sheriff's stars

Why do sheriff’s use stars as symbols? Is there some arcane refrence afoot or is it just a nifty symbol of authority?

There are thousands of gifted specialists on the board – and none of you know the answer??

harmon1, I’ve been trawling Net sites until my eyes glazed over, I’ve been flicking encyclopaedia pages 'till the paper cuts got too much. Couldn’t find anything definitive. Can someone recommend this to Cecil as a really good question to answer? Please ?

All I know is (a) can’t find any photos of real Old West sheriff’s with badges. I suspect (in my cynical mind) that that guy-with-a-badge thing is make-believe.

(b) Present day US police departments, and sheriffs, use a variety of stars. Maybe it’s a visual thing, as well as stemming from the Stars-and-Stripes.

© Iceland sheriffs also have a star badge. I can’t seem to get my mind away from the thought that the star is a symbol of authority here.

Oh, and six-pointed stars have a legend of great power, according to a New Age site I blundered into. has this to say on the use of the six- and five-pointed stars in connection with law enforcement. (It isn’t much and, IMNSHO, it overstates the point regarding the pentagram found on officers’ uniforms.)

The Hexagram
The Fivepointed Star

All of the badges visible in Brian O’Neal’s Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters are 5-pointed city marshall badges. I have seen a few 7-point stars, as well.

It is possible that the sheriffs simply began copying the 6-pointed star from each other and it has now become common.