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The History of the Constable Badge

Constables first appeared in the 13th Century in English policing, though their original role was as night watchmen.   The Statute of Winchester, in the late 1200's, addressed the need and role of law enforcement officers to provide social order; hence, the beginning of the role these men would undertake and the badges they wore as Sheriffs, Marshals, and Constables.

During the American colonial period, High Court Judges and Chief Constables wore these starred badges.   The city of Boston, Massachusetts, in 1631, became the first colony to adopt the badge to enforce order.   Sixteen years later, the city of New York, then known as New Amsterdam, followed suit and the badge soon became a symbol of protection.

The office of "The Constable" was one of the earliest created in the colonies and once considered to be the highest law enforcement office in the land, wielding extensive powers.  The duties of Constables have changed over time, and while some may use this title today, the police officer has replaced them in modern times.

Some have claimed that the term "COP" emanated from the title of Chief of Police.  Others, however, point to the earlier era of Constables, when they were termed, "Constable on Patrol". 

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