Police Badge Numbers

So I just finished watching today’s two episodes of Adam-12 and have a question about police badges. At the end, the TV shows their two badges while the credits run. Pete Malloy’s badge number is 744 (I would think), so that would mean Jim Reed’s is badge 2230 (I think that’s the number). Now because Pete is an Officer III and Jim is still a probationary policeman, I assume that is the reason for the difference in their badge numbers - Pete has been on the job longer so has a lower number (which is why I think those are the badges that belong to them).

But they work in LA - how in the world could Pete have theen the 744th officer hired for the Los Angeles Police Department? The 2230 would make some sense, I suppose, but if you follow my logic here (I know - difficult at best) it would appear that badge numbers are given out in Adam-12 land in the order that people are hired.

In the real world (which is why I am putting this here) how ARE police badge numbers assigned?

This page (http://1adam12-1adam12.com/The_show.html) shows the badge number and service number for both characters. I would guess that badge numbers get reused and service numbers are issued once for each new officer.

It depends. Some agencies re-issue badge numbers, some don’t. The NJ State Police, for instance, don’t re-issue. If there is any question as to seniority simply check the badge number.

They start new numbers every time they change the badge design. See here for past designs.

Any of these answers could be the one depending on agency. Some reissue badge numbers, some don’t, some only use the number as a means of identification and not seniority. Some agencies don’t have badge numbers at all and instead require all officers to have a name tag and identify on that alone.

The department I retired from had custom made badges where the number was the officers initials and day of birth. I.E., mine was PKB31. The agency I work for part-time now has no badge numbers. The space on the shield where there would be a number only has 3 little stars on it. We are required to have a name plate on our right, however.

Each department can basically set its own policy.

Locally, badge numbers are reused. As a result a new hire might have a recycled low badge number. So officer 100 might be a much newer hire than officer 350.

Here an officer keeps the same badge number until he is promoted to the level of Inspector, where he gets a new badge number that begins with A. So A23 is an inspector though officer 23 is a valid badge number for a different officer.

Lastly, volunteer and auxiliary officers are given high badge numbers. The first digit indicates which group.

Joe Friday had LAPD badge number 714. I would have thought he’d have more seniority over Pete Malloy. In the real world that badge number belonged to a close friend (and Dragnet/Adam 12 technical advisor) of Jack Webb.

Thanks, everyone - I appreciate the information!

Friday’s badge was either a sergeant’s or a lieutenant’s badge, which are issued as a different series from the regular badges. So there is no way to equate seniority between the two. But Friday plain out-ranked Malloy in any case.

Just as another data point, we don’t have any badge numbers. In the place where a number would be it just says “NJ”. The old style badges we used to have had numbers. The longest serving patrol officer had badge #1. Everyone else had numbers going up corresponding to our order of seniority. But the important number is our PIN which appears on every report.

Road Troopers in NJ don’t have badges on their uniforms. The only badge they have is a triangle on their hats.

Most police departments in Southern California reuse their badge numbers. As one guy quits or retires, the reissue that badge to the guy that replaces him. In most departments, your “Serial Number” and your “Badge Number” have nothing to do with each other.

LAPD is a different animal. LAPD’s badge numbers are their serial numbers. If you bump into a new LAPD copper, you’ll see a six-digit badge number (seriously). If you see an old guy with a three or four digit badge number, that means that he has been around for a LONG time. LAPD’s new Assistant Chief’s badge number is 903 because he has been with the department for forty years.

In forces that re-issue badge numbers, do they ever retire numbers, like sports teams do with jersey numbers, to honor some extraordinary individual?

Very good question… My gut feeling is that they do.

RIP Officer King https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/sgt-michael-king-a--year-university-city-veteran-is/article_107213a6-45bf-11e0-88d1-00127992bc8b.html

Well, maybe if by “seniority” you simply mean “length of service”. I don’t think promotion to senior ranks is determined strictly on a “first come, first served” basis.

This is, of course, true. Rank or time in grade overrules simple seniority. I’ve seen NJ road troopers (same rank) simply point to their hat badge when it came down to some duty that no one wanted to do but some one had to. High number loses.