Talking about excessive!

I can understand gold plating in areas where there's a "high corrosion" factor, but seriously, is a "solid gold" badge really necessary???? :nono:


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St. Louis Police Chief Wears $5,900 Badge

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008
Updated: December 22nd, 2008 04:25 PM EDT

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By Jeremy Kohler
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


ST. LOUIS - Five finely crafted, gold-filled works of a world-class jeweler are ready to adorn the chests of new St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom and other top cops.

Price tag: $1,987 each - about 100 times the price of a patrolman's badge.

That's a bargain for the St. Louis police, who acknowledged last week that they had paid $5,900 apiece for two solid-gold badges for Isom's predecessor, Joe Mokwa, when he became chief. (Mokwa accepted only one and Isom wears the other.)

The latest badges were a nearly $10,000 line item in a unanimous vote Wednesday by the Board of Police Commissioners to approve December purchases.

That was just hours before the department admitted that it had wrongly kept up to $6 million seized in the arrest of suspects.

Neither issue - the badges or the cache - came up for public discussion. Board approval of the badges was a formality because the department's supply division already had made the no-bid purchase a month ago, according to department records.

At a press conference called Saturday morning after the Post-Dispatch disclosed the purchase on, Isom called the badge expenditures "outrageous." He said there would be no more such spending.

The badges were ready to be picked up Friday from the jeweler, Stange Co., of Maryland Heights, Mo.

Other departments spend far less on brass for their top brass.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jerry Lee's badge cost $110. Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin's cost $48.75.

"We get a lot of compliments on it," Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp said. "No one has ever asked for an upgrade."

Col. James F. Keathley may be superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol but he is the king of thrift. The patrol's uniforms do not include badges. Insignias bearing Keathley's troop and badge numbers cost $3.15 per collar.

Mark Campbell is the police chief of the richest city of at least 1,000 residents in the United States. That's Belvedere, in California's Marin County, where the per capita income is $114,000.

His badge cost $200 - about 2 { times what his officers' badges cost.

"My badge is more ornate," he explained.


Rank and file St. Louis officers wear badges bought for $19.75 apiece from a different supplier.

Badges for top-ranking St. Louis officers are Stange's only law enforcement business.

Stange's owner, Dave, who wouldn't tell a reporter his last name, said Friday that his firm's St. Louis police badges were a good deal, considering the artistry put into them. (Stange's president is listed in a business directory as David Bouchein.)

"They are highly intricate and involved a lot of labor to make them," Dave said. "A lot of labor."


Stange is perhaps best-known for making insignias for clients ranging from Third World monarchs to a religious order in Jerusalem that traces its roots to the First Crusade.

The company says it was hired by the Crown Council of Ethiopia in 2000 to make the Order of Solomon, an 18-karat, gem-studded medal worn by just six people, including Queen Elizabeth II.

Stange's relationship with the St. Louis police goes back 30 years. Dave said Stange used to make all of the St. Louis police badges. But the department more recently has bought standard-issue badges from the lowest bidder.

"I would assume that in other big cities you're going find higher-level badges," Dave said. He suggested calling Los Angeles.

It turns out that Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton wears a badge that costs $61, according to that department's supplier.

Dave could not believe that.

"For $61, I'd hate to see what the quality is," he said. "For a police chief's badge?"


The St. Louis Police Department bought a chief badge, two assistant chief badges and two lieutenant colonel badges.

It needed them because St. Louis officers have been allowed to keep their badges when they retire, said Erica Van Ross, Police Department spokeswoman.

"It had been a long-standing tradition, presumably as an honor to officers who are leaving the department after risking their lives day in and day out," she said.

But she said Isom had now changed that policy so retiring officers could take home a replica, if they paid for it.


The police badges have been in the news before. In 1993, the department was criticized for buying a $2,100 chief's badge.

At the press conference Saturday morning, Isom said the current purchase was "just one more practice of the department that I looked at and knew had to be changed."

"There are historical practices in this department that are broken. The people of St. Louis are counting on me to fix them, and as I find them, I will."


Isom said the badges had been ordered before a purchase order had been issued by the Police Board. A statement from the department said Isom already had "dealt with those responsible for the purchase."

Isom said he would try to find a new vendor for the badges and try to recoup the cost of the new badges.

Chris Goodson, who has been president of the Police Board for four years, said Saturday in a telephone interview that the purchase resulted from the department's supply division ignoring proper procedures. He said the board had no choice but to pay for the badges.

"The full board is extremely unhappy," Goodson said. "We are aware of the poor economy and don't want this sort of thing going on."

Isom already wears a chief's badge - Mokwa took just one of his $5,900 badges with him when the board forced him out in July. The $1,987 gold-filled badge is a backup, in case the solid-gold one breaks, Van Ross said. She said Isom insisted that his second badge not be solid gold, and that he would be open to finding a less expensive vendor.

Assistant Chief Stephen Pollihan and Lt. Col. Roy Joachimstaler are retiring next month. Pollihan gets to take his badge home because he got his papers in before Isom's order. Van Ross said she wasn't clear about Joachimstaler.

So now the department has enough badges for a new assistant chief and lieutenant colonel - and a few backups.


(Nicholas J.C. Pistor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.)

Rank as in stink

I can understand gold plating in areas where there's a "high corrosion" factor, but seriously, is a "solid gold" badge really necessary???? :nono:


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Must be getting old... I used to think that $200 dollar toilet seats were extravagant when Proxmire was watchdog over the Senate.. Now that the Chiefs secret is out, maybe he'll get mugged.:moil::girl_wacko:
That is insane. But then again it is not their money so why should they do any different.:frown:
Must be getting old... I used to think that $200 dollar toilet seats were extravagant when Proxmire was watchdog over the Senate.. Now that the Chiefs secret is out, maybe he'll get mugged.:moil::girl_wacko:

Yeah, but, unlike the citizens he thinks don't need CCW, he has his firearm.

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