, some of the public’s perception is that it is a way of officers to possibly hide their identity, even though name tags are prominently displayed on the outer most clothing. The Department must strike a balance between honoring officers who are killed in the line of duty and our responsibility to maintain the public’s trust.

Effective immediately, all officers will have their badge numbers prominently displayed.

Therefore, when donning a mourning band, it must be placed horizontally so that your badge number is not obscured.

Exception: This does not apply to mourning badges purchased through the Seattle Police Foundation that already have the serial number displayed. 

For the cloth and metal badges without any badge number, the mourning band will be placed above the star so as not to cover it. 

Identification is always prominently displayed with a name tag.

The Department is developing a long-term solution to include badge numbers on all department badges.

At a press conference this afternoon in which she announced the change, Best said that while it takes effect immediately, it may take up to 24 hours for the information to be disseminated across all three SPD shifts and for all officers to come into compliance.

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