Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jersey Boys

The news today of the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf reminds us of a fact familiar to most of New Jersey’s law enforcement community, but less well known among the general public: General Schwarzkopf’s father, Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr., was the founder and first superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.

Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr.

General Schwarzkopf was best known for his role in the original Gulf War, repelling Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait in 1991. But at the time of General Schwarzkopf's birth in 1934, his father was leading the investigation into the kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh’s infant son, the infamous "Lindbergh Baby" case.

The Lindbergh case drew national attention, culminating in a raucous trial at the Hunterdon County Courthouse in Flemington and leading to the execution of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in 1936.

Both father and son Schwarzkopf were Jersey boys, the father having been born in Newark and the son in Trenton.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Schedule

The Badge Company of New Jersey will be OPEN on Christmas Eve, December 24, but closed on Christmas Day, December 25.  We will then be open the rest of the week, December 26-27-28.

We will be closed on both New Year's Eve, December 31, and New Year's Day, January 1.  We open for 2013 -- our 40th year! -- on January 2.

Best Wishes to all our customers, friends, and families.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What’s That White Stuff? Part II

It has happened again.

In 2010 we blogged about a burglar in South Carolina, where snowfall is not very common, being captured because authorities simply followed his footprints in the snow.

Here in New Jersey, where the season’s first snowstorm has already occurred, earlier this week police arrived at a home after the resident reported that someone had just tried to break into the house by smashing a rear door window.

Officers were told the man had knocked on the front door of the home, and when no one answered, he went to the rear. But the crook fled when the homeowner yelled, according to police.

The officers followed footprints in the freshly fallen snow and found the 26-year-old genius a short distance away, in possession of a hammer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Challenging Circumstances

Berkeley Township, New Jersey, encompasses some of the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Sandy, including both oceanfront and inland areas devastated by the storm. Dealing with a natural disaster of this scope is a challenge for any police agency.

In this photograph, Berkeley Township Police Chief Karin DiMichele uses the p.a. system in a police vehicle to address residents last week, residents who are gathered to obtain passes to go to their property to inspect damage and collect possessions. Yes, as of this writing the portions of Berkeley Township that are on the Island Beach barrier island remain off-limits to residents and property owners, and access is being carefully controlled. There is no electric service, the natural gas service has been turned off pending repairs to damaged gas mains, and roads are damaged and/or blocked by debris.

We know – we have family who are year-round residents of the area, now displaced to a rental property elsewhere.

Photo courtesy of David Gard/The Star-Ledger

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Updates

November 5, 2012:  Our power and our telephones are restored, and we are now operating in a generally normal fashion.  We are getting caught up on shipments and order processing from last week, and we appreciate everyone's patience and understanding.

We have learned that the New Jersey League of Municipalities' conference has been canceled.  This conference, the 97th annual confab for mayors and municipal employees, was scheduled for next week in Atlantic City, and we have been an exhibitor there for decades.  But with so many towns reeling from the effects of the storm, including Atlantic City itself, the League made the right decision.  We'll see you all there next year.

November 1, 2012:  Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, we have been operating on generator power, our telephone service is out, cell phone service is spotty, and internet access comes and goes.  At the moment, it appears that the best way to reach us is via e-mail because we have been able to retrieve e-mail messages via the smartphone.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Extra! Extra!

People have long criticized news organizations of adding sensationalism to stories for the sake of selling more copies or attracting more viewers.

It appears to be true in the case of the headline that appeared today:

Former Cop Convicted of Sex Assault
Does Not Have to Register as Sex Offender, Court Rules

Naturally, a reader’s first thought will be, why does a cop get to avoid this?

But when one reads the story one learns that the whole matter has absolutely nothing to do with the convicted person having been a police officer. He could have been a truck driver, a computer programmer, or a restaurant chef, it would make no difference.

The story is about a sentencing error by the original trial judge, which caused the courts to rule that the sex offender registration requirement under "Megan’s Law" does not apply. The convicted person having been a police officer doesn’t enter into the matter at all.

Perhaps the convicted person having been a police officer had some bearing on the original assault case. But we do not know that by reading the story accompanying this headline.

So why did the headline not read, "Man Convicted of Sex Assault Does Not Have to Register as Sex Offender, Court Rules?"

