Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Out of His Pocket, II

It has happened again, and like the first time, this post is aimed at the cop-haters out there.

Recently we blogged about an officer who, instead of writing a ticket for a child not secured in a car seat, bought the young mother a car seat with his own funds.

Today, from our friends at POLICE magazine we learned of a mother who was caught shoplifting eggs at a Dollar General store in Alabama, this past Saturday.  But instead of arresting her, the responding officer bought the eggs for her.  Out of his pocket.

The woman had her young children in the car.  She told Officer William Stacy that she was only stealing because she was trying to feed her children.  He was confident that she was telling the truth, and so he spoke with Dollar General, which agreed not to prosecute.  Officer Stacy then said to the woman, “If I give you these eggs, will you promise that you won't shoplift anymore?”

He bought the eggs and gave them to her.  And the woman, instead of being saddled with an arrest and potentially resentful of the police, asked if she could give Officer Stacy a hug.

Postscript: We are well aware of the irony in the juxtaposition of our post just below this one, which speaks of better economic times, with this post concerning a young mother who felt the need to resort to stealing to feed her family.  Things may indeed be getting better – we sincerely hope so – but things are not yet as good as they could be.

A Milestone

Today, December 10, we marked a milestone here at the Badge Company of New Jersey:  We have exactly doubled our badge sales of last year.

This is exciting for us, and not just because more sales means more profit.  This dramatic increase is, we hope, an indicator of better economic times overall.  Sure, we would like to say that the increase is due to our great products and the attention to detail that other badge suppliers don't offer, but we truly hope that there is more to it, that it is part of an overall better economy.

Our sales numbers have been increasing each year since the "great recession" hit in 2008, and our 2014 sales are up across all our product lines, not just badges.  We will be going into 2015 with renewed optimism, for ourselves and for all businesses nationwide.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Uniform and the Cars Have Changed

Here is a neat photo from more than 60 years ago.  Mendham Borough Police Officer Walter Smith – known around town as Smitty – talks baseball with two young lads, identified only as Bobby and Jack, alongside a Chevrolet patrol car circa 1952.  (Click the picture for an enlarged view.)

The location should be familiar to anyone who travels through Mendham with any frequency, as the building in the background still stands, essentially unchanged, on a downtown corner.

Smitty went on to rise through the ranks, attaining the position of Chief in Mendham Borough, from which he retired.  He was a well-liked and well-respected figure in the town.  Today he enjoys retirement in a senior residence not far from his old jurisdiction, and this photograph, along with others and a commemorative badge that we are producing, are being gathered as a tribute to his service.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Career GONE at Age 23

In the news today is a report that a part-time Class II police officer in a small town has been suspended without pay following a charge that last month he shot his own police car with a personal handgun and then radioed in that the car had been fired upon.

Naturally, the response to the radio call was significant, but once investigators completed their work they concluded that the officer fired a single shot through the windshield from the outside.

Having been with this particular police department for approximately a year, this individual will be able to look back at that year as being his entire police career.

It is of course possible that the conclusions of the investigators are incorrect, or that there was some compelling reason for the young officer’s actions, either of which could change the outcome of this story.  But we rather doubt it.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A League of Their Own

This week, November 18-19-20, we’ll be exhibiting at the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ annual conference in Atlantic City.  It’s the 99th annual event, and while we have not been there from the beginning we have been there for decades.

If you are a municipal, county, or state employee attending the conference, stop by our booth in space 240 and say hello to Bob, Sue, Lou and Tom.  Check out our latest products, pick up our new brochure, and grab a free lanyard.

To learn more about the conference, visit the League’s web site at

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Think Quick!

Pop Quiz: What kind of gun is this?

It’s not a gun at all, it’s a cordless drill.  But this past summer when a California woman behaving erratically and brandishing this item failed to follow police orders to drop it, the result was that she was shot fatally by one of the responding officers – who thought that it was a gun.

Of course, internet message boards were soon awash in mindless criticism of the police.  But any honest person will admit that, seeing a disturbed person waving this item around, they too would guess that it might be a gun -- particularly if they had only a few seconds with which to make the determination.

