LEWISTON – Commemorating Lewiston’s 150th birthday, and celebrating the state’s oldest police force, may be as easy as flipping a coin.
Officers with the Lewiston Police Department will don newly commissioned badges during the city’s sesquicentennial year. The department is also selling memento coins, with proceeds going to the department’s volunteer honor guard, to acknowledge the occasion.
Lewiston police Capt. Tom Greene said the idea for coins and badges was born earlier this year out of a Police Department desire to mark the city’s longevity in law enforcement.
“That it would be kind of nice to do a commemorative badge for the 150th anniversary,” Greene said.
Lewiston was briefly Idaho’s first territorial capital after it incorporated in 1861, and events are planned throughout 2011 to celebrate.
But for Idaho’s longest-serving police force, the anniversary has special meaning.
“I think it’s a milestone; 150 years of service is a monumental milestone for the organization,” Lewiston police Chief Steven Orr said.
Specifics of when the department formed remain hazy, but Greene said Lewiston historian Steve Branting was able to find mention of Lewiston police from news accounts dating back to 1861.
No records of a badge remain from the city’s first police force, but the present seven-point commemorative badge surrounded by a circular seal is a far cry from the tin-stamped star that served the same purpose in the early days of Lewiston. The blue-trimmed badge has “150 years of service” and lists the years “1861-2011” within engravings on the star.
Officers footed the bill for the special badges, which will adorn their uniforms starting Jan. 1. Sales of the badges, because they will serve as an official law enforcement emblem, were offered only to Lewiston police employees and retirees.
The coins, however, are available to the public starting Dec. 10. They will be sold for $10 each.
Each coin shows the police department shoulder patch featuring the confluence bridges on one side and the commemorative badge on the other. It is surrounded by the police department’s slogan: “Leadership, Pride, Duty.”
Orr said he views the badges and coins as “a keepsake that people will be able to keep as a memento but also hand down from generations.”