Because, it appears, stories about bad cops attract readers. Stories about judges who err while issuing a sentence do not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Support Cancer Research and Save!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an annual international health campaign organized to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

In support of this campaign, V.H. Blackinton and the Badge Company of New Jersey are partnering to offer Blackinton’s distinctive Breast Cancer Awareness Badges at a special discounted price during the month of October.

Any order for these badges received between now and October 31, 2012 will earn a 20% discount off the catalog price and free shipping to your US location. In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 10% of the sales will be donated equally to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network and the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.

To order, simply click here to go to our Blackinton Design-A-Badge page, and create your special Breast Cancer Awareness Badges from any of the following seven badge styles.


Then submit your order, and we’ll process it with the 20% discount and the free shipping.

But remember, your order must be in our hands not later than October 31, 2012, for the discount to apply.  All badges ordered by October 31, 2012, will be delivered in time for the Holidays.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Zero to Jail in 3.5 Seconds

In Newark earlier this year a brilliant young man decided to carjack an expensive Porsche 911. Brandishing a gun, he ordered the driver out, and hopped in.

He then promptly stalled the 480-hp turbocharged engine... the engine with the six-speed transmission... the six speed manual transmission... the transmission type that Our Hero had never learned how to drive.

Unable to get the car moving, and with police approaching faster than he was departing, he bailed out of the car.

Despite having a high-powered sports car at his disposal only moments earlier, he was captured after a brief foot chase.

Result? He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another Cop Movie?

Our friends over at Police magazine have given the new movie, "End of Watch," a thumbs-up. This was somewhat surprising to us, since the law enforcement community tends to be a harsh critic of the on-screen portrayals of cops and Hollywood tends to stress explosions, chases, and soap-opera subplots over realism and authenticity.

But Police reports that the former LAPD officer whose experiences form the basis of the film worked closely the screenwriter for "End of Watch" as well as with the lead actors, Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. That officer, Jamie FitzSimons, had direct input on everything from the script and to visual details such the actors’ posture in uniform.

The result, according the Police writer Paul Clinton, is a movie that rings true.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Will He Pleed Not Gilty?

According to the Associated Press, Police in York, Pennsylvania, are searching for a spelling-challenged vandal who hit a central Pennsylvania woman's car with paint over the weekend.

Police say a woman reported Saturday morning that her sport-utility vehicle had been sprayed with white paint. On the driver's side doors an unknown person had scrawled "bicth."

Investigators say the woman also reported a motorcycle was stolen from her property. It was later recovered in a nearby town.

The York police are seeking information on the motorcycle theft and the dyslexic graffiti.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman

From our friends at FMG Publications comes this story of a not-very-successful young criminal here in New Jersey.  Age 27 and armed with a knife, he slipped into an unlocked car outside a store and crouched in the back seat, waiting for the unsuspecting driver to return.

When the driver and a passenger entered the car and settled into the front seats, Our Hero made his move.  Unfortunately for him, the driver immediately turned around and began pummeling the the guy with both fists, while the passenger jumped out and began screaming for help.  The would-be thief was able to escape, but was apprehended shortly thereafter.

His intended victim?  A 94-year-old woman!  The passenger who ran for help?  Her 93-year-old sister.  Neither was injured.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

There's No Car Like a MoPar

Another neat old photo from our friends at Hemmings Motor News, this one of a 1957 Dodge Coronet D-501 two-door sedan as used by the Ohio Turnpike Patrol.

This was arguably the fastest car in the MoPar family at the time, powered by a Hemi V8 with dual Carter WCFB four-barrels, 11.0:1 compression and a claimed 340-hp that was probably a very conservative estimate.

Highway authorities such as the Ohio Turnpike Commission were, at the time, still trying to get a handle on safety issues along the then-new high-speed roads. The overpowered but poor-handling cars of the late 1950s were a great temptation to drivers in post-World War II America, and one obvious answer was hotter police cars.

Here in New Jersey, for example, state troopers assigned to the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway were issued big, Hemi-powered Chryslers.

But the Ohio Turnpike Patrol’s cars were distinctive. Only 56 of the D-501s were built.

By the way, the Ohio Highway Patrol at that time had a separate district headquarters for the turnpike and a specific number of "patrolmen," not "troopers," who were assigned to that district.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Everyone’s Favorite Sheriff

The news that Andy Griffith had died earlier today reminds us that his Sheriff Taylor, while fictional, had a tremendous positive impact on the image of law enforcement.