This shooting, like all fatal shootings involving otherwise innocent civilians, was tragic.  But the extent to which it was an unavoidable shooting is found in the appearance of this drill.  Most cordless drills are brightly-colored and stylish.  Why this one is matte black and so thoroughly gun-shaped is known only to the manufacturer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Today’s Charming Gentleman

In the news today is a report from a local police department concerning the arrest of a guy for threatening his ex-girlfriend with a machete.

According to the police, this charmer had a domestic dispute with the lady, during which she locked herself inside his vehicle.  He then took a machete out of the car's trunk – doesn’t everyone’s car have a machete in the trunk? – and smashed out the driver's side window.

The ex-girlfriend then ran off but Mister Congeniality gave chase, wielding the machete and swinging it at her several times.

The victim told police that when her former beau heard police sirens, he stopped pursuing her and tried to flee.  But the responding officers located him and placed him under arrest, charged with aggravated assault.

The police report noted that the machete has been secured as evidence.  Thankfully, there were no machete wounds on the woman to be documented.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Out of His Pocket

This post is aimed at anyone visiting this page who may be a cop-hater.  Ponder this:

In Michigan this past weekend, Emmett Township Public Safety Officer Ben Hall was on his patrol Saturday when he pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation.

He then noticed a small child in the car who was wearing a seat belt but not in a child's car seat. The young mother told Officer Hall that she understood the importance of having the child in a car seat, but could not afford one because of her limited income.

Rather than give the woman a traffic ticket, Officer Hall had her pull into a Walmart parking lot, where he went inside and purchased a child seat for her.

It bears repeating:  Rather than give the woman a traffic ticket, he purchased a child seat for her.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are the Inmates Running the Asylum?

In the news currently is the controversy over small Goddard College in Vermont having invited Mumia Abu-Jamal to be a serve as a graduation speaker.  Those opposed to the invitation are on solid footing:  Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981 and is anything but repentant.

There has been a long-standing controversy surrounding Abu-Jamal’s trial and conviction, and while both have withstood numerous appeals, our purpose here is not to debate that aspect of the matter.  Rather, our attention is on the small note in the news articles about the Goddard invitation, which states that “The students decided on Abu-Jamal to deliver the address.”

If the students selected Abu-Jamal, what does that tell us about the quality of the education they have received and the values they have been taught?  Being open to opposing viewpoints is one thing, giving a platform to an unrepentant cop-killer is another.

This same note indicating that Abu-Jamal was selected by the students reminds us of the protests against Rutgers having chosen Condoleeza Rice as a commencement speaker not long ago.  Student protests at Rutgers resulted in Rice being replaced.  Rice’s crime?  Being associated with the administration of George W. Bush and it’s Iraq policy.

See we see in the Rutgers case an example of students being closed to opposing viewpoints, and we see in the Goddard case an example of students embracing a felon.  Neither reflects the mature thinking that colleges and universities are supposed to foster.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Lordy, Lawtey! Where’s Waldo?

The City Council of a small Florida town named Waldo has voted to disband its police department following controversy surrounding the department’s speed enforcement operations.

Waldo is located along US Route 301, a busy north-south road that runs on a diagonal between the Jacksonville area and Gainesville, Ocala, and points further south.  Having gained notoriety as a genuine “speed trap,” ensnaring snowbirds, Florida football fans, and just plain folk, the Waldo City Council voted 4-to-1 in late September to eliminate the department not long after both the chief and interim chief resigned because of state investigations into departmental corruption and an illegal ticket quota.

Route 301 is a multi-lane highway, and when approaching Waldo the speed limit changes from 65 to 55 to 45 to 35 over a very small distance, catching inattentive drivers in great numbers.  While a 35-mph speed limit is unreasonable for a highway such as US Route 301 in Waldo, the controversy appears not to be rooted in the posted speed limit.  We have seen nothing to indicate that the speed limits themselves are being challenged.  Instead, the focus has been on enforcement methods and departmental corruption.

For the moment at least, the county sheriff’s office is providing policing for the town.

