Do you know a police officer who carries a challenge coin around? The reason for it might be more interesting than you expect.
Police challenge coins have been around for quite a while now, but not everyone knows what their importance is. Challenge coins can serve a variety of purposes and can symbolize many things. For example, a challenge coin could be used as a symbol of membership in a special department or as a token of appreciation for exceptional performance.
In this guide, we’ll tell you more about why police officers carry challenge coins.
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What is a Police Challenge Coin?
Challenge coins are decorative coins that are used to honor someone, give someone recognition, or show special membership in a group.
While challenge coins originated in the military, they are now used by police officers and those in other professions as well. They serve as tokens of significance that can be given to members of a police force to give them special honors.
Police challenge coin meaning can vary. A challenge coin can serve multiple purposes and can be used to signify that a person belongs to a specific group within the police force or simply that they did good work or excelled in some way.
Using police challenge coins in a police force can help to create a better sense of belonging and can be used to give recognition to those on the force.
History of Challenge Coins
While challenge coins are often used by the police and other organizations these days, their use originated in the military. Challenge coins may have been around as early as Roman times, but really started to become a modern tradition sometime between World War I and Vietnam.
In the military, challenge coins help to prove the coin’s owner was a part of a group or military unit or that they served on a certain tour of duty.
As the trend of using challenge coins in the military caught on over the years, it also started being used in other organizations as well. Since many military members ended up joining the police after serving, the tradition was naturally carried over into police tradition as well.
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Why Do Police Use Challenge Coins?
So how are police challenge coins used and what reasons may they be given out? Here are some of the reasons that someone in the police may receive a challenge coin.
Awarded For Great Performance
One of the most common ways that a challenge coin may be used is to celebrate a police officer’s achievements. They can be given as an award for a job well done in a particular effort or for a general habit of doing great work.
Challenge coins can be given as a public award, but traditionally they are given informally with simply a handshake. Either way that it’s given, however, a challenge coin can serve to help an officer feel special and like they have received a rare and unique award for their performance.
A challenge coin may also be given to someone to commemorate a promotion or change in their job position. It may also be given to a new hire.
A police officer that is given a challenge coin when taking a new position will feel appreciated and awarded for moving up in their career. Either given formally or informally, a challenge coin can be a great gift to go along with a promotion to celebrate that they have entered a new group and taken a new position in their career.
Special Group Members
While challenge coins can be given to an individual as a celebration of a promotion, they can also be given to multiple individuals within a special group.
Police officers sometimes use challenge coins that are specific to a certain department. This can help to create a sense of camaraderie and help officers feel like they’re part of a bigger whole. This can be a great way to promote pride in a certain special group and ensure that the members feel like they’re part of a team.
Honoring Fallen Officers
If an officer falls in the line of duty, a challenge coin may also be given to a family member. This can help to serve as a memento of a police officer who has given their life. Family members can keep the challenge coin and use it to remember them.
There are many challenge coin designs available that can work well as a commemorative token for a fallen officer.
Etiquette of Police Challenge Coins
When receiving or giving a challenge coin, it’s important to recognize that they have a deep history. It’s important to remember that they’re used as a token of extreme appreciation, gratitude, or belonging.
There are many traditions to be aware of when giving or receiving a challenge coin. For example, a challenge coin is typically given informally or even by just a handshake. It’s also important that a challenge coin isn’t given to just anyone or that it’s too easily available. It should be treated as a special token and given to those who have earned it either through their actions or through their membership in a certain group.
For those who receive a challenge coin, it’s important to take proper care of it and to give it the respect that it deserves.
While police challenge coins aren’t in use everywhere, there are many places where police officers carry them. There are many reasons why someone may receive a challenge coin including getting a promotion, doing a great job, belonging to a special group, and more.
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