Marine Watching Zimmerman Trial, Catches Officer Wearing Ribbon Reserved For WWII Vets

Several fans brought this to our attention, seems the Sanford Police Department decided to use DOD medals and ribbons because they did not have any of their own.

According to the article, Jeremiah Workman, a Marine who received the nations second highest honor, the Navy Cross was watching the Zimmerman trial when, Doris Singleton, a Sanford Police Officer took the stand.

He noticed the ribbon rack she was wearing, and posted it to his facebook page.

“Am I going blind or is this police officer in the Zimmerman -Martin trial wearing ribbons that she doesn’t rate?” he wrote alongside the photo he posted to Facebook.”

Doris Singleton



Two in particular stood out, he said: the World War II Army of Occupation Medalarmyoccupationribbon  and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.



It also looks like she is wearing the Army Good Conduct Medal, which if she served three years like she said, then she would rate that one.


Workman then called the Sanford PD according to the article on a blog at Militarytimes.

Workman got a hold of them and said they told him they didn’t have their own awards system, so they went to the Army-Navy store around the corner and picked out Defense Department military ribbons to fit their own format. The WWII was selected, the police department official told Workman, because they knew there weren’t many veterans from that period alive so they didn’t think people would notice.

“At the end of his explanation I thought to myself, ‘So that makes it all better now because these guys are dead?’ ” Workman said.  ”The fact that that was their response is still pretty shameful, I think.”

Workman said police departments allowing military veterans to wear ribbons they earned while serving on their police uniform is fine with him. If they earned it, they should be able to wear it, he said.

“But what kind of professional police department would send Bob the patrolman around the corner to go pick out some ribbons for our officers to wear when they do something heroic or have good service over the years?” he asked.

Workman said the police department official told him that they’re going to change to their own ribbon system, which he was glad to hear. Now he hopes other police departments doing the same will think about their own regulations and change them too, he added.

So it does not look like the officer is at fault, seems she is only wearing what her department awarded her.

So my question to you is this, should Police Department;s and other agencies be allowed to use DOD ribbons for their own use?  In my opinion, and according to 10 USC 771-772, no they are not allowed to.

But it could also cause confusion, as it did in this situation. I mean, a police officer wearing a Silver Star ribbon may turn a few heads. Thoughts?


UPDATE: 20130702

Here is a better picture of the ribbons, as well as some others identified.



The ribbon being worn on the far left top, has been identified as the Air Force Combat Readiness Ribbon:


The Combat Readiness Medal is an award of the United States Air Force which was first created in 1964. The original Combat Readiness Medal was an award senior to the Air Force Commendation Medal and was awarded for superior and meritorious duty to the United States Air Force. The award criteria for the medal was changed in 1967 and the Combat Readiness Medal adopted the designation as an achievement/service medal.

The current Combat Readiness Medal is awarded to any member of U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve, who have accomplished sustained individual combat mission readiness or who have undertaken the preparedness for direct weapon-system employment. A service member must have completed 24 cumulative months of sustained duty performance for the medal to be received.


Thanks to Ken B for pointing out that the lower far left ribbon is the Philippine Independence ribbon.



The Philippine Independence Medal is a military award of the Republic of the Philippines which was created by order of the Philippine Army Headquarters on July 3, 1946. The Philippine Independence Medal was created to recognize those members of the military who had participated in multiple Philippine military operations during the years of the Second World War.

To be awarded the Philippine Independence Medal, a service member must have previously received both the Philippine Defense Medal and the Philippine Liberation Medal. The award criteria effectively awarded the medal to anyone who had participated in both the initial resistance against Japanese invasion and also in the campaigns to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation in 1945. A famous recipient was General of the Army Douglas MacArthur. The service member must have also served on active duty in the Philippines after July 4, 1946.

The Philippine Independence Medal was originally awarded as a ribbon, and it was not until 1968 that a full-sized medal was authorized by President Ferdinand Marcos. The Philippine Independence Medal was also authorized for award to foreign militaries, with a number of retroactive awards presented between 1945 and 1948.


Thanks to Adam for pointing out the top center ribbon is the Selective Marine Corps Reserve Medal.




Authorization. The Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal was established by a SECNAV directive of 19 February 1939.

Eligibility Requirements. Awarded to members of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR) who, effective 1 January 1996, fulfilled designated service requirements within any three-year period of service in the Organized Marine Corps Reserve. For the period 1 July 1925 through 31 December 1995, inclusive, a four-year period of service is required. 



We have spoken to the Chief of the Sanford PD concerning the use of Military ribbons. He is in agreement with everyone, and is in the process of changing policies as he just recently took over. Here is his response to our inquiry:

“I have received a number of emails regarding the wearing of Military ribbons by members of the Sanford Police Department. The ribbons were allowed to be worn on the dress uniforms of the officers during special occasions to include court appearances.  The military ribbons were re-purposed for use within the Sanford Police Department. It appears that there may have been a misinterpretation of the law.  It was determined 10-15 years ago that using the ribbons in question would be appropriate by the Administration at that time. As a retired member of the Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard with 25 plus years of service, I have questioned the wearing of the ribbons.  I agree with many of you that the wearing of many of these ribbons, unless earned is inappropriate. I believe that it was an unfortunate situation which has been “corrected”.


Some have questioned the integrity, character, accountability and professionalism of the Officers because of the ribbons being worn. Please note, that many of the officers within the department are “Vets” and some of the ribbons were earned during their military service and other because of their service within the Sanford Police Department.  Again, these “were” the policies of the police department and should not reflect on the abilities of the officers who were wearing the ribbons.


As the new Police Chief, I’m sure you can imagine that there are several policies and procedures which are being reviewed including the awards and uniform guidelines. I would compare this to a new PCS, Deployment or Change of Command.  I can assure you that going forward changes are being made to the ribbon structure. The purchase of new ribbons and the reconfiguring of the commendation/awards system began yesterday. The new design and selection will fit the needs of the Sanford Police Department. I would ask that you share the above information with others.


Please note that “NO” disrespect to any member of the Armed Forces past or present was ever intended by the wearing of the ribbons. Please accept my sincere apologies for any confusion on behalf of the Sanford Police Department.


It has and will continue to our goal to pay our respect to those who have served or are serving our great country.




Cecil E. Smith

Chief of Police”


We would like to thank the Chief for his response, as well as his service to the country. And we appreciate his understanding of the situation.



What are your thoughts?
259 comments on “Marine Watching Zimmerman Trial, Catches Officer Wearing Ribbon Reserved For WWII Vets
      • It’s pretty reliable though, especially compared to .coms

        It’s not good enough for turning in peer reviewed work, but it’s good enough for what we’re doing here.

        Also I don’t know what they told you when you were rushing your frat, but having a stick installed in your ass doesn’t happen to everyone in college

        • Wiki sites should never be taken as truth. They can be edited by anyone. The reliability of these sites are a joke. Go to the source and check it out from the horses mouth.

          • That whole “wikipedia doesn’t count” is a joke. They can be edited by anyone, but those that edit have to provide a source, and those that don’t create a little icon that explains a source is needed. That’s what those numbers by the info mean; it’s the Bibliography.
            Saying Wikipedia doesn’t count amounts to saying the sites they use as sources don’t count, which is just plain dumb.
            Besides, if you aren’t an idiot, you just go to Wikipedia anyway and use the sources for your Bibliography. Derp.

