Florence Police Department honors its international history with new badge

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A badge is more than just decoration. They’re a link to local history that resonates with the community at large. The 110 officers in the Florence Police Department in Florence, Alabama, understood this all too well. It’s what led them to redesign their department’s badge from the ground up.

“Chief Tyler believed the time had come for Florence to upgrade to something more emblematic of its past.”

The story behind the switch In the eyes of Police Chief Ron Tyler, Florence’s rich international background and diverse citizenry sparked a need for an update. Formerly, officers wore a traditional eagle-top shield. Though his team felt a close connection with the badge’s simplicity, Chief Tyler believed the time had come for Florence to upgrade to something more emblematic of a new era in policing and a change in philosophy, while holding true to the rich heritage found in Northwest Alabama. Moreover, he also sought a badge that showcased the identity of his unique department. After all, not every city in the U.S. is Florence, Alabama. As such, Chief Tyler wanted a badge demonstrating how his officers and his community stand out among all others. “Our new badge symbolizes our oath and responsibility to be protectors, defenders and peacekeepers to the people of Florence,” said Chief Tyler. Features from around the globe The Florence Police Department decided on a Sil-Ray oval with a Gol-Ray fleur-de-lis, a symbol calling back to French settlers immigrating to Alabama centuries before the land was even recognized as a state. The U.S. annexed the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The fleur-de-lis has survived ever since, acting as a token of connection to the state’s diverse heritage. France isn’t the only country represented on the Florence Police Department’s new badge. The city of Florence, Alabama, was named after the famous Italian city by the same moniker. To honor Florence’s Italian legacy, three words sit across each of the three prongs of the fleur-de-lis: “servizio,” “onore” and “ezzellenza.” These inscriptions translate to, “service, honor and excellence,” which are the core values instilled in every office of the department. Olive branches accent the badge’s border on both sides, representing the peacekeeping function of professional peace officers. However, the Florence Police Department’s new badge design also possesses many inherently American features. The two crossed flags – one American, the other being Alabama’s state flag – stamped into the body of the badge harken back to an earlier Florence Police patch design from the 1950s and represent its officers’ oath to uphold the both United States and Alabama Constitutions. The new badge also includes the state coat of arms front and center, integrated into the fleur-de-lis and the Italian engravings. Obviously, local history holds a place of prominence in Florence, as evidenced through the department’s choice of customization. “The badge serves as a constant and visual daily reminder that with authority comes great responsibility to our citizens,” said Tyler.

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