Some New York City police officers were fake badges called “dupes,” which are a bit smaller than real ones, because losing a real badge can mean paperwork and a heavy penalty, as much as 10 days' pay, reports the New York Times. Fake badges violate department policy; estimates of how many of the city's 35,000 officers use fake badges vary from several thousand to several hundred; 25 officers are disciplined each year for using them. The practice has become more sensitive since 9/11 and the heightened concern about police impersonation.
Officers have phony badges off the Internet or at police equipment stores, paying between $25 and $75. William Bratton, who served as commissioner from 1994 to 1996, said he had the original gold and platinum Tiffany badge, first issued in 1901, encased in a box in the commissioner's office. “The police commissioner's badge is a historical museum piece,” he said. “It's worth a small fortune. It's not practical to carry it around.”