Yes, Deputy Barney Fife was a cartoon and the Andy Griffith Show was never about cops and robbers. But in the midst of the gentle comedy in a fictional small North Carolina town was a sheriff with wisdom, compassion, and heart.

Griffin first achieved fame with a brilliant spoken monologue, What It Was, Was Football, in the 1950s, and eventually starred in more than two dozen movies and in a total of five television series. He did both comedic and dramatic roles, and he was a gospel singer.

But it was Sheriff Andy Taylor, as portrayed on the Andy Griffith show beginning in 1960 and continuing in reruns to this day, for which Griffith is best known and by which generations of people met their first small-town sheriff.
You can listen to Griffith’s spoken monologue, What It Was, Was Football, here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Much More Than a Pretty Face

In our society there is still a tendency to think of a police officer as a big strapping male, not as a beautiful woman.  But women have been serving for a long time, and serving with distinction.

One such woman is Denver, Colorado, Officer Celena Hollis.

Officer Hollis transferred to the Denver Police Department in 2005 after serving with the Detroit Police Department as a patrol officer and member of the street crime unit. She has been recognized numerous times for her service to the community, and served as the president of the Denver Police Department 's Black Police Officers Organization.

But recently a 21-year-old gang member shot Officer Hollis in the head while she attempted to break up a fight at a jazz concert. She succumbed to her wounds from the shooting, leaving behind a 12-year-old daughter.

The Denver Police Department issued a statement that read in part, "She was an amazing person with an engaging smile who was well liked and respected by her colleagues and the community she served."

We know her only by her record of service and that engaging smile as seen in the photo, and we can only shake our heads in sadness over this miserable crime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

26 Years and Counting

For the 26th consecutive year, the Badge Company of New Jersey will be an exhibitor at the Police Security Expo in Atlantic City, June 26 & 27.  Come visit us in Booth #1522!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

They Seemed Like Such a Nice Couple

What is this officer doing?

He is responding to, um, a domestic matter.

Yesterday a woman in Wisconsin aired the [former] couple’s dirty laundry in the front yard, placing two plywood signs on the lawn, one reading "X-HUSBAND SALE" and the other reading "FREE." Surrounding the signs was a large scattering of objects, presumably belonging to the ex- or soon-to-be-ex husband.

The sight caught the attention of passers by, and in this age of cell phone cameras it wasn’t long before the images were appearing on Facebook. Just as quickly, TV and radio news teams began to arrive.

Also arriving were the police. Since the scene included a GMC Yukon with slashed tires and covered in graffiti with vulgar language, the police intervened. We’ve chosen not to post a photo of the Yukon.  By later that afternoon the vehicle, with its graphic messages reinforcing the views of a woman scorned, had been removed from the property.

We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: In police work, you never know what the next call will bring.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Model Officer

Whether or not you are in law enforcement, you have likely seen this famous painting by American illustrator Norman Rockwell.

What we did not know – and we’ll bet you didn’t, either – is that Rockwell used an actual police officer to pose for the painting. We learned this today when our friends at POLICE magazine passed along the news that the Massachusetts trooper depicted had died this past Sunday at the age of 83.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, Richard Clemens was a 29-year-old trooper when Rockwell, his neighbor in Stockbridge, asked him to pose for the painting. The illustration appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1958.

The Massachusetts trooper is depicted sitting at a diner with a young boy in Rockwell's iconic painting, "The Runaway." 

From the Boston Globe we learn that the boy, too, is an actual person, named Ed Locke, and that he and Trooper Clemens because friends as a result of their association with Rockwell.

All these years, and we thought it was simply an illustration.

Below is a photo of Trooper Clemens and the painting taken in 2001.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Meredith Motorcycle Museum

From our friends at Hemmings Motor News comes this photo of a vintage NYPD "riot bike," from the archives of the American Police Motorcycle Museum in Meredith, New Hampshire.

At the museum, police bikes from as early as 1917 are on display, along with a few select police cars. The collection is dominated by Indian and Harley-Davidson models, but there are others as well. Several military vehicles round out the collection.

The museum has a large collection of period police uniforms on display, many of which are placed on mannequins straddled across the bikes. A movie theater loops vintage police training reels as well as clips from early Movietone newsreels and film.

