Public Safety Agency Patches & Symbols

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Displayed in the hallway to the southern entrance of Spillman Technologies headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, are the agency patches of current Spillman customers. These are arranged in large glass frames and remind Spillman employees of the customers who wear these patches and serve their public with honor and dedication. Each patch in the display is unique, with its own shape, symbols, and meanings. That’s why for this month’s Industry Perspectives, we thought it would be fun to explore some of the common symbols featured in patch design and their underlying meanings.


Shape: Sheriff’s Office patches are typically star-shaped, with the five-, six-, and seven-pointed stars the most common. The number of points of the star may also symbolize attributes or exceptional qualities that a badge-holder must serve to uphold (for example, trust, integrity, empathy). Other public safety agency patch shapes include circles, ovals, rectangles, squares, geometric shapes, and the shape of the state they serve.

Industry: Many patches feature symbols of the community’s most important industries. Some examples include farming symbols, livestock, trains, automobiles, and boats.

Landscape: Mountain vistas, sunrises, rivers, lakes, beaches, desert landscapes, canyons, and other natural features are often featured prominently on patches.

Historically important people, places, or things: A community’s pride often centers on an important piece of history, and that can manifest itself on an agency’s patch. Some patches feature native peoples, the arrival of settlers, the coming of industry, and important historical men and women.

State birds, flowers, and insects: Agencies may wear patches depicting official state-designated emblem, flowers, animals, rocks, gemstones, fish, fossils, trees, mottos, and insects. Patriotic country-specific images like the American flag and bald eagle may also be represented on the patch.

Every patch in the display has its own story to tell, its own history, and its own meaning. To share your agency’s patch meaning, email us at info@spillman.com.

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