Fort Worth Police Department
Left, the 1912 badge in use for 100 years. Right, the centennial panther badge.
The Fort Worth Police Department is celebrating 100 years of service for the department's unique panther badge.
In 1912, Chief Renfro summoned his officers and issued to them a new badge -- complete with a sleeping panther resting on top.
Why a sleeping panther? The panther was to recognize Fort Worth being dubbed Panther City after an 1873 article in the Dallas Times Herald said things were so quiet in Fort Worth that a panther was seen sleeping on Main Street.
As the city prospered, the nickname Panther City was embraced as a symbol of the city's enduring strength. Over the years, panthers popped up all over Cowtown as they were carved into buildings, painted on fire trucks and selected as mascots for area teams -- Paschal High School and the Fort Worth Cats Baseball Team come to mind.
Now, 100 years after the debut of the panther badge, the Fort Worth Police Department is commemorating Renfro's event with a special centennial version of the sleeping panther badge.
Starting at 9 a.m. June 1, the department will hold a formal pinning ceremony at the exact time, 100 years later, that the original panther badge was introduced by Renfro. The pinning is a formal event and will require the closing of several streets in downtown, officials said.
Officers will wear the centennial badge for one year and then return to wearing the traditional panther badge, which, having been worn for 100 years is one of the oldest badges in the United States.
Every active duty officer, reserve officer and families of fallen officers will receive the badge, pin and coin set, free of charge. The badges were procured through donations to the Police Historical Association from area businesses and foundations.
If you want to get an up close and personal look at the badge without having to do something illegal, the Fort Worth Police Department is holding an Open House & Family Fun Day on Saturday.
In addition to the badge, there were will a driving simulator, police cars, FWPD's Air 1 Helicopter, Kid ID, a crime scene from 1912, an 1890s-era jail wagon and demonstrations by the mounted patrol, motorcycle and K-9 units.
The event is free and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Worth Fire & Police Training Center at 1000 Calvert Street.