But not far up Route 301 from Waldo is the even smaller town of Lawtey, which has similarly earned a widespread reputation as a speed trap.  So far at least, Lawtey seems to have avoided allegations of departmental corruption, although at least one individual officer was accused of offering to take cash payment on the spot from speeders.

We have traveled through Waldo and Lawtey on numerous occasions, and we have so far not been cited for speeding.  We attribute this to the ample signage alongside the road leading into the towns, and to the fact that our vehicles are equipped with what a family member once dubbed a “factory-installed radar detector” – a speedometer.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Cop Killer as Bad as Any

A municipal police officer in the New Jersey town of Oceanport died Friday after a one-year battle with cancer.

Any such passing is a sad occasion, but this one is particularly painful:  Officer Patrick Gornik was only 26 years of age.

He was a lifelong resident of Oceanport and had served with the borough's police department since January, 2013.  His diagnosis came only a few months after graduating from the academy, and his death is one of those that makes us curse cancer even more than before.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Riding in the Car Car

Folk singer Woody Guthrie’s song “Riding in my Car” includes the musically catchy line, “Take me riding in the car, car,” and is generally thought of as a children’s song.

A 39-year-old man was arrested by Fontana, California, police after he must have heard that song and taken the “car, car” lyrics literally.  He is alleged to have stolen a Ferrari, twice.

The car was reported stolen and officers encountered the thief at a DUI checkpoint, from which he fled.  The pricey vehicle was subsequently found abandoned and was taken to a local impound. A day later, the suspect is said to have broken into the impound facility and stolen the Ferrari for a second time.

He was located by detectives last Thursday, still driving the stolen Ferrari, and he now faces a number of charges.

Maybe they will send him to jail, jail.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

3,000 Lives Saved

Through 2007 The Badge Company of New Jersey sold several brands of police body armor – what the general public calls “bulletproof vests.”  We are always tweaking our product offerings, and at the end of that year we discontinued offering body armor, primarily due to the amount of field work necessary to measure and fit the products.

In the years since there has been ongoing improvement in the design and manufacture of body armor, including enhancements to the process of fitting an individual officer.  But no recent improvement comes close to what was accomplished years earlier by Stephanie L. Kwolek, a DuPont chemist who invented the technology behind Kevlar.

Kevlar, the lightweight but incredibly strong fabric – lighter and stronger than steel – has been incorporated into body armor since 1975, and DuPont estimates that over one million Kevlar-reinforced police vests have been manufactured since then.

More significantly, Kevlar-reinforced police vests have been credited with saving the lives of some 3,000 individual officers.

We say all this because last month the obituary appeared for Kwolek, who died at age 90.  Her research that led to Kevlar began in the early 1960s, when she was part of a team at DuPont’s research laboratory in Delaware that was trying to develop a lightweight fiber that would be strong enough to replace the steel used in radial tires.

As is often the case in scientific research, Kwolek’s results were a product of hard work, perseverance, trial-and-error, and luck.  When she finally was able to produce an unusually stiff fiber in the mid-60s, that fiber proved to be many times stronger than steel of equal weight, and resistant to fire.

DuPont quickly recognized the market potential and in the years since we have seen Kevlar used in a wide range of products, including police and firefighter gear and in the cut-resistant search gloves that remain among our product offerings.

Given the remarkable performance of the fiber she invented, given her accomplishments at a time when women in science were few and far between, and given the number of lives saved and still being protected by her discovery, it is only fitting that we pay our respects to Stephanie L. Kwolek.

In this photo from 2007, Stephanie L. Kwolek is wearing gloves made with Kevlar.
Photo courtesy The News Journal/Jennifer Corbet.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Into the Second Century

Weyhing Brothers Manufacturing Company has been making badges in Detroit for over 100 years, and now that century-long tradition will continue with the acquisition of the company by Smith & Warren.

The Badge Company of New Jersey is a factory-direct distributor for Smith & Warren, and so the distinctive badge styles made by Weyhing Brothers are available from the Badge Company of New Jersey.

Smith & Warren itself is no newcomer to the industry, dating back to 1925. (The Badge Company of New Jersey is the baby of the group, having been founded in 1974.)

