Benton, Arkansas -
BENTON, AR (News release) - The Benton Police Department (BNPD) is unveiling a new badge that is currently in the process of being issued to officers.
During the spring, it was decided to start working on a new badge design to replace the generic shield that had previously been in use for decades. Since Benton is the county seat for Saline County, it was decided to incorporate one of the most iconic and long standing symbols in the area onto the badge; the Saline County Courthouse.
The City of Benton was incorporated in 1837 and the Saline County Courthouse was built in 1901, with it being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. In addition to being a long standing symbol, the courthouse has also been featured in various movies over the years due to its unique design and history.
It’s not common knowledge, but the first ‘police badges’ were actually the coat of arms worn by knights. The coat of arms identified the knight and his allegiance to justice and chivalry. Similar to police officers of today who swear to serve and protect, knights from the medieval era were often sworn in and asked to ‘protect the weak, defenseless, helpless, and fight for the general welfare of all.’
Most officers you see wear their badges on their uniform on an area above their left chest pocket. Why are they worn here? When an officer takes his oath, he is given a badge and it is said that it is worn over the heart for two reasons; first to be worn over the heart to ever remind them of their pledge to protect and second because the left arm was the arm that often held the coat of arms shield of the knights.
The new badge helps to instill a sense of pride in the community that our officers serve day and night, 365 days a year. The badges serve not only as a symbol of the City of Benton, but also harken back to the past history of our area. The badges were paid for entirely using drug seized money.