          • The sources need to be posted on the wiki otherwise the edits are removed within a certain time frame. Stop listening to your liberal professors. The wikis are a good source to initiate research. But hey what do I know, I’m sure you have fact checked ever single wikipedia article and found it to be completely false made up and fabricated.

          • Are you saing that the Army of Occupation medal was NOT awarded to US personnel assigned to West Berlin until 3 October 1990? Because it was.

          • The thing to remember about Wikipedia is that you must always read the TALK PAGES. There are massive amounts of agenda pushers on that site. You can find enlightening information on the topic, the agendas and who pushes those agendas – through the Talk Pages [and their Archives].

            The Archives can go back many years. Stuff usually stays up – but every so often comments and debates are even completely wiped from the Talk page if it is found to be too strong of evidence against a strongly held narrative by those monitoring that topic and page.

            Please, make use of the Talk Pages.

            And to check a wiki users history — go to their page and under Toolbox click on User Contributions.

          • Wrong. Anyone can SUBMIT an edit to wikipedia, but that doesn’t mean it will be accepted. Wikipedia, unlike many smaller wikis has editors.

            If you’re so sure you’re right, why don’t you prove me wrong and submit some inaccurate information to that page in the interest of science then point it out to me how wrong I am. (seriously try this, it won’t work. I triple dog dare you)

          • You are missing a comma and the first phrase should end in a question mark. What do you have to to say about that? F

            PS I spent 9 years in the Army and never went to college

          • Ken B you are correct and if anyone doubts you I can back it up I know what each one of those are she has on. I do needlework as a hobby and make different types of things for veterans using their ribbons .Besides knowing them I also have a bible I use so to speak has every ribbon issued including the ones given to Civil War soldiers. So earlier comments about the German occupation ribbon some forgot it also had a Germany clasp go on the medal ribbon as well . Someone noticed the Good Conduct well if she was in Army 4 years she’d have had one but if you look close it has at least one star on it also and my picture is not real clear but it looks like 2 on it not 1.I know Wikipedia may be okay but what I have is by order of precedence and tells about each one from creation to what they are for. Never been wrong using it and my colors are always right.

      • Reliable enough to prove you wrong. I’m one of the people authorized to wear the Army of Occupation Medal, and so are several thousand of my brothers-in-arms who served in Berlin through 1990. Berlin remained an occupied, four-powers-city until the reunification of Germany.

          • lol, that’s what you get for blindly taking one source for granted. Do some research (actual research… with multiple sources) and don’t speak about things you don’t understand, especially if the cost of being wrong is the dishonoring of thousands of men and women who have died for this country. I don’t talk about ribbons because I don’t know shit about them. Educated yourself, then speak. And don’t claim Wikipedia as a source of your Education. It is a *starting point*. Get your general knowledge there, and then research the validity of it across other sources.

      • I agree with you. ANYONE can alter information posted on there, so to use it as a credible source is ridiculous. The other day they listed Nelson Mandela as dead when he was still alive! The most credible sites end in .edu, .gov., or various .com’s. I say various with the .com’s because you have to consider the accompanying institution.

        • You do realize that Wiki is one of the most accurate sites for information? And you also realize that you don’t actually cite Wiki EVER! You site the source from which the information was brought from; which in case, if there is not a source, THEN YOU SIMPLY QUESTION IT’S VALIDITY!!!! ….. Americans are so ignorant….

          • Wikipedia commonly suffers from the biases and prejudices of some editors, who jealously guard “their pages” by deleting any contributions that do not fit their agenda.

          • If you are a high school teacher I sincerely hope you don’t teach English. An ellipsis is three … not four …. Teachers these days!

          • @ Brandon:

            ..and 2 dotters . . .

            Unlike a 3 dot ellipsis, a 4 dot ellipsis indicates the end of sentence.

            As an apparent (developing) punctuation expert, perhaps you can tell us why the Oxford English Dictionary uses 2 dot ellipses.

            –a signwriter

          • No one fucking said to quote Wiki as a source. But it is as reliable as a starting point and as the sources it cites as is every other document. I doubt you are a high school teacher. Maybe I just pray you are not.

            Not allow the use of Wiki? Why? Seems like more social elitist control.

            By the way, have you checked every source you have ever cited back to the original data?

            Thought not.

          • That’s because wikipedia is a secondary source, not because it’s inaccurate.
            I think it’s pretty sad you are a school teacher and you don’t know why your school doesn’t accept wikipedia as a source.

          • @Eri wrote, “Unlike a 3 dot ellipsis, a 4 dot ellipsis indicates the end of sentence.”

            Printing. a mark or marks as ——, …, or * * *, to indicate an omission or suppression of letters or words.
            – Random House Dictionary, 2013
            printing a sequence of three dots (…) indicating an omission in text
            – Collins English Dictionary, 2009

            Neither referenced dictionary defines an ellipsis as a trailing off without completing a sentence, or a lazy way to end a sentence without thinking of appropriate words. I do this frequently, but I see now that it is not the correct use of an ellipsis, which signifies omitted words which actually exist in the original text from which one is quoting.

            Correct me if that is not right, and I will go back to using the ellipsis as a lazy man’s way out.

      • “squawk, wikipedia isn’t reliable, squawk, let me parrot some more crap my teacher said, squawk”
        This is a comment section not a classroom. wikipedia shouldn’t be used as a cited source for a research paper but its suitable for every day net chatter. Most things on wikipedia are cited so you can always double check the information making it a fairly good source for quickly finding information.

      • Wikipedia is often cited in collegiate articles, as well as other writing. Although it is not always accurate it is acceptable to cite. Writing information off because it came from a public source is not always the defacto answer.

      • That may depend on your perspective. I used Wikipedia and general Googling to pass a required math course to finish a bachelor’s in 2006 (because my textbook never arrived). Wikipedia as a reference may depend on *how* you use it? I’ve also noticed a lot of high-quality investigative-type info written about in the Talk sections …

    • You are right about the Army of Occupation Medal…I served there from 1986 until 1989 and I wore one when I was active duty (I am now retired)…those stationed in West Berlin wore it instead of an overseas ribbon as we werew still considered an Army of Occupation at that time.

    • The Army of Occupation medal is a permanent medal and may be issued again someday for a future situation where we occupy an area again. It was issued for Japan after WWII. Thats where Carl Ostergaard is missing information. The same ribbon (medal) without any changes may be issued again.

    • Carl Ostergaard is correct regardless of whether or not the info was obtained from Wikipedia. I personally was stationed in Berlin from 87-89 and was also awarded the Army of Occupation medal for service in an occupied country. Has anyone thought that maybe just maybe the police department has similar awards and ribbons, just a thought.

    • I served in Berlin from 67-68 and was awarded the Occupation medal and also got the Good Conduct medal and was only in two years.

      Schwartzkopf served in Berlin back when he was just a lieutenant.

    • In this case Wikipedia was correct. The Army of Occupation Medal was first awarded in 1945 and up until Oct 1990 for those stationed in Berlin. It had 2 different possible clasps, Japan and Germany. The occupation of Japan ended much earlier so those are not as common. I have an AoO medal that I received for being stationed in Berlin from 85 to 88. And Schwarzkopf got his while being stationed there as a second LT. The medal next to the AoO looks like the Good Conduct Medal (I have 2). I think is very shameful that they would use military medals for awards. I think the Stolen Valor act should apply to them, too. Most trophy shops could help design and make their own awards.

