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I have a dilemma about wearing a badge since Im not a cop...I would like opinions

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by JLStorm, May 30, 2007.

  1. JLStorm

    JLStorm Well-Known Member

    I have a unique situation, and I am interested in LEO and non-LEO opinions about wearing my issued badge.

    My county recently started to require licensed private investigators who work armed to be certified as an act 235 agent, which is PA's lethal weapons training act that constables, armed security, moonlighting police, and other state and private armed employees must complete in order to work with an openly visible handgun if required to do so by the state or their employer.

    This is a sticky situation, because while act 235 allows me to carry openly during work hours, I dress slacks and/or a sport coat or a suit, and have no uniform that declares to people that it is ok that I have a gun. While PA is an open carry state, it certainly is not treated that way by the police in my area (near philadelphia) and Ive heard many accounts of people trying to open carry with or without a ccw being detained and harrassed by the police who dont know any better for me to have ever tried it.

    My company is ordering custom badges approved by my county that will be issued to to act 235 agents which states that I am an investigator, has my company name and says act 235 agent on it under the state seal. I am debating whether or not to wear the badge or simply keep it in a credentials case with my PI ID ant act 235 agent card. The thing is, I will not be open carrying, but what I will do is change my mentality so that I wont always have things buttoned up because the wind might blow, or have my hands plastered at my sides in case the wind blows while my suit coat is opened, or actually take off my jacket to get in my car so it wont wrinkle, etc... act 235 since says its ok if my handgun is viewable to the public in the course of my duties.

    However I fear without a badge on my hip (concealed with my handgun at all times of course unless one of the above situations occurs) a concerned citizen or passing officer will ruin my day by having me detained by the police should my gun accidentally show.

    My credentials, badge, license, and lethal weapons license are good statewide which rules out any county issues or restrictions, but it seems people look down at people who wear badges who are not cops. However I do deal with some abuse and domestic cases that warrant a handgun which is why I worked with one up until now with my ccw permit which was previously permitted by my county.

    I am only one of two people who have committed to going through all the steps of act 235 so there isnt really a rule or precedent to follow in my agency, any opinions would be appreciated.

    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  2. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    I live and work in Illinois which has no concealed or open carry. The only time I wear my badge on my belt is if I am working in plainclothes and open carrying, such as when I attend a class.

    Other then that, my badge and police ID are in a credential case I carry in my hip pocket. No one is going to pay much attention to you if your jacket swings open and exposes your weapon for a minute.

  3. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Well-Known Member

    Get a badge case and carry it in your pocket with your credentials. When I was with a PA Sheriff's Office, that was where my badge spent the majority of its time.
  4. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    "Freeze, Act 235!"

    No seriously though... Suit + Gun + Haircut + Professional Attitude = Cop

    No one will give you a second thought, except the police; and that is what the badge is for right?
  5. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    That's hardly a tin star bought in a bubble gum machine.
  6. bogie

    bogie Well-Known Member

    Get one of the dealies that mounts on/next to your holster.
  7. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    +1 to that. Unless you look like a goblin, you should be fine. If someone notices your gun and asks, respond you are a licensed investigator. If the police ask, say the same thing, and say you have credentials in your pocket along with a gun on your hip. I doubt you'll have much drama, especially if you look and act like a professional.

    Anyway, what kind of firearm will you be carrying?
  8. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Well-Known Member

    You're carrying concealed. Why carry an exposed badge to announce the presence of a concealed weapon?

    Carry the badge and ID in a badge case in your pocket. In the unlikely event you are asked by a police officer, you have your credentials. Why should they detain you? Asking for ID is not detention, it's just asking for ID. This is no different than asking any citizen with a gun if he/she has a carry permit. If they show the permit, that should be the end of the discussion.
  9. MrTwigg

    MrTwigg Well-Known Member

    Being well dressed and having a professional attitude works wonders.
  10. JLStorm

    JLStorm Well-Known Member

    The badge would be concealed with the sidearm, so unless the gun was visible for some reason, the badge would be hidden as well. As far as being detained, I was saying that before getting the act 235 cert I would never open carry (not that I plan to now, even though I could) in my area or even let my gun be visible to public by reaching for a high shelf or taking a jacket off when getting into a car as I have heard too many first and second hand stories of police detaining people even with ccw's for exposing their weapon and a concerned citizen or police officer on duty ruined their day.

