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Municipal Police Challenge Coins


Broadly called municipal police, local law enforcement organizations field departments as large as 30,000 officers in New York City to forces as small as one officer to protect a local jurisdiction. Local law enforcement organizations in the U.S. are bound to their local jurisdictions covering a city or county and municipal police forces derive their authority from the local government instead of the State. Municipal police forces allow officers to develop stronger bonds with the citizens of the local community they protect and serve. These officers often have a clear feel on the local pulse and unique needs of their communities while enforcing relevant local laws.

Responsible for upholding the local laws of a jurisdiction, patrolling communities, and investigating local crimes, these police officers consistently distinguish themselves in the line of duty. Municipal Police challenge coins honor the service and dedication of the men and women serving their local communities. A tradition adopted from the military, custom police challenge coins are a popular element of most major police departments where they are distributed to officers in the spirit of group unity and comradeship. 

Signature Coins is an industry leader in the design and production of unique law enforcement challenge coins for our nation’s police forces. With over 15 years of experience creating custom challenge coins for military organizations, local and national government agencies, and major Fortune 500 corporations, our organization is an expert at crafting unique one of a kind challenge coins.

Brief Origin of Municipal Police

Municipal police organizations have existed since before the birth of the United States with local communities and colonies maintaining informal town “night watches” run by community volunteers to enforce community laws. Many southern States also maintained “slave patrols,” organized by local governments and made up of armed white citizens who would punish black slaves caught outside their owner’s property and put down slave revolts. These patrols created the framework for many police forces in the south later, but the first truly organized and publically-funded police force was established in Boston in 1838 to protect shipping interests and private property. 

By 1880, almost every major commercial city in the country had local police organizations, which were primarily used to maintain public order as decreed by their local communities. During this time the definition of public order often depended upon the dominant values of the local communities as well as the commercial needs of the area. By the 19th and 20th centuries, a drive to develop more professional police forces took hold as municipal maps were redrawn to support the changing landscape of U.S. communities and the ideals of professional municipal police forces. Police forces moved from trying to reactively punish the law to proactively educating citizens about laws and preventing crime. Modern law enforcement grew out of a complex mixture of sociopolitical issues and public interests to maintain community laws. Today, officers often put their safety and lives on the line to protect the public and enforce the laws of their community.


Challenge Coin Examples


What are Municipal Police Challenge Coins?

Municipal police challenge coins are unique organization-specific medallions commissioned by a police force to represent their organization. It’s a tradition adopted from the military where challenge coins are commonly used by different branches to distinguish outstanding servicemembers, highlight a major career milestone, or given out to every member of a unit help form bonds of unity between soldiers.

Municipal police organizations commission unique organization challenge coins for a variety of reasons. Some organizations give them out to every officer in their force as a means to cement group solidarity within a municipal police force and strengthen unity in a force. Other organizations award them like military medals to members of the local community who have performed a service for their community either by helping an officer or performing a heroic feat. For example, the Clayton Police Department gives each officer two challenge coins, one to recognize a police officer and another that the officer can give out as a token of regard to anyone deemed deserving. 

Challenge coins are unique to each organization commissioning them and may incorporate a local police force’s emblem, insignia, motto, mascot, or other distinguishing symbols. Different organizations may also trade and exchange their unique challenge coin to other public organizations and collect them as mementos of their history working with them. 

Signature Coins offers its expertise to all municipal police organizations looking to create their challenge coin culture. However, notable municipal police organizations known to maintain a law enforcement challenge coin of their own include:

  • The New York City Police Department (NYPD)
  • Bronx County Sheriff Department 
  • Hudson Sheriff Department
  • Los Angeles Sheriff Department
  • Chicago Police Department (CPD)
  • Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD)
  • New Orleans Police Department (NOPD)
  • Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD)
  • Philadelphia Police Department (PPD)
  • Houston Police Department (HPD)

Police Challenge Coin Gallery

With over 15 years of experience designing custom challenge coins, Signature Coins has created hundreds of different coins for organizations and clients all over the nation. Whether you have an existing design or need the help of our experts to craft one from scratch we can build a coin that truly represents your local law enforcement organization.

Call and Speak to a Specialist Today

Displaying Custom Municipal Police Challenge Coins


In addition to being capable of customizing every inch of a challenge coin design, Signature Coins offers a variety of unique presentation options to our law enforcement clients. A premium presentation allows our clients to add gravitas to a challenge coin award and assist in both the long-term storage and keeping of our unique products.

Presentation options available to our clients include:


  • PVC Pouch - A free option included with every order, these PVC pouches are transparent for easy viewing and acid-free for safe, long-term storage.
  • Coin Capsule - Durable, transparently clear, and smooth to touch, the cover and base of a coin capsule snaps firmly together to create a perfect seal protecting your challenge coin while allowing easy viewing and hardier storage. 
  • Acrylic Case - A velvet lined interior and hard plastic display cover keeps your challenge coin protected while on display.
  • Plastic Stand - An elegant high-quality display present’s a coin detail while standing aloft for better viewing.
  • Velvet Pouch - For a more personal touch, these black velvet drawstring pouches are easy to use but also elegant.
  • Velvet Case - A black velvet finish covers the outside of the box while the inside is a recessed 1 9/16'' circle cutout that will fit standard challenge coins.



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