The American Police Motorcycle Museum will be opening for the season in May; you can visit their website for hours and entrance fees. Group tours are available and active military service people are admitted free with a paid accompanying guest.

The museum is located on U.S. Route 3 (194 Daniel Webster Highway) just south of the intersection with New Hampshire Route 104, the museum is only a few miles north of Weirs Beach and a few blocks south of the Meredith Harley-Davidson dealership.

The photo below, also from the museum’s archives, shows a women’s motorcycle unit in San Francisco during World War II.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Buchlein Badges

One of the better-known badge manufacturers in our region was the Buchlein Badge Company of Newark, New Jersey. Also known as H. Buchlein, the company was founded in the 1800s and many agencies used Buchlein badges. Many agencies still have Buchlein badges in service today. But Buchlein went out of business in 2003.

The photo shows a nearly 100-year-old Buchlein badge for the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

So what to do if you still have Buchlein badges? Well, the good news is that when Buchlein closed up it was acquired by Smith & Warren and merged with Smith & Warren’s operation. Today virtually all of the Buchlein styles remain available under the Smith & Warren name.

Since the Badge Company of New Jersey is a distributor for Smith & Warren products, a call to us will get you the badge you need.

And what if you need repairs made to an older Buchlein badge? There’s good news there, too. Buchlein badges do not carry the lifetime warranty like the new badges, but many basic repairs can be performed for a reasonable price.

Better yet, the Badge Company of New Jersey accepts old Buchlein badges under our exclusive badge "trade-in" program, so that you can get a discounted price on a new badge.

As we say, "We’ve Got Your Badge."

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

It's For You

Here is a story of a clueless and luckless crook not far from our offices.

Drunk from a St. Patrick Day party, for reasons that have not been explained this guy was reportedly "tossed out of a car" in the early hours of this past Sunday.

For reasons also not explained, he then decided tried to break in to the nearest house. He tried the credit card trick to jimmy the door lock, albeit it with a gift card rather than a credit card. This failed, however, due to the presence of a deadbolt lock.

Coincidentally, the homeowner soon arrived, returning home from his overnight shift on the local police force!

Among the things the homeowner discovered was the gift card still in the door. He called his colleagues, and while he and a fellow officer were searching the area, a cell phone rang.

The sound of the cell phone was coming from under a table on the deck, which had a winter cover over it. The officers found the would-be burglar under the table.

The drunken fool now has a somewhat more comfortable place to sober up: The county jail, with bail set at $25,000.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's a Living

What are these two Jersey City police officers doing?

It may appear that they are simply standing by idly, but they are in fact doing their jobs. Under a contract between the police and the producers of the lowbrow television series Jersey Shore, these officers are standing watch over the house of Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Jenni "JWoww" Farley.

The contract requires the police to watch not only the house but also the cars of the Jersey Shore duo. This is true even when the two women of dubious virtue are not even there. Given all the attention being paid to the show and to its pseudo-celebrities, the potential for vandalism is real.

If this house were across the street from ours we would not give it a second glance, but it appears that there are plenty of people for willing to trek there for an experience related to so-called reality TV.

This is not a "golden age of television."

Photo courtesy of The Jersey Journal

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Buddy Can You Spare a Few Million?

We have blogged previously about Carbon Motors, the Indiana-based company that has been planning to build its own unique diesel-powered police car.
This week, the company was denied a Department of Energy loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, a program created under President George W. Bush and continued with President Barack Obama. It is intended to provide capital to the automotive industry for backing vehicles that meet higher mileage requirements and lessen the country's dependence on foreign oil.
Carbon Motors’ plans have been ambitious. Production of the E7 police vehicle was supposed to begin this year, and the company claims to have interest in the car from more than 500 law-enforcement agencies. But the denial of this loan will be damaging if not crippling to those plans.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Badge of Life

Since our founding in 1974, the Badge Company of New Jersey has partnered with the most respected manufacturers in the industry, to bring you the greatest availability of badge styles and features. In addition to offering our own line of custom badges, we carry the complete lines of products from these partners – more than any other badge source.

One of our partners is Smith & Warren, and this year, Smith & Warren has introduced The Badge of Life, a badge designed exclusively for EMS professionals.

The Badge of Life is a distinctive design that features the star of life positioned at the top of the badge and a custom center seal that reflects the EMS professional’s pledge to Save, Serve, and Respect.

Two models are available that have either a solid metal star of life polished and electroplated to a brilliant silver or gold finish, or a classic blue star of life finished with the highest quality hard-fired cloisonné enamel.

With a variety of finishes, attachments, lettering and EMS center seal options, The Badge of Life can be customized to meet individual needs. Using Smith & Warren’s Visualbadge technology customers can also customize and preview The Badge of Life right here on the web site of the Badge Company of New Jersey. Just specify style S623 for The Badge of Life with a polished metal star or style S623E for the Badge of Life with an enameled star.
Smith & Warren, The Badge of Life, and Visualbadge are registered trademarks of Smith & Warren.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Good News

In today’s news, an abject tragedy and a small measure of justice.

The tragedy was the school bus crash in South Jersey this morning that badly injured more than a dozen elementary school students and killed one of them, an 11-year-old girl. That she was the daughter of a New Jersey State Trooper only makes the pain greater.

The small measure of justice was the conviction today of the killer of Lakewood police officer Christopher Matlosz. Matlosz was executed as he sat in his patrol car last year.

But a murderer’s conviction is small comfort on a day when we are reminded of last year’s tragedy on the heels of today’s heartbreak.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chargers in the Fleet?

If your agency has any Dodge Chargers in the fleet, you may want to know that Chrysler is recalling approximately 9,688 Charger police cars from the 2011 and 2012 model years.

The recall is to replace the headlamp jumper wire harnesses and to change and relocate an anti-lock brake/electronic stability control component. The problems identified in the recall could cause the low beams to fail and for some vehicles to lose their antilock brakes or stability control.

Chrysler says it is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the problem, but who wants to lose the headlights or antilock brakes in police service?

The text of the Chrysler’s report to NTHSA reads in part, "Some police vehicles may have been built with headlamps that could experience a loss of low beam operation as a result of an overheated bulb harness connector while others may experience a loss of ABS/ESC system function as a result of an overheated power distribution center bus bar."

Apparently the failures have been observed under the severe-service conditions to which police vehicles are subjected. According to a Chrysler rep, extended periods of idling, and hard driving when used as training vehicles for police have exposed the problem.

The recall is said to affect certain Charger models built between January of 2010 and December of 2011.

The company plans to notify owners and dealers during March. Service centers will replace the headlight jumper harness and relocate the ABS/ESC system fuse free of charge.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sarasotan Seeks Sheriff’s Sedan

You wouldn’t happen to have a car like this one, would you?

It’s a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, decked out as a police car, and the vice president of the Sarasota (Florida) County Lodge No. 45 of the Fraternal Order of Police is looking for one.

The lodge is spearheading a project to find and restore a car that will match the ones first used by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office nearly 60 years ago. Once the restoration is complete, the vehicle will be donated to the agency for various public uses.

Kevin Lynch, the VP of the lodge and a retired Sarasota County Sheriff’s lieutenant, is a dyed-in-the-wool "car guy" (we know the type!) and he is in charge of the project. The Sheriff’s first fleet of four vehicles consisted of 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air 150s, although they were two-door sedans, not four-doors like the car in the photo.

Not only was 1953 the first year that the Sheriff’s Office had cars, it was also the first year that its four officers had uniforms! The county was far more rural then than it is today. "Basically," said Lynch in a recent interview, "there were no humans south of Route 72, just cattle and fruit." That situation is very different today.

The lodge is seeking more than just a lead on a vehicle. It is seeking funding. Tax-deductible contributions to this project can be sent to The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, P. O. Box 49587, Sarasota, FL 34230-6587, marked for the antique patrol car project.

The FOP is also looking for in-kind services and donations such as labor and supplies needed for the project, and possibly the vehicle itself. Storage space will also be needed for the vehicle as well as initial transportation to Sarasota. If you can help, contact Lynch here. You can learn more about this project by visiting the web site of the lodge here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Price of Addiction

The news comes today of a veteran police officer in our area pleading guilty to charges that he stole cocaine from his department’s evidence room for his personal use while he was serving as the evidence officer.

For this the officer faces up to three years in prison and must serve two before he is eligible for parole. He will be banned from holding any public job in New Jersey and he will forfeit his pension.

The price of addiction.

There are those who argue that police officers should be "held to a higher standard." Well, if jail time plus being barred from employment in your field plus forfeiture of a pension earned over the course of a 22-year career isn’t a higher standard, we don’t know what is.