The bulk of Weyhing Brothers’ business has been badges for Detroit and other Michigan agencies, but the company also served agencies nationwide. Those agencies are now assured of continuing availability of their unique badges. The Weyhing Brothers’ tooling and dies have been moved into Smith & Warren’s production facilities in Westchester County, New York, USA.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Marathon Man

It’s not a very good photo, but this particular police officer was not posing for photos.  He was running a marathon.  In full uniform.  Including body armor.

He is officer Israel Deutsch of the Hobart-Lawrence (Wisconsin) Police Department, and he wore his uniform and carried all his standard gear in the marathon to raise money and awareness for the families of police officers killed in the line of duty.

“It's basically about honoring and the memory of law enforcement killed so it doesn't matter how long it takes me. I'm not sure how long it's going to take me, but that's all it's about,” Deutsch was quoted as saying.

As it turned out, it took him 4 hours and 24 minutes to complete the 26.2-mile distance.

In case you the reader are not yourself in law enforcement, wearing the full uniform, gear, and body armor adds more than 12 pounds of weight, not to mention the added restrictions on movement and cooling as compared to a runner’s standard attire.

Officer Deutsch may have completed the marathon but he’s not done yet.  He says he'll continue to honor fallen law enforcement officers when he enters a September Iron Man event in Madison.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

To Protect and Serve!

It has been reported that the East Chicago Police Department is offering the use of its headquarters parking lot and lobby for residents looking for a safe place to conduct transactions arranged online.  They will even have a police officer present, if you wish.

What a great idea!  We have all seen and heard the stories of Craigslist-related assaults and robberies, where victims are lured to locations with the promise of a purchase or sale.

The East Chicago Police call it “Operation Safe Sale.”  We call it an excellent service to the community.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not Worth the Paper It's Printed On

Earlier this month the US Department of Justice issued a report asserting that the Albuquerque Police Department has established a pattern and practice in the use of excessive and fatal force that violates the Constitutional rights of those shot or injured by police officers.

The DoJ reviewed 20 fatal shootings by Albuquerque Police between 2009 and 2013 and concluded that in the majority of cases the level of force used was not justified because the person killed by police did not present a threat to police officers or the public. The DoJ also reviewed the use of nonlethal force involving significant harm or injury to people by APD officers and concluded that there was a similar pattern of excessive force and lack of justification.

Naturally, this has stirred up quite a controversy in New Mexico, with strongly held opinions and high emotions on all sides.  There have been anti-police protests, pro-police rallies, raucous confrontations, solemn news conferences, and little agreement.

But now, some dimbulb has begun circulating flyers in the city that read “Save a Life, Kill a Cop.”

From nearly 2,000 miles away we can hardly claim to be well acquainted with all the issues in Albuquerque.  But we can sum up those flyers in three words:  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Deja Shoe

Today we learned of a criminal who apparently knows only one crime:  Robbing a shoe store.  One specific shoe store.

In 1999 he robbed the Stride Rite shoe store in Toms River, an act for which he was arrested, charged, and convicted.  He then served 15 years in jail.

His 15 year sentence was completed last week and he was released.  A free man, the very next day he returned to the same Stride Rite store and robbed it again.

An act for which he was arrested, will be charged shortly if not already, and in all likelihood will be convicted.  Unless he pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.  Which is plausible.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Two for the Price of One

A while back we wrote about a guy who was arrested twice in the same day.

Today we have a new story about a bright light who was not only arrested twice in the same day, he was arrested the second time without having left police headquarters following the first arrest.

The first arrest was the result of officers responding to a call concerning a fight, at which Our Hero was taken into custody and charged with possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.  The weapon in question was a crowbar and the unlawful purpose was threatening another man with bodily harm.

Once processed for the arrest and released, this rocket scientist began threatening two of the officers who had arrested him.  Belligerent, he was taken back into custody and charged with a disorderly persons offense for the loud and threatening behavior.

This time, instead of being process and released, he was taken to jail and held on $1,500 bail.

