NYPD badges

On a recent episode of NYPD Blue, I noticed that our intrepid heroes each have a small sort of snap-closed package underneath the badge he/she wears. Uniformed officers don’t seem to have this item, but instead have a bunch of horizontal bars under the shield. I recently noticed that Sipowics’s badge appears upside down compared to Clark’s. What does this mean? What is inside the closed part of the detectives’ badges and what do the horizontal bars mean?

Around here, police officers wear a shield on the left of the shirt or jacket. Any decorations the officer has earned are worn on the right. A Texas Ranger’s badge really is a star.

So, how do NYPD badges work?

NYPD badges.

Detectives normally carry their badges in a wallet sort of case which also contains their ID. Sometimes, they need the badge exposed for easy view, like at crime scenes. That’s when you see what you describe on NYPD blue, and I have always assumed that upside down vs right side up depends on how it is attached to the clothing. Detectives who are in uniform for whatever reason wear their badges as uniformed officers do. There is another method, usually used by plainclothes officers which involves a case with velcro on one side which is then either worn on a chain around the neck or on the belt.

Looking on silenus’ link, who does/did badge #3100 belong to?

Here’s a link from the NYPD museum that’ll give you a better view of the different “shields”.

(Sorry, silenius, that page took forever to load, and I have cable internet).

It’s got some other interesting pages too . . .

#3100 is just a blank number, which is associated with the old telephone switching station and line number for the City Police HQ: Spring 3100. Over the years, it’s come to represent the NYPD.

Cite and quote:

I’m still more partial to “Pennsylvania 6-5000”.

It seems that doreen’s answer is pretty much on the money.

Accroding to Alan Sepinwall’s NYPD Blue fansite FAQ:

Bill Clark is a former NYPD detective who was the show’s main consultant and the source for many of its epsiode storylines.