    • I was stationed in Berlin for 8 1/2 years and the 3 Oct 1990 date sounds pretty close. I know they gave it for about a year after the Wall came down 9 Nov 1989. No one may have earned it in over 20 years but there are still a lot of them out there. It’s not the officers fault but I hope they fix it or next thing you know someone will wind up wearing the Medal of Honor ribbon without knowing what it really is.

    • The Army of Occupation ribbon was awarded for service in West Berlin from 1945 through the fall of 1990. I was awarded the Army of Occupation ribbon for my service in West Berlin from 30 June 86 through 31 August 1990.
      SFC Susan Hynes,
      U.S. Army & U.S. Army Reserve

    • “…they went to the Army-Navy store around the corner and picked out Defense Department military ribbons to fit their own format.” (???)

      To be fair, they now arrest people who publicly pretend to hold military honors who don’t…apparently unless they are in the police department.

      • Agree, but I believe people are arrested/prosecuted for that offense only if they exploit the wearing of the unearned medals for profit or other gain, e.g., while selling door-to-door, or on a résumé for job application. In other words, merely displaying an unauthorized ribbon is not prosecutable.

        • She is selling something. She is selling her accomplishments and integrity on display to the court. She is using her uniform and the display of those medals to influence the members of a jury holding herself up as a person who has accomplished something. Something that was not earned.

      • I didn’t know when they stopped giving it I knew my WW II brother-in-law had one with a Germany bar on it because of being the Army of Occupation then. So It was easy for me to spot, but to use the excuse we didn’t think anyone would notice because not to many WW II veterans still living did they not think their families wouldn’t

  1. altho the Occupation Medal did originate at the end of WW II, it was awarded for service in Berlin until the wall came down and Germany unified and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a post war medal established on July 9, 1970.

    • Doesn’t really matter in the context of a police officer who NEVER served in any branch of the military wearing both of the ribbons when she is not authorized to wear them.

      • Which is an assumption… Read the full article, which makes mention of the officer having served in the army… “It also looks like she is wearing the Army Good Conduct Medal, which if she served three years like she said, then she would rate that one.”

          • sgthodges, you must not be a nco at all, because you would’ve caught that at 1st glance. She has medals from 3 branches that range from 1940’s to current, from a 3 year tour??? I think not. Her integrity is immediately questionable to me, because as a vet and an officer of the law she and her CoC should have known better than to do that!

    • They aren’t stealing valor. They don’t claim to have won an Army Commendation medal, or a Bronze Star, or a Medal of Honor. If you asked them what their medal was I’m sure they would give you a completely different name and how they got it. The cops wearing them didn’t know any better.

      • I call bull on that because the know the military and they can can only buy military ribbons at a military surplus store online or in a military surplus store.

      • Ignorance of the Law is no excuse to break it. You know you didn’t “earn” the ribbon, you know you are not allowed to wear it! Especially if she served 3 years in the military then she damn well has had a uniform inspection while active and also a DD214 when she ETS’d ,which states what if any awards you are permitted to wear!

  2. As a seven year veteran (US Army and National Guard, Desert Storm era Veteran) and a 20 year police veteran, I think there are much better things to worry about. Police and Fire agencies all across the country use military ribbons to fit their own needs.

    • As a 26 year Veteran, 2 tours in Iraq, 91/04-05, 4 years 6/502 Inf Berlin Brigade 88-92, 20 years Regular Army, 3 National Guard, 3 Army Reserve, I find it offensive when you demean what others feel VERY strongly about. Saying there are much better things to worry about is just a slap in the face. After all, the site is called Stolen Valor, it’s kind of what they worry about.

    • As an 11 year veteran (all active duty Army, DS vet), How about: If any department (PD/EMS) don’t have their own awards/medals/ribbons system, don’t wear none!!! At the very least they could’ve chosen Jr ROTC ribbons, not Army campaigns ribbons! Somebody in Sanford PD didn’t think that through! SMH…

    • I for one think this is something to very much to worry about. Being a Nam vet. myself I can sure say that being in a fire fight and beating the bush gets’ you medals or ribbons you deserve and are proud to wear. As for myself I’m proud of every one of my medals and ribbons I earned and sure don’t want someone wearing any ribbons or medals they did not earn. I spent 15 years USAF and had to medically retire. One can sure tell Mr. Thornton is a Desert Storm “ERA” vet. Never seeing combat I take it, must not mean that much to him or something. yes it is a BIG DEAL to those who earned them.

    • That is fine. The Police and the Fire Dept. deserve to wear any ribbon the earn. But don’t wear any military awarded ribbons with the police or fire dept. ribbons.

    • so because “Police and Fire agencies all across the country use military ribbons to fit their own needs” makes it right? I don’t think so. YOU as a military veteran and a police veteran should find this doubly offensive. Wake up.

    • i think since its no big deal we could you a police medal of valor, and award it to anyone who can change a tire on a humvee by themselves. After all its no big deal right

    • C.M., what DO you worry about? poverty? famine? not measuring up (in the biblical sense)? enlighten us all on what it is that you choose to worry about since you’re basically saying f-u to all of your brothers and sisters at-arms.

    • I find it rather appalling myself. You must have been a POG who didn’t do anything or really earn anything. Now a disabled vet, I fought hard for what little I got when I was in and don’t regret it, but I hold what little I have to heart.

  3. Total crap!!!!! Officers in that department (and any and all others doing the same) should immediately remove and refuse to wear these medals. Police departments nationwide should have their own ribbons and medals for their awardees.

  4. At this present moment what are those other things to worry about? This seems to leave an “excuse” for those who steal valor. “Oh, I was wearing my old police medals.” If a police/fire dept used a MoH ribbon for saving the Mayor’s cat, would that be fine? I say get your own damn ribbons. Lack of imagination or something?

  5. I have no problem with wearing medals and ribbons they actually earned. I do that myself on special occasions such Veterans Day or Memorial Day. But it’s wrong to wear these as decorations.

  6. No, not, never.
    Only those men and women who served our country in the Armed Forces should wear the ribbons.
    My father is from Lake Butler and is still classified as a POW MIA . This dishoners him.

  7. ‘More important things to worry about’… Our guys at Walter Reed will appreciate that the small, simple metal and cloth symbols that have been given them in respect by, ultimately the nation, can be borrowed at will. And I have more love for police, fire and emergency medical folks than most would understand. Yes, this may seem trivial and many people who serve could care less about their rack. As a military leader, I know I can’t get them more pay, a better house, a years leave that I know they deserve, or give them back what was taken. But I can honor them and declare to the world how great in spirit and fortitude they are and do my best to ensure their deeds do not fade but are remembered.

  8. So these cops can now wear ribbons they earned while in the military? I have a feeling many of us would put on a ribbon rack that the department would find obnoxious. More than just a good conduct ribbon can be awarded in a short number of years.

    • No. Police departments all establish their own internal awards system and use manufacturered off-the-shelf ribbons and pins usually to represent them.

      No one is deliberately using military medals to represent military achievements or awards for service.

