New York City Police Department
The N.Y.P.D. patch was adopted on July 1, 1971. Both the patch and Police Officer's shield are modeled after the seal of New York City. In the center of the patch are the scales of justice balanced on a bundle of rods or sticks with an ax-blade at the top, all of which are tied together. This bundle is called a "fasces" and was carried by ancient Roman magistrates as a symbol of their official powers. Beneath this symbol is an inverted "V," or chevron, that has five stars representing the five boroughs of the City. Beneath the chevron appears the seal of the Police Department.
The Department seal appears on both the shoulder patch and the police officer's shield. Two figures appear on the left and right of the center. On the left side is the image of a British sailor (representing the English influence on New York's history). The sailor is holding a "sounding-lead" on a rope. This device was used to test the depth of the river while navigating ships. The figure on the right of the center of the shield is a native-American, holding a bow. This figure represents the natives that lived in the New York area when the Dutch colonists first arrived in the 16th century. In the center of the seal is a shield-shape with the crossed arms of a windmill on it that represents the Dutch heritage of the City. Between the crossed arms of the windmill appear two beavers and two barrels. These represent the native animals and plant products (like corn and tobacco) of the region that supported the new colonists. Above the central shield-shape appears an eagle, representing the federal government of America established with the declaration of Independence in 1776. The Eagle rests upon a hemisphere that represents the "New World."