    A usp 45 full size wrapped in milt sparks, same as I carry concealed now. Nothing changes but the new laws and requirements
  11. Futuristic

    Futuristic Well-Known Member

    It Must be Tough on Philly Detectives

    Really, I think you are overthinking this. I'm not a Philly resident, though I have visited, but I've interacted with (and worked alongside) a BUNCH of Detectives and Plainclothes from many jurisdictions and I've almost never seen them bother to wear the badge openly. The only exceptions that come to mind are NYC and Boston. They both seem big on the Badge clipped to the coat, of course I've only been there in winter, it may be a seasonal thing.

    The rules are basically: Slacks, Button Down Shirt, Clean Shaven (or trimmed mustache) plus Gun = Cop. A Coat/Blazer is a guarantee that people will assume you're a Cop. Handcuffs are a clear signal also, if you are allowed to carry them.

    I mean, do you think the Detectives (the real Police guys) in Philly worry about people seeing their gun when their coat rides up? If people called in every time a plainclothes officer let their gun show without a badge visible, there would be non-stop Man With A Gun calls all day long.

    Dress nice, don't sweat it.

    If you are really worried, or working in a place where people are paranoid, the Badge right next to the Gun works wonders. People almost can't help but see the Badge when they see the Gun.

  12. JLStorm

    JLStorm Well-Known Member

    That was my plan, I guess I didnt explain it clearly. The badge would be concealed on my belt alongside the gun and the only time the badge would be seen is if by some chance the gun would be seen. Keep in mind most of the time I dont want people to know who I am or what I am doing, so I do not want a badge flashing at everyone who walks by.
  13. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

    I'd say make sure you *carry* the badge, as it is legimate and issued by your employer. As far as *how* you carry it, I don't think it matters much either way. Figure out which way you are more comfortable carrying it, on your belt or in a wallet, and just carry it that way.

    Your situation is a far cry from those "CCW badges" we all deride.
  14. buck00

    buck00 Well-Known Member

    Actually displaying a badge as you walk around?? You are playing "wannabe cop." Don't do it.

    Keep the badge in the wallet like the real detectives do.
  15. WeThePeople

    WeThePeople Well-Known Member

    I second the nice haircut, nice suit, statement. Although I would adjust it not to equal "cop" but that most people will think that you're a productive member of society and no threat to them.

    I regularly wear a suit or slacks and sport coat. No one, not even a LEO, has ever said anything to me when I don't have my jacket on and my sidearm is fully exposed. I walked, open carry, into a Starbuck's in Indiana (reciprocal state) where four or five LEOs were buying some joe and no one commented although they did seem to take notice. I have had similar experiences in Kentucky.

    I say, as long as it's legal, relax. Have a lawyer to call if you do get into trouble, but relax. Based on what your facts and your representations of the PA laws, you seem operating well-within those laws.
  16. JLStorm

    JLStorm Well-Known Member

    Again, the badge would not be displayed, it would be concealed next to my holster and only visible if my holster became momentarily visible for some reason to put the concerned citizen or officer at ease should my weapon momentarily become visible.
  17. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

    It sounds to me like you already decided what you are going to do. From what others are saying wearing it on your belt is unnecessary.
  18. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Well-Known Member

    My departmental policy requires that we wear a badge on the same side as the firearm when open carrying but not in uniform. When carrying concealed, I wear the badge there anyway since the concealing garment that hides the handgun also hides the badge. That way, any accidental exposure also shows the badge. Don't worry about those who say wearing a badge says you're a wannabe. You went through the training, jumped through the hoops. Comply with your agency's rules and don't worry about what internet armchair commandos think.

    Just don't use the badge to try and make anyone think you have authority that you don't and all will be well. Too many project what they think they might do on others and expect them to do the same. Well dressed, professional attitude, compliance with policy = no problems.
  19. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    Don't you wish there was a filter to weed out responses from people who have no reading comprehension skills? Your employer and the county have worked out these badge issues to simplify life for all concerned, by giving you an official status. I'd wear the thing on the belt and not feel funny about it. It isn't a mail-order hero thing, it's a government-issued endorsement, and should be used in the most efficient (for you) manner...
  20. Waitone

    Waitone Well-Known Member

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