  9. Oh Hell No! I’m not a fan of PDs allowing officers to wear DoD service medals earned but so be it. But for a PD to just willy nilly grab medals from the DoD rack and use those as their own is bullshit and it puts a wedge between military and law enforcement. That PD needs to fix their shit ASAP.

    • Hey K-9 Justice. Even more, to know those who have served and the prices they paid (as a mother of 2 Veterans) I find it very careless on the part of the PD to as you say, willy nilly grab medals and . . . I think it lessens, in the eyes of those non-military families – the price paid by our military, and the gigantic difference between being a cop and being a Troop.

  10. Its not stolen valor, you are making too much of this. Who expects a police dept to design and then get produced their own unique ribbons for awards? I get that using existing DOD awards is kind of cheap an there has to be a better way, maybe create a set of awards all police can use across the country. However as a tax payer I have more to worry about how the police are spending money and doing with their time.

      • well if they don’t want a lawsuit against the dept for stolen valor or to be looked at as common crooks they should get their own medals and ribbons but to disgrace My fallen brothers by half heartedly wearing our medals I think not I served 8 yrs and a deployment and got 4 medals and 2 ribbons this is very offensive

    • Stolen Valor is Stolen Valor period. If you can’t see that, then you obviously haven’t earned awards. Taking these awards and calling them your own under a different pretense is no different telling the ones that truly earned them that their service doesn’t mean s%^t. You can argue it all you want, but its obvious you don’t get it. I’m not going to get into a D&*k measuring contest by flashing my ERB on here, but I will say I have and still continue to serve for quite a long time not to mention I was a cop with a major metro PD in Texas. What this department did was wrong. Any Cop or Soldier should be able to distinguish right and wrong. It’s no different from theft.

  11. C.M. Thorton, III your comment cant be serious. So if what you say is truely how you feel it would be okay for them to go ahead and throw in a Congressional Medal Of Honor to huh. Better things to worry about I dont care how this department tries to sugar coat this they are wrong and it is a classic case of stolen valor. They are using others accomplishments to give an impression to a court room that she is credible because she has ribbons on her uniform. Im disgusted by these actions and your comments. You should slap yourself.

  12. Well I served 8 years, earned 4 ribbons 2 medals. If their dept doesn’t have a way to reward the officers there,maybe they should wait instead of going to the local surplus store. I also have a Combat Action Medal, so I’ve seen plenty of combat.

  13. Good grief………they were going to give awards but did not have a rewards system in place! Ridiculous………I say, get your own ribbons. Other’s do not deserve to wear ribbons that our vets earned with blood, sweat and tears!!!

  14. Hell no they shouldnt be allowed to wear them. I ain’t a vet and I aint been military long but that is very disrespectful. Good job to the Marine who spotted this and big shame on that police department.

  15. As stated above The Army of Occupation Medal was awarded for service in Berlin until 1990. That being said it differs from those awarded during and shotly after WW2 in one of two ways. Originally it was awarded fro service in the occupaion forces stationed throughout West Germany and Japan. Those who served in either country had an addition of a clasp with the respective country on it either Germany bar or Japan bar. I think it is inconcievable that ANY police Department would allow its officers veterans or not to wear military awards they did not earn!

  16. Better things to worry about? As a OIF & OEF vet this is not a small thing to over look like the hand full of officers who are trying to defend her. This is like she is slapping the vets who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Now lets see. so if i am catch wear a PD badge i can be arrested for impersonating an officer. But she can impersonate A combat vet ( a WWII vet at that ) this is not a big deal or you have better things to worry about. Seriously.

  17. I am a police officer, and we have our own ribbons-they aren’t that expensive to get made. It looks like just sheer laziness on the PD’s part. Also, we aren’t allowed to wear our military awards on our police uniform-they are two different jobs.

    • I understand, but having someone do that was unthinkable. I do appreciate your service as I also did but if she didn’t serve she should have not had those on and if she was POST certified then she would have known better!!

  18. Its wrong. millions of Men and Women lost their lives and limbs fighting wars based on lies to make the elite rich. They are the only ones who deserve to wear those medals. seeing as how once they discharge from the military they never receive anything else. but a thank you. smfh

  19. HOLY SHITBALLS. I can’t believe even a bunch of dick sucking communist liberal faggot wine sipping posing ass patriots would even speak out over this without a fear of being ostracized by their own. You anti-patriot, “we are the world” ban all guns except for those our WONDERFUL FEARLESS LEADER is supplying to our enemies type morons make me want to fucking puke. Made it back from the KOP twice. Those of you who know, know that it matters…I pray to die a glorious death every day rather than live in a world run by a bunch of pansy ass, pathetic individuals that would have an immigrant be treated better than someone that fought for the land upon which you so freely cast your arrogant, ignorant and misinformed votes.

  20. I dont think it is a question of Stolen Valor, it’s a question of laziness and stupidity. The Sanford Police Department was lazy in that they did not perform any planning for their award system, and stupidity in that no one questioned what the awards menat to the military. There are several companies out there who produce cloth ribbons for public safety awards and those ribbons do not have any color schemes that represent any military awards. I would like to see the next time she is on the witness stand, not wearing any awards that are military designs.

    • Apparently, Sanford does not have a military installation nearby.

      But there are lots of military retirees in Orlando, half-an-hour away.

  21. We have a problem and it’s called the Culture of Relativism. Bright lines have to be written and enforced for both military and police forces. Our military are awarded their medals for their service, and the police forces have their awards for their service. Let’s not start getting confused on who can do what to whom here.

    For instance, the military may not be deployed on American soil to enforce state laws (“posse comitatus”). Issue a State Patch for each state, and award police officers that patch.

    Know what you’re defending. Ultimately, both are defending the US Constitution, but only police officers are tasked with defending State Constitutions. The Military may not wear the State Patch because they may not lawfully be deployed on American soil.

    “Equivalence” of awards smacks of Culture of Relativism, blurring of lines. Bad things happen when Constitutional lines are blurred.

    If a military veteran goes into law enforcement, let him or her wear military medals BELOW State Patches

    • The military and state are two different things. For one the military is federal and the police is mostly state and in this case it is state. If she served that’s great, but i seriously doubt she did. My point is military deserves there awards and no state police should take that honor from them and put them for their uses to reward the soldiers (police officers). We have had military ribbons and awards since this day until a police officer decided to wear the wrong ribbons for her supposed time in the military. And was supposedly given to her by her police department.

    • im afraid we as a society are starting to combine military and civilian law enforcement as one entity. being a cop is just a job like anything else that is it. NO DIFFERENT!. No I do not agree with veterans wearing ribbons on police uniforms. If that’s okay then can I wear mine on my T shirt at my job?

    • @finishstrongdoc wrote, “For instance, the military may not be deployed on American soil to enforce state laws (‘posse comitatus’).”

      I sure hope you’re right about that in days soon to come.

  22. I’m betting there’s some pissy-ness going on in here because the PX Rangers are feeling some heat! Can’t take it, huh?? Is this calling-out hitting a little too close to home for ya?? Ha!

  23. why do our police depts need to wear ribbons anyway.. many many police depts are doing things like this and I think it s ignorant looking. and ridiculous

    • I personally think they are not getting the respect they deserve, but they are going about it the wrong way. They should have their own awards and ribbons in the military. Even if they did the people aren’t really looking for the awards on an officer are they??? Fact is if they are awards and ribbons on their uniforms they would be targeted just like the military.

