A challenge coin, no matter what type it is – a law enforcement challenge coin or another type – is to show the dedication and pride of the carrier of the coin. The first challenge coins are said to have shown up around World War I. The U.S. Army Air Service pilots were adventurous types from Ivy League schools that joined the service to fly fighter planes.
The tale of the challenge coin is said to have been the idea of one such wealthy pilot who had bronze coins plated in gold made and stamped with their squadron’s logo and gifted them to the other pilots in his squadron.
This was the beginning of what today has swept the country showing up in all walks of life. They are used as a way of showing pride and commitment to the different branches of the military, the firemen’s association, the police force, government agencies, and companies that contract for the military.
Typically the coins are anywhere from one and a quarter inches to two inches wide and are made from bronze, gold, or silver. Some are plain and some are fancy with colors. The edges may be plain or serrated like regular coins or they can be scalloped.
The pride with which the coins are received and carried is not understood by most. The brotherhood that comes with the challenge coins is a unique meaning that is most easily understood by those who serve together.
The law enforcement challenge coin can be for the sheriff’s department, the city police, SWAT teams, or special tactical units. They are designed with a special insignia that has meaning for the particular branch of law enforcement for which they are being made. Often the coins are made for veterans of law enforcement who are retiring. Promotions are another reason for giving the coins.
The coins are also used to raise money for fallen comrades’ families. An exclusive mint of a coin struck with a particular logo can be sold for the benefit of an officer struck down in the line of duty. Often these officers have children and the proceeds of the coin sales are for any particular needs they may have that insurance may not be enough to cover. When a police officer is struck down while performing his duties the whole department feels the loss because it could have just as easily been them. For the sacrifices made by these brave officers, the challenge coin can mean that someone understands the nature of their work and the extremes to which they sometimes have to go, as well as the danger that may be lurking behind every call or stop.
The challenge coin is a tangible and valuable coin that has a meaning for the carrier that is perceived as more than just a sense of belonging. It signifies the challenges that have been met and the knowledge that one is not alone but surrounded by the members of their team. Not only are the law enforcement challenge coins invaluable to the owners but they are pretty valuable monetarily.
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Law Enforcement Challenge Coins