Weyauwega Police design new patch

The newly designed Police Department patch on the left incorporates the school mascot, the state, the Stars & Stripes, the Thin Blue Line, the location of Weyauwega and the department’s foundation. The old patch on the right will soon be removed. Photo by James Card

More hometown history, symbolism

By James Card

Weyauwega Police Officers will soon be sporting a new custom designed department crest to highlight the department and what it stands for.

It was an idea chef Brandon Leschke had in mind for most of his career.

Leschke served in the police force for 18 years and during that time learned that the Weyauwega Department patch was a copy of the patch worn by Watertown police officers.

The patches are almost identical with the same font, color scheme and design.

Leschke and his officers tweaked the new design during monthly staff meetings to make it unique to Weyauwega.

Local, state and national symbols

The new patch has the WF school’s Warhawk mascot in recognition of the school resource officer serving there and the school district as a public partner. The image of the falcon is also a nod to the Saint-Pierre Red Hawks.

The word “police” is displayed less prominently and is reduced to a smaller font with the reasoning that it is obvious the person in uniform is a law enforcement officer.

The extra space gained from this change has been moved to “Weyauwega Town” at the top of the patch.

“We wanted to be able to say who we are,” Leschke said.

“And if we’re traveling out of state or sharing a patch, we want people to recognize that we’re a Wisconsin law enforcement agency, so we’ve kept the state there “, he said, referring to the outline of the state of Wisconsin which is filled with stars and stripes.

About 15 years ago, the previous administration decided to remove the American flag from their uniforms.

Part of this had to do with confusion over how an American flag should be worn on a uniform.

The United States Army wears a flag patch upside down. This stems from an army regulation which states that the blue square of stars must be positioned forward to resemble a flag carried in battle. The idea is to consider the patch as a flag. When a soldier “attacks forward”, the red and white stripes would flow backwards.

As for law enforcement officers, there is no universal code. Some departments have the flag on the left shoulder which is closest to the heart. Others follow the tradition of the army. Some have no flag at all.

“I wanted to put the flag back on our uniform somehow. It’s a way to get a representation of the flag on our uniform and not worry about which direction it’s flowing,” Leschke said.

A gold star represents Weyauwega’s geographic location within the state. The outline and font of the crest will be two colors: gray for patrol officers and gold for administration.

A blue bar running through the patch symbolizes the “Thin Blue Line”, the concept of the police as a buffer that prevents law and order from dissolving into chaos.

Founded in 1852

Leschke wanted to add an “Established in” date to the patch but no one knew when that was.

By chance he looked in an old filing cabinet in a storage room and in the first drawer was the answer: a folder titled “Weyauwega Police History”.

On a flimsy sheet of typewriter paper was the chronology of the early days of the police department. On April 6, 1852, the first municipal assembly of Weyauwega was held and constables were appointed.

On April 7, 1893, the job description of the gendarmes was defined:

“Night surveillance must remain on the street from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. or in daylight. He will keep the [fire] Engine House warm in winter and in good condition at all times. He will light the street lamps and keep them clean, filled and in good condition. He will act as night marshal; take care of the vagabonds, put them in jail, feed them and receive fifty cents for each vagabond. His salary will be from April 1 to October 1 $28 per month and from October 1 to April 1 $32 per month.

About Chris C. Hairston

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