  24. As a 3 1/2 year veteran! (making fun of everybody who feels the need to put out their time in service to make it seem like they have a more valid point than the last guy). I don’t like that the PD’s are using DoD awards as their own. I am kind of surprised that out of all the Police Departments across the U.S., NOBODY has come up with a common award system? Law Enforcement has been around quite a long time, I would think that someone would make up a common system for awards like the DoD has.

  25. To be fair, regardless of what this particular person was doing, medals worn on the right are worn on behalf of others and medals worn on the left are earned by oneself.

    • That guidance (wear on the right, wear on the left) is for the appropriate military uniform. This is a police department, not the US military. US military uniform guidance does not apply to a civilian police department. Each police department writes their own guidance for their own uniforms They don’t need to, and don’t have to, follow US military uniform guidance. Having said that, they certainly should not be randomly picking US military ribbons and arbitrarily authorizing for wear on their uniforms. “Congratulations, Sergeant. Here is your new ribbon for issuing 30 traffic tickets in a one-week period. Wear it with pride.”

  26. They shouldn’t be using military ribbons as their own awards in the first place, but how the heck do can then allow their officers to wear actual military awards alongside the police awards when some of them are the same ribbon. It’s been mentioned by several people that the AOM was given out as late as 1990, so it’s quite possible that a current police officer could have earned that award legitimately while on active duty. What happens when he is given the same ribbon for whatever they award it for? Does he then wear two of them? Or maybe add a star device to it?

    For the record, I don’t think it’s a bad idea to allow officers to wear military ribbons on the police uniforms if the they did earn them. I just don’t think the PD should be using DOD ribbons as their own awards.

    • I agree as long as there official military records show it they should but if you can’t then they should not. I know a military reserves who have earned their medals and ribbons while still be in the police department.

      • Thalyonse, you were very quick to challenge and attack users of Wikipedia, yet, even as a well-educated man, I have great difficulty understanding what it is you are trying to say. If you really did go to some form of higher education, I’d ask for my money back.

        • @Werner , OK, here’s a translation from non-native English.
          “I agree, so long as their official military records show that they should [wear the ribbons]. But if not, then they should not. I know military reservists who have earned their medals and ribbons [during Reserve duty], while still [employed] in the police department.

  27. Finishstrongdoc,
    Calling you wanna be big words BS… 13 years & counting Army Wife… My Husband has been through 2 overseas deployments AND IS CURRENTLY Stateside deployed… YEAHHHH bet you never knew that was possible… He is on title 10 in state working a FEMA site PLUS on 24/7 call with the state law enforcement and NO he is NOT a police officer… Nothing more than a soldier… However when the state falls short on their “enforcement” our little soldiers pick up the slack… So HOOAH on that for a while 😉

    • Your husband is probably assigned to call duty with the state law enforcement under a specific Act of Congress authorizing a departure from Posse Comitatus for a specific or specialized purpose. That also happened after 9/11. Generally speaking, the U.S. military cannot perform state policing functions as the National Guard does, under the authority of the governor of that state. Posse Comitatus is similar to Amendment X in some ways.

      Here is, IMO, a good explanation of the Posse Comitatus statute, written to warn against federal government overreach during a Republican administration in both the White House and both chambers of Congress.

      What of ‘Posse Comitatus’?

      By Gene Healy for the Akron Beacon Journal
      October 7, 2005.

      Having already wrecked a legendary American city, Hurricane Katrina may now be invoked to undermine a fundamental principle of American law: When it comes to domestic policing, the military should be a last resort, not a first responder.

      On Sept. 26, President Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that the U.S. military could seize control immediately in the aftermath of a natural disaster, noting that “it may require change of law.”

      The law the president seems to be referring to is the Posse Comitatus Act, the longstanding federal statute that restricts the government’s ability to use the U.S. military as a police force.

      Sen. John Warner, R.-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also has signaled his desire to change the law.

      Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita called Posse Comitatus a “very archaic” statute that hampers the president’s ability to respond to a crisis.

      Not so. The Posse Comitatus Act is no barrier to federal troops providing logistical support during natural disasters. Nor does it prohibit the president from using the Army to restore order in extraordinary circumstances — even over the objection of a state governor.

      What it does is set a high bar for the use of federal troops in a policing role. That reflects America’s traditional distrust of using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that’s well-justified.

      There are good reasons to resist any push toward domestic militarization.

      As one federal court has explained: “Military personnel must be trained to operate under circumstances where the protection of constitutional freedoms cannot receive the consideration needed in order to assure their preservation. The Posse Comitatus statute is intended to meet that danger.”

      Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honore, commander of the federal troops helping out in New Orleans, seemed to recognize that danger when he ordered his soldiers to keep their guns pointed down: “This isn’t Iraq,” he said.

      Soldiers are trained to be warriors, not peace officers — which is as it should be. But putting full-time warriors into a civilian policing situation can result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty.

      American law calls for civilian peace officers to keep the peace, or, failing that, National Guard troops under the command of their state governors. So perhaps we should stop treating the National Guard as if it’s no different than the Army Reserve.

      As Katrina made landfall, there were 7,000 Louisiana and Mississippi Guard troops deployed in Iraq. Among them were 3,700 members of Louisiana’s 256th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, who took with them high-water vehicles and other equipment that could have been put to better use in New Orleans.

      The Guard personnel at home had only one satellite phone for the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast when Katrina initially hit — because the others were in Iraq.

      Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, noted that had the Louisiana Guard “been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear.”

      Disaster relief and responding to civil disturbances are core missions for the Guard; attempting to establish democracy in the Middle East is not.

      The Katrina tragedy ought to be an occasion for rethinking a number of federal policies, including our promiscuous use of the Guard abroad. Instead, Washington seems poised to embrace further centralization and militarization at home.

      That has the makings of a policy disaster that would dwarf Hurricane Katrina.

  28. In my mind, the police department, hell any police department has NO RIGHT to authorize their officers to wear any DOD ribbon/medal. They haven’t earned the right to wear them. I respect the police for what they do and what they stand for, but military ribbons and medals are just that, MILITARY ribbons and medals. You have to EARN them.

  29. If you take a look at her uniform, it is not practical to wear the ribbons on the left hand side, her badge is there. That only leaves the right side. It took me a while to get used to it also, but I only wear mine on special occasions, not every day.

  30. It sounds like they are not the only police department to do this. I think police and fire departments come up with their own ribbons nationwide. A set that all of them use. This would benefit everyone. If they transfer, then all of the other officers or fire personnel would know exactly what their ribbons are and the meaning behind them. I don’t think this is a situation where someone was intentionally trying to say they earned them in the military, but a situation where the department was lazy and didn’t want to spend money coming up with their own color scheme for making new ribbons. Regardless, it’s wrong in my opinion and they should fix it.

