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Custom Challenge Coin of the Month – December 2016

November’s custom military challenge coin of the month celebrates the accomplishment of some real “rough riders:” the Chicago Police Department’s Bicycle Patrol Unit. The coin they commissioned is a thing of beauty: replete with intricately debossed detailing and  full-color acrylic illustrations, it captures both the history and character of its recipients.

Custom Challenge Coins for Police

Depending on who you ask, the bicycle beat is either one of the easiest or one of the most challenging – or, most often, it depends on the day. Officers cite the slower pace of a bicycle beat as a great advantage for community policing: taking time to fully absorb your surroundings is easier from a bicycle seat than it is piloting a two-ton car from inside a sightline-compromised greenhouse. “Keep your head on a swivel” is an often-shared piece of advice between all sorts of civil servants operating in possible crisis environments, and this important task comes naturally while riding. Indeed, the slight sense of vulnerability one feels riding a bike in an urban environment only helps hone a bicycle officer’s diligence.

The challenge of patrolling on a bicycle come from the tradeoff riding a bicycle brings to the table: on a bike, a person is certainly faster. Few people can outrun a bicycle on a straightaway, and bikes can easily outrun cars on the congested streets of a major city. They also make very effective tools to manage civil unrest, which has become a more pressing issue in recent times. This, in part, explains why the Chicago Police Department has more than doubled the size of their Bicycle Patrol Unit in recent years. Chicago has experienced a number of incidents, including large protests, in which the presence of bicycle-riding officers has been instrumental in quelling potentially heated situations. In this age of large-scale community actions, officers on the ground level are becoming more and more instrumental to community policing strategies all over the county.

Training to Be the Best

Before Chicago police officers can hit the streets on two wheels, they have to complete a rigorous 32-hour training course. This course prepares them for the tight streets, thick crowds, and unique circumstances officers might encounter patrolling on bicycle. This training takes place over the course of four eight-hour days, each one moving from the theory to the practice of effectively mounting a bicycle patrol. Over the length of the course, officers learn more than just how to use their bikes on Chicago’s busy streets: they also spend time learning about one another. Forming a cohesive team is essential to any bicycle patrol unit’s success, and this aspect of training is never overlooked. The bicyclists in the patrol are a relatively small, tight-knit brotherhood in what is one of the largest police departments in the United States of America. These officers all share the unique experience of putting their bodies on the line for the sake of their community and the benefits patrolling on bicycles bring. This fellowship and camaraderie is summed up in November’s coin of the month: the Chicago Police Department Bicycle Patrol Unit Coin.

“Controlling Chaos with Chaos”

The first thing the observant coin aficionado notices about this month’s featured military challenge coin is the “bicycle chain” edge detailing. This custom touch drives home the unique nature not only of this particular challenge coin but also the department’s Bicycle Control Unit, which, as the debossed inscription running across the top of the coin reads, is charged with “Controlling Chaos with Chaos.” Equally emphatic is the inscription running along the bottom edge of the coin, reading “We Shut It Down.” These are phrases with deep resonance within the Chicago Police Department, words that conjure on the hearing the soul of this great old city’s determined and durable protectors.

Taking up the center of this coin’s obverse side is the famous star of the Chicago Police Department. Anyone who knows anything about the CPD’s long and storied history knows how much time and energy was put into perfecting this evocative symbol of authority. In coin form, the star is just as striking as the real-life version worn by officers in the field every day. Taking a five-pointed shape and decorated with a full-color rendering of Chicago’s city seal, the star proudly proclaims this coin’s special provenance.

The reverse side of the coin is just as striking in its stark, geometric elegance as the obverse is in its fine details. The main detail-piece is a painstakingly-rendered chainring, the main driving force that makes pedal power into wheel power. You get a sense of the time Unit Coins’ expert designers took on each individual curve and angle: this one is something special. The inscription reads, “Chicago Police Depart Bicycle Patrol Unit” around the outer edge, on a background of robin’s egg blue.

Custom Military Challenge Coins For Civil Servants

Going with a custom challenge coin to celebrate your civil service unit or organization is not a hard choice. Custom challenge coins look beautiful and last a lifetime. The hard part comes with designing a coin that most accurately sums up the mission and character of the group you are celebrating. Custom coin designs range from the simple and austere to the colorful and compelling. Bespoke detailing (as in this month’s featured coins’ bicycle-chain border) can be ordered up as needed to add that personalized touch.

Our custom coin design experts will walk you through the coin design process from beginning to end, helping navigate the plethora of options available. Our customers appreciate the way we strive to dial in every design until it is perfect. You only get one chance to strike a coin, and we like to guarantee our customers are fully satisfied. If you have any questions about your custom challenge coin idea, give our trusted custom coin design staff a call. They will prepare you for the interesting and exciting task of custom-designing your own challenge coin. Be part of the action. Give Unit Coins a call today for your free consultation.

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