The redesigned, full-color badge will restore the image of City Hall, which had been missing for the last decade after former Chief Jim Butts chose to include an image of the Public Safety Facility to commemorate the opening of the building, which houses the SMPD, Santa Monica Fire Department and Santa Monica Jail.
“The new badge embodies the department’s rich past, and acknowledges current attributes, while giving a nod to the bright future,” Deputy Chief Al Venegas wrote in an information item to the City Council.
Officers have worn the current shield since 2003.
Funding for the new badge —$50,000 — was approved by the City Council in 2007 after officials learned that City Hall was no longer featured. That irked some members of the council, including the late Ken Genser, who felt that residents and visitors needed a recognizable symbol on the badge.
No action was taken until this year when the SMPD moved to redesign the shield to include the recently restyled City Hall, which now features its original paint job. Artists’ renderings were used to assist in the design process. Samples were circulated throughout the SMPD so that rank-and-file could give their opinions and make recommendations, Venegas said.
The final design continues to be in the shape of a shield. The shield symbolizes that its wearer is a protector of the peace and all people, Venegas said. In uniform, the badge is worn on the left side over the heart to symbolize the authority granted to the wearer and in honor of the oath taken to uphold and defend the tenets of the Constitution and the laws of California.
The badge is gold and silver. Gold represents the power and strength inherent in the law enforcement function, Venegas said. Silver represents both purity and subtleness of strength, which speaks to the profession’s ability to be flexible enough to change, but with the strength to maintain its core integrity, even amidst change.
The leaves of laurel encircling the badge represent the bravery and courage with which the men and women of the SMPD embrace and protect Santa Monica, Venegas said.
City Hall is prominently featured, along with the city seal. That represents the SMPD’s commitment to the entity that is the heart of Santa Monica and the source of the SMPD’s authority to protect the public.
This is the first time color will adorn the badge beyond the city seal, Venegas said. The original marble white coloring of City Hall, like that of its antiquated replication on the badge, reflects different light patterns with the movement of the sun, Venegas said. The silver rays behind the west facing City hall represent the rising sun, while the gold rays at the base of City Hall represent the setting sun.
Each side of the city seal is supported by a stylized iris, a feature which appears in previous iterations of the badge dating back to the 1950s. The three leaves of the iris represent faith, wisdom and valor.
The reverse side of the shield is stamped with the outline of the iconic Santa Monica Pier sign. Contained within the outline is the Latin phrase Justitia Omnibus, meaning “and justice for all,” followed by the initials “KG” for Genser, who passed away in 2010 of complications from a long illness. He was 59. Genser was first elected to the council in 1988 and was selected mayor by his colleagues three times.
Genser is recognized, Venegas said, because he pushed for the funding for a new badge.
The SMPD ultimately chose Entenmann-Rovin to produce the badges for $50,000. The Los Angeles-based company, which has specialized in producing badges since 1939, was selected because of the quality of metals it uses, Venegas said.