  31. Why don’t they just use the NYC system? It is easy. All you do is send a letter to they supplier stating that you will follow the criteria set out by FDNY, NYPD et. al on agency letter head and you are all set. That is what my rescue squad did and what we use, and what many local police agencies have done. BTW, the supplier is Somes uniforms:

  32. As a Marine I can tell you if it is not earned it is fraud and stolen valor regardless of the departments ignorance. This should not be tolerated in any shape form or fashion. Semper Fi

  33. While this is wrong, she is not to blame. Most people around the country would not know what those medals are or what they actually mean. If this has been going on for years from other police stations, why has it taken so long for people to realize this? There had to have been times where police officers have worn their ribbons and medals and nobody noticed this before? As far as police coming up with their own ribbons, it will take time and money to do this. Local taxes, property taxes will have to go up to pay for the ribbons and that will upset the people in those cities and towns. In saying that, I am not saying that it is alright what the are doing, but that is just something to think about.

    Is this wrong, YES IT IS. Does it need to be changed, YES IT DOES. But lets face it in a couple weeks most people will have forgotten about this and they will move onto the next SOCIAL MEDIA BREAKING STORY. And before I get ripped for saying what I have, My Grand Father served, 2 Uncles (1 for 20 years), 2 Brothers (1 for 24 years) and my wife who celebrates her 19th year this year. So I do understand…

    • Why do you defend her like she is some dumb poor helpless female? She wore the ribbons – She pinned them on – she committed the fraud! It is stolen valor – clear and simple!

  34. This is real simple….
    “The unauthorized wearing of military medals or decorations is a federal misdemeanor charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in federal prison upon conviction”. Now that being said anyone wearing the medals who is not authorized by the federal government is in violation of federal law and not only that but they could or should be fired or heavily fined because of it.
    Being a Veteran I wonder how the Police Department would feel if I wore a Police Uniform around town?

  35. If you did not earn it you should not wear it. Police department are not military “yet”. There is a general militarization of the police in this country. Look at the Boston action. The police got into firefight in a populated area and then shot themselves when having uncontrolled fires when arresting wounded terror suspect. The police do not need to be running around looking like wannabe SEALS, Delta Operators or Rangers, simply because they are not. And the police need to keep our medals off their chests!

  36. I was awarded the AOM for being in Berlin before the wall went down (88-91) tome it’s no big deal, I know the real reason behind the medal

  37. Interesting “Rack” on the officer: Combat Readiness Medal, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, DoD Distinguished Service Medal, ??, Army Good Conduct Medal with a non-“knot” device, WW II Army of Occupation (or Berlin service if stationed pre-1991).

    All ribbons in the wrong precedence.

    Violations are clear, punishment: five minutes of butt chewing with a gunny or sergeant major.

  38. That truly is disgusting. If she wants her own medals, go earn them as the people who have those do. And to use the excuse that ‘because they knew there weren’t many veterans from that period alive so they didn’t think people would notice’? And that if she ‘earned it’? If she really did earn it, she’d HAVE one. Disgusting.

  39. I think that was a big deal not needing to be made. They are pieces of cloth used to represent something in your respective serves. So how does that make it any different then what the police departments are doing. Im sure you havent taken the time to realize that LEO earn their shit! Just cause their not storming the beaches of Normandy doesn’t mean they haven’t earned it in their own respectful way. I dont see anyone making a big deal about actors wearing complete UNIFORMS on film?? Im sure that officer appreciates the ribbons she has on her chest than some Joe Blow actor. Most law angecies dont have the type of funding to have ribbons specially made for their department. So please drop the ego and stop being so narrow minded. I have scene assholes with stacks of ribbons in the back of a squad car so how does that appear?

  40. You have got to be kidding me that is a disgrace to the Military men and women who served and died for our country. They should have never went to the Army/Navy store and just picked ribbons. There needs to be restrictions on buying ribbons like Military ID, access codes, certified paperwork, something. If you were in the Military and Earned these Ribbons then yes wear them everywhere with Pride, if not then DO NOT disgrace the Military And their AWARD Ribbons

  41. Agreed and I posted this on another forum. Police and Firemen associations in the USA and territories should get together and set a standard for ribbons and awards throughout the nation and not have to use military ones.
    Therefore they can proudly show their achievements in their own way and not be confused with military achievements.

  42. Born after WWII and served in still occupied Berlin in 71 and 72. The black to the viewers left is for Europe (then of course Berlin only till 90). Red toward the viewers left was for Japan. When the overseas ribbon came around, we were not allowed to have one for our Berlin tour. I think that changed, but I’ve been retired for 15 years and don’t keep up with it all anymore. Interesting topic though.

  43. so with this reasoning girl scout and boy scout leaders could just hand out military honors to the kids. WAKE UP people…I can’t believe a police dept would think on any level it is okay to go to a military store and use military awards, accommodations and acknowledgements for themselves. What the #^!! are they thinking?????????? and you know i saw her testimony and sat staring at them myself but did not have the knowledge as to which ones were which…thank you for sharing this with us.

  44. This is not necessarily a question of stolen valor and to perpetuate it as such is just as misleading and andd jus a big miscarraige of justice as someone who is guilty. I shouldn’t have to tell a site that it is not the award itself but the intent behind the award. In this case there is no intent whatsoever by the officer wearing the ribbons, but she is only doing what her department established as their award system.
    Now you could easily argue that a police department basically going to a surplus store and using military ribbons as their own award system is stupid and maybe insensitive, but what this article claims is somewhat disinguine.

    • If you read the story, we in no way accused her of Stolen Valor. We basically asked for opinions on the Police Department’s policy on using DOD medals. We plainly stated that about half way through the article.

      • Actually no. It doesn’t matter what you accused her of, the PD in Sanford has committed the crime of stolen valor (maybe not the officer, but the department did). You don’t wear a medal/ribbon you haven’t earned. Period. If you do, it is “stolen valor.”

        • Stolen valor is claiming to have earned it, when they haven’t. They earned those ribbons, however the meanings behind the awarding by the PD are separate from the military definitions. It is, in no way, stolen valor, only a misrepresentation of the ribbons and there meanings. Shame on the PD administrators that made the decision to go the cheap route, but also, shame on the PD for allowing it to go on for so long.

  45. Truth is, it is a lie. They did not earn these medals and if they did, they belong on their military uniform. It is a bald faced lie and should not stand.

  46. You mean to tell me that they can’t get someone to use just a pinch of creativity and come up with their own ribbons or whatever?? I just did one in less than a minute seriously — not that hard guys! Just because people have passed on does not mean their ribbon patterns should just be recycled for someone else — at least tweak it for the next generation or something!

  47. Don’t know what to say, but how dare they send some around the corner to pick some up?!?!? It wasn’t that easy for the brave members of our military “earn” much less “pick-up” around the corner! I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to be censored. Probably another great administer’s decision who has no clue!!!!!

  48. Well this is horrible.
    Disgraceful and disrespectful.
    From all I was ever taught it is illegal.
    You know I fight the whole world sometimes it seems to get law enforcement some respect like they used to have. I read they are going to fix this by making their own awards. I hope this travels far and wide that the best way to lose even more respect is to copy this PD’s mistake. The WWII recipients are dead is the worst thing I read.

  49. I suppose it could have been worse. Just imagine if they had “sent someone around the corner to pick up some ribbons” and the guy had wandered into the Girl Scout Supply store instead. They’d have little cookie badges.

  50. Glencoe Illinois PD also is using DOD Ribbons. I know of one officer wearing a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon. He has no military service.

  51. So if its ok for her to wear military ribbons as a police officer, why are the arresting and putting people in prison for impersonation a military member that has never served in the military.

