Police Agency Challenge CoinsHistorically deriving from similar military coins, more and more police departments and agencies are using custom challenge coins to help reward their members, increase morale, and build a sense of solidarity between officers.
Challenge coins are custom designed for each department. The design will usually encompass the department’s name and a symbol or group of symbols that highlight the strengths and history of the department itself. Once an officer receives a challenge coin upon joining the force, he or she is expected to carry it on their person at all times. Traditionally, this means carrying it as they would any other coin since altering the coins to make them easier to carry (such as drilling a hole in them or attaching them to a pin) is seen as devaluing the coin in terms of its ability to allow the holder to use it to “challenge” others.
If an officer carrying a challenge coin pulls their coin out at a bar and taps it on the table, the person being “challenged” then has thirty seconds to pull out their own challenge coin. If they fail to do so, they are expected to buy a drink for the challenging officer. In this way, challenge coins help officers identify other members of the police force in a social and entertaining way. This helps build a sense of camaraderie which helps to keep the police “family” as close knit as possible.
Police agencies will usually have custom challenge coins made to give out to their members. Special coins can be designed to give out only to certain members, perhaps members who have achieved certain goals or who experienced certain challenges together. If an officer is lost in the line of duty, custom challenge coins can be created by their family or their department and given to other officers in their memory. Challenge coins can also be handed down to children and other family members, creating a sense of history and pride that one’s family has served the public in the police force. They are sure to be treasured memories for generations to come.