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I do not know exactly when the shoulder patches were first used. The center patch in this picture, black bear on a white field with black lettering and border, was the first patch and was used from at least the 1940s until 1959. The patch was worn on the left shoulder of all upper garments.
My memory plays tricks on me regarding the patch with the tan field. I know it was issued to Department concessionaires, with a rocker designating such, until that program ended in about 1970 or 71. CAN YOU VERIFY OR REFUTE that fulltime Department personnel wore it on some garments? If it was used, it probably was only for a short time period before and during 1959.
I have a photograph showing several officers, some wearing the white patch and some wearing the new green one in 1958. The green patch was the first to be worn on both shoulders, beginning about 1970.
The green patch was replaced by going to a considerably larger patch in 1972. It had a more detailed black bear on a white field, gold lettering, brown border, and incorporated new embossing and detail within the field. There were two color phases of these patches issued over time. I do not think it was a directed modification of the patch, but merely a change in dye lots or in suppliers. This was the first patch the RCOs had which was identical to that of the regular officers, and was distinguished by the RCO rocker.
In 1974 the entire uniform was switched to the blue uniform. That is when the current patch, identical to the preceding one except with a black border, was adopted.
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