  52. As a USAF veteran and a retired police Sergeant, I’m all for the wearing of military ribbons only IF THE POLICE OFFICER SERVED IN THE MILITARY AND EARNED THEM. If a law enforcement agency doesn’t have anyone on board who can design unique ribbons for their department (or the agency is just too lazy to do so), an idea would be perhaps to reach out to a neighboring agency and with permission use that agency’s ribbon designs.

    • Exactly. You can get ribbons and medals designd for law enforcement from a number of sources. Using military ribbons is stupid. I’m a veteran and retired police captain. My department never used military ribbons.

  53. Whoever the jackass that said its no big deal and they’re just pieces of cloth, maybe you need to have your ass thrown in a shithole for a year while getting shot at and bombed nonstop. You don’t have a damn clue what you’re talking about so until you get an intelligent thought in your head maybe you should shut the hell up and mature a bit. Why don’t you tell my old Commander that lost his leg to an IED that his ribbons are just bits of cloth. Maybe you could have told some of my past Soldiers their ribbons are just pieces of cloth if they hadn’t got killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those little pieces of cloth as you like to call them cost blood, tissue, and life for many that earned them. Many that wear them lost a piece of their soul to get them and haven’t been the same since they came home. You want to come onto a page that honors heroes and talk your trash because you didn’t have the testicular fortitude to join the military. Obviously you don’t have a clue what stolen valor means. When someone decides to take a medal they didn’t earn, wear it, and then call it something else, that is stealing valor you didn’t earn. I know both sides of it. I’ve been a cop and I am a Soldier. Anyone that can tell what right and wrong is, knows its stealing. It’s no different than what thieves get arrested for. By the way, you wouldn’t even have the right to spew your crap on here if it wasn’t for the men and women who died to get those “pieces of fabric”. By the way, I’m writing this post from Afghanistan.

  54. I served in Berlin from 1981-1986 and am a recipient of the Army of Occupation (Berlin) medal, so the whole notion that it is an award reserved for WWII vets does not hold water. There are still a lot of people out there that served in Berlin until the wall came down, a year later U.S. Army Berlin was no more.

    • Yep. I’m with Garth. I too served in Berlin from 84-86. It’s one of my favorite ribbons. having said that – because of it’s historic significance – the department should change it if they didn’t server there…

    • Alle medals are allowed to be worn with civilian clothes, and as a matter of fact, are often awarded in civilian clothes as well. A full medal set is usually also packaged with an ultraminiature (lapel pin decoration) which is worn by many with civilian clothes.

  55. I served with the 287th MP Co. (sep) in Berlin Germany from 1963-64 and anyone who served 6 months and a day received the ribbon until the wall came down. Berlin was considered an occupied city until then.

  56. I don’t think civilian police department should be mimicking the military. The military has responsibilities and procedures that are unique to them and the last thing we need are our “boys(and girls) in blue trying to be more military.

    What happened to LEO being friends of the neighborhood? Now it seems every municipality wants their own “Urban Assault Vehicle”, military weapons and tactics. Soon the Posse Comitatus Act will be irrelevant since each city or county will have their own “army” to keep the peace.

    We wouldn’t feel the need for enhanced police power like this if the judicial system worked as it should.

  57. this is a blatant attempt to sway a jury into believing all this woman says. IF their department does not have a medal system in place already, they should NOT be using ones from different branches of our military

  58. This police department’s policy undermines its credibility and integrity. Chief Smith needs to end this policy ASAP or at least amend it to allow wear of military decorations/awards only if earned by the individual police officer. Anything less is disrespectful to those of us who have served and have earned any of these things (I served in Berlin from 1986-1988 and hold the same sentiments as Robert, above).

  59. Why don’t they just make replicas of the “Pour le Merite” (aka the Blue Max) and issue them. That was a Prussian medal and certainly the recipients are “all dead” too and won’t notice. Along that line, that is why this copious wearing of tattoos annoys me. The wearing of a tattoo had one of two purposes: a slave (Romans, Greeks – just about every ancient culture), or a blooded warrior (Maoris, Romans, American Indians – ditto). 99% of the people that cover their body would be offended at the suggestion of the former and are certainly not the latter.

    • cultures change, which is why we now have the “copious wearing of tattoos”. In another culture, yes it might be offensive to them to see some of the tattoos nowadays and I’m sure the wearers today might be offended by what they may have represented in the past. Two centuries from now, if the regs have changed and these awards are no longer representative of the achievements of the U.S. military, then by all means, allow kids to walk around wearing them, all they want, however, as long as the current wear and appearance prescribes them for our servicemembers, then I certainly don’t want their meanings degraded by folks that think they “look cool” or used for other lesser purposes.

  60. Maybe you should all do some research before you start flipping out just like everyone crying for “Justice for Trayvon”. In many departments it is authorized to wear military ribbons that you have earned for certain occasions i.e. Memorial Day and is set for a specific time frame i.e. the week of the 4th of July. This maybe another example of this or, of something similar such as wearing your family members ribbons to show respect; whether I agree with that or not, is another story. So, In any case stop acting like ignorant clowns and do so research before you start crying wolf.

  61. UPDATE!!!!!! I actually just talked to the Capt. of police of Stanford, FLA. He stated that 10 years ago that the department revamped the department ribbons to use military ribbons instead of making their own. The ribbons obviously didn’t mean the same thing nor, were they meant to offend anyone. It was basically easier since the ribbons were already in production and available. The officer was not trying to steal honor and the department has pulled all the ribbons to make new ones. It’s amazing what you can do when you take 15 min to actually research something now, If only we all could do that……

  62. The real problem here is that they have discredited Armed Forces acknowledgement of outstanding service by using these medals.
    It’s not to hard to establish service awards, but stealing them from the armed forces is plain WRONG…..

  63. I guess I have a bigger problem with vets or their families dumping uniforms/medals/ribbons at the local army/navy or Goodwill store. THAT is the shameful part of this story. The fact that ANYONE (not just the local cops) could pick these up and display them…

    • Any surplus can purchase these ribbons and medals through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office. DRMO is how the services get rid of surplus items turned in by units. Sometimes these items are not reutilized by putting them back through the supply system, but are then sold in lots to bidding surplus stores. It’s not always veterans or family members hawking the uniforms to these stores.

      As far as previous comments on the PD wearing them, I think it might be an ‘honest’ mistake on the part of the officers, as it was department policy to issue them as representing the department awards. NOT Stolen Valor, since the officers were not claiming the military award. Each of the awards/medals/ribbons they earned through whatever action they were nominated for. Unfortunately the department failed, in the past, by not establishing their own award system, separating their design from that of the service branches. I think it is deplorable that the administration would think it is acceptable to reutilize military ribbons to represent whatever achievements they felt were appropriate. Thankfully the Sanford PD Chief had the courtesy to address the issue and begin to see that it is rectified.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the officers on the PD had noticed the use of military items and made complaints, only to be shot down by their command, citing department policy. Luckily, we now have watchdog groups standing up for the achievements and recognition that so many of us (the military) have earned through the years. Maybe this will make others across the nation take note and take a closer look at using military uniform items for their own use.

  64. Sanford PD is right. Normal people have no freaking clue what those bars mean. It’s just meaningless lines of color, nobody parses them. In fact I always thought that whole style of medalling was rather ugly.

  65. Hi,

    well, i guess that does make your school a bad one. Tests conducted by serveral Magazines, like the German ct magazine, did show that the (German) Wikipedia contains less errors than the most popular printed encyclopediae. I don´t see why the English Wiki should be any different. Hence Wikipedia is just about as reliable as an information source as anything that is written or published w/o going through a peer review process. And while those make excellent sources, they are still not free of mistakes.
    A good school and good teachers would teach their students how to properly work with Wikipedia. Saying that they can not use Wikipedia makes just about as much sense as telling them that they can not use the catchword index in the library, because that is not a source. In short, teach them how to do source criticism. By the scientific definition of a source Wikipedia in fact is one, in general a tertiary source.
    On the other hand most school books i did come across do not qualify as sources, since they did not have a bibliography.


  66. Good work Jeremiah Workman! I am a Navy Combat Veteran. The US Navy permits Navy veterans to wear the miniature cloth ribbons and specialty badges they rate with civilian clothing. I attempted to enter a court of law in Georgia with my earned miniature ribbons and aircrew wings pinned on my coat lapel and was told by law enforcement to remove them, they were prohibited in the court room. So, the Sanford, FL police wearing DoD awards does not wash with me. T-total BS!

  67. I Served 6 years in the USMC then worked and retired from the Houston Police Dept..we didn’t use Military service ribbons we had our own, and they were pretty generic.. available at most uniform supply stores..I have never heard of a dept allowing that…

    • ok people read the letter from the chief of police and you will notice that the department issued that fruit salad to her, they re-purposed military ribbons and awarded them to her, so read up before you crucify her for wearing decorations she earned in “her” line of duty. i am a vet and couldnt begin to tell you what all the military ribbons issued mean, other than the most important ones

  68. just glad the MOH ribbon wasn’t available and besides any WWII child of a veteran would have caught most of them . I spotted the German and Philippine ones because of my brother in laws . I don’t believe that they even come close to what that PD had they even said they have none . More like to BS the jury and court is how I saw it besides the lie they told

  69. I am appalled that you are “insulted” because these HEROES adopted the military”medal system” to show the ranks of their own!.First of all…there are no ranking systems of any branch that are copyrighted!!!! Secondly….most of the officers serve…have served…or have family members that serve…as I do! And last but definitely not least….you should be offering to help them implement am adopted system (and bask in you’re two minutes of fame that way) in stead of in this ludicrous manner (if it bothers you so much at night that you can’t sleep! In closing I suggest this to you….the next time you need help and you call 911…stand up for your perceived right to moan and complain about the audacity of that Officer…and If you see that responding Officer…or any other… wearing a medal they shouldn’t be, turn then away dammit…and tell that burglar standing in youre bedroom to”hang on” because you got the REAL…non medal wearing Police on the way!!!! Get over yourself and stand with those who stand to help you!!! And while youre running from the danger now….and theyre running toward it….thank GOD that’s no longer you’re job!!!!!

    • I am guessing this is directed at us, first of all no they are not copyrighted but they are covered under 10 USC 771-772, second ALL OF US here except two are still serving, and third no need to run from danger as we never would, that is what the 2nd Amendment is for. And if you would have taken time to read the entire article you would have seen that we DID NOT blame the officer. Not only that but the Chief, who is also a Veteran completely agreed with the other 99% of people on here.

  70. Last Army of occupation medal was awarded in 1990. I have one ,and so do all my brothers and sisters who were stationed in Berlin.


    • I am a civi and I know what is worn by whom and what is not worn any I find it hard to believe that not a person in that pd was never in nor knew a family member in the service .Besides it was designed to mislead everyone into thinking this officer was doing great work

  72. I did take valuable time of mine to read EVERY post!!! What you must understand is this system has been in place for this department and many more for decades…in my instance…20!!! Don’t get pissed at the consumer..yes, the consumer, for walking into an ‘Army and Navy” store, which also includes Law Enforcement under that umbrella, also accessible to EVERYONE else, and choosing these ribbons as the ones they would like to adopt into their system. Get pissed at the store and make them change the name to ‘any damn person that has a dollar to spend” store. My point, if the ribbons are so sacred, they should be regulated more carefully, like beer and cigarettes are supposedly regulated to the underage.

  73. So, yeah, I’m going to piss a LOT of people off, here. Please keep in mind that I am in the Army Reserves currently, served on AD in the past, have been affiliated with the Army for over 10 years now… AND have served as a Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol…

    My point is this:

    Yes, it was wrong for the SPD to authorize the Officers to wear military ribbons. However, those ribbons were “repurposed.” The officers are NOT claiming military honors they did not earn. The officers have NOT committed a crime or a violation of the Stolen Valor Act. Furthermore, the DEPARTMENT did not commit a crime or violation of the Act. Please remember that the Stolen Valor Act was struck down in June 2012 by U.S. v. Alvarez…

    But, it was wrong. Morally and ethically, the Sanford Police Department should have NEVER used military ribbons or awards as department awards. Several major police and fire supply stores, such as Galls, TOS, and others, as well as badge and award manufacturers, such as Smith Warren and Blackington, sell awards specifically for Police and FD use.

    But again, it is not the officers’ fault. Police officers in most departments are REQUIRED to abide by uniform standards. If those standards include wearing ribbons that the DEPARTMENT provides, so be it. And, for those that say the officers that are vets should have known better… I have been in the Army for over 10 years, and I don’t recognize all those ribbons. The only ones that really stand out to me are the DDSM and the AGCM… while the others look strangely “military-like,” I wouldn’t think to call the officer or the department out on its policy over it. So, department policy was immoral, but cut the officers a break, would ya? And, QUIT FIGHTING OVER WIKIPEDIA!!!!

      • Thanks to the two of you for: 1. Pointing out that the SCOTUS struck down the ORIGINAL Stolen Valor Act; and 2) Pointing out that another Stolen Valor Act was recently enacted…hopefully, this time the Congress got it right!

        In any event, the comments have been instructional for the most part; but also, there have been astounding comments as well!

        First of all, let’s please remember that these police officers are being called upon to give SWORN TRUTHFUL testimony in a trial that could result in one person spending much of the rest of his life behind bars…as the result of another person having lost his life. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS and should not be sullied by a police officer giving testimony while wearing ribbons that she likely did not earn…THAT IS A LIE!…pure and simple! Ask yourself: Why would a police officer wear ribbons he/she had not earned were it not to influence the jurors one way or another?

        Secondly, if we cannot count on our law enforcement officers to present a HONEST REPRESENTATION of who they are while on duty at the expense of the taxpayers, shouldn’t they be dismissed for committing fraud?

        It does appear that the new and current Chief of Police of the SPD has recognized the problems inherent in this practice and is taking steps to eliminate this deceit from the SPD. That is laudable; however, I must take serious issue with the use of the word, “RE-PURPOSED” is his letter of explanation. What kind of mumbo-jumbo is this? Chief Smith should tell the City Attorney of Sanford, FL to go get a job with the State Attorney’s office, as that office apparently accepts attorneys who don’t know the first thing about the law!

        Finally, to ALL (both alive and dead) who have honestly and earnestly served in the U.S. Military, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Wear those medals proudly…and OFTEN!


  75. My son served in the Marine Corp for 5 years. He gave me his uniform with ribbons and a rope that is attached at the shoulder as a Christmas present. I have purchased the display case