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The following I have retyped verbatim from an article by Dave Jackson, appearing in the "New Mexico Wildlife" magazine, ca. 1964. Dave was one of the Information and Education Officers and I beleve was probably editor of the magazine at that time. The original included printed photos of the badges described. I have included photos here with the caveat that the earliest four badges are replicas, not original. The "Conservation Officer" badges pictured are original, assigned to Tom Moody.

Not included in Dave's article is the fact that the "new" badge was designed by long time Officer J. W. "Jim" Peckumn, who was at that time Chief of Law Enforcement.

I hope this bit of history of the badges is enlightening to you.

/s/ Thomas M. "Tommy" Moody
NMDGF (ret.)
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A New Badge
by David G. Jackson
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has recently adopted a new badge - the fifth one (sic, I count 6) in its fifty-two year history as a state agency. A collection of the various badges used by the men who have enforced the game and fish laws in New Mexico over the years shows in itself a history of the Department as well as the attitudes of the men who wore the badges.
The badge worn by officers is a symbol of authority dating from the middle ages. Knights in armor carried shields which displayed their familyís coat of arms and thereby gave identification. Modern officers carry a badge that usually identifies their organization, often with the coat of arms or great seal of their state.
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The earliest badge was the old-time star worn by sheriffs,
marshals and other law enforcement officers in the days
of the frontier west. From territorial days to the mid-twenties there were few paid Game Department enforcement officers,
usually the director and one field assistant. Volunteer
deputies did the bulk of the enforcement work and usually
had to purchase their own badge. This policy was found to
have a shortcoming, however, because if a man lost his
commission, he still had his badge - which sometimes made
administration difficult.
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The next badge to come into use was the famous Buffalo Badge,
designed by Aldo Leopold, the father of modern game
management and founder of the New Mexico Game Protective
Association. The buffalo head was the insignia of the state GPA
and the badge was worn by both paid and volunteer deputy game
wardens. The slot in the bottom of the badge was for a metal tab
which showed the dates of the officerís commission. If a manís
commission was not renewed, he did not get a new metal tag for
his badge. The badge came in under Warden E. L. Perry who
served from 1927 to 1931. The badge was used by reserve
officers until the mid-thirties.
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In 1934 the state was divided into five districts, each served
by a deputy game warden. A badge showing the district
number was issued to the officer in the district. The badge
was adopted by Elliott S. Barker, who was game warden
from 1931 to 1953. This is the first badge on which appears
an eagle, a symbol of authority used on most law enforcement
badges in New Mexico today.
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In the forties there was a feeling in the Department that a
large badge was too gaudy and might tend to make the
wearer a little "badge happy." Also, men had begun
returning from the war. More districts were created and
more badges were needed. The smallest badge of the
group was adopted in 1943. The badge was similar to the
New Mexico State Police badge and all commissioned
officers wore one. A few buffalo badges were still being
used by reserve officers.
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The next change came in 1953 when it was decided
that the small badge was too difficult to see at night -
and so made identification of the officer difficult.
Also, badge numbers were added for the first time
as an additional identification feature. The regular
officerís badge was bronze and the reserve officerís
badge was silver. This badge was used until March
of 1964. There were 120 badges issued. The RCO
badge is still in use.
arrowhead.jpg
The newest badge more readily identifies its wearer as an
officer of the Department of Game and Fish. The arrowhead
is symbolic of the west and the Departmentís bear head emblem
is plainly shown. The badge can be kept clean with a minimum
of effort and can be easily seen. They are numbered, with the
first 25 numbers given in the order of seniority of the wearer.
The badge number is usually the radio call number of its wearer.

Styles change and ideas change - someday this badge will go
the way of its historic predecessors.
End of Dave's original article. For more on the badges, continue to the next page.
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