We should note, while oftentimes the subject of one of these dumb criminal stories is a younger person, this guy was AARP-eligible at age 55.  How he made it to 55 with his demonstrated capacity for rational thought, we don’t know.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why the Word "Idiot" was Invented

This week in southern New Jersey a 18-year-old whiz kid arrived for a court hearing while in possession of 43 bags of heroin.

For this, and unrelated to the reason for his scheduled court appearance, he was charged with possession of heroin and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute.  He was given lodging at the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

Calling this guy “stupid” is being polite.  And yet, we have a certain appreciation for morons who save the police the trouble of apprehending them on the street.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Tragic Coincidence

On Monday of this week, two separate incidents occurred in Morris County (where the Badge Company of New Jersey was based for many years), each of which claimed the life of a retired NYPD officer, both of whom served in the borough of Staten Island, both of whom had been honored during their careers for actions in apprehending armed suspects, and each of whom was within a year of the other's age.

The first incident was a highway crash on Route 80 in Parsippany Monday afternoon that killed 52-year-old Peter McPolin, a retired NYPD Sergeant.

The second incident was an apparent domestic dispute Monday evening in Flanders that resulted in the shooting death of 51-year-old Patrick Gilhuley, a retired officer with the NYPD Housing Division.

The coincidences are many, the circumstances tragic.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Remembering an Innovator

“Scared Straight” was an Oscar-winning documentary from 1978, filmed inside East Jersey State Prison – then known as Rahway State Prison.

The film depicted a group of young offenders and their court-ordered meeting with convicts living in the prison.  Over the course of the film, the group of inmates, all serving life sentences and calling themselves the “Lifers,” transformed the swaggering and self-confident criminals-in-the-making into frightened teenagers with an entirely new outlook on their futures.

The Lifers accomplished this by pulling no punches.  In a brutally candid meeting, the Lifers berated and terrified the youths in an attempt to scare them out of pursuing a life of crime.

It was groundbreaking, and it was highly effective.

This past weekend, one of the prime movers behind the program and the film, died.  Former Woodbridge police Chief Anthony W. O’Brien passed away at the age of  87.

Chief O'Brien joined the Woodbridge Police Department in 1957 and was appointed deputy chief in 1972. In 1974, he was appointed chief and served as chief until his retirement in 1991.

Along with Judge George Nicola and correctional officials at the prison, O’Brien helped created the Lifers Program from which the original "Scared Straight" was filmed.

The film inspired sequels and a television series.  The original "Scared Straight” film can be found on YouTube.  It stands the test of time.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Last Gasp of Carbon Motors

We thought that we had heard the last of Carbon Motors, about which we have blogged previously, when the company went belly-up last year after the US Department of Energy rejected its request for a $310-million loan.

But there remains one final nail to be put in the coffin, and that nail is an auction of the company’s assets – including the operational but not street-legal prototype of the E7 police car, the only one ever built. The car is going to auction on January 23, according to Indianapolis-based Key Auctioneers.

The E7 was to be a purpose-built police car, rather than being a modified regular production car.  The company claimed that it surveyed thousands of law enforcement officers and incorporated their ideas into the design, including cutaway seats that accommodate police officers' bulky gear, rear-hinged rear doors for safer suspect insertion, a rear compartment that could be washed out with a hose, and a twin turbo-charged six cylinder diesel engine intended to take the E7 to a top speed of over 150 mph while delivering fuel efficiency 40% greater than existing police cruisers.

The company further claimed to have received upwards of 20,000 commitments to buy the car once production began, from agencies in every state and from dozens of foreign countries.  Production was to take place in a former Visteon plant in Connorsville, Indiana.

But now, the sole E7 will be offered at auction along with other Carbon Motors assets, including intellectual property, computers and a trade show booth.  Since the company listed $21.7 million in liabilities in its Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, it seems unlikely that the sale of the E7 and the other assets will pay off the full amount.  This despite the company’s attorney stating that the car is being marketed to "very well moneyed car enthusiasts" such as comedian Jay Leno.

If someone as visible as Jay Leno ends up with the car then we will certainly be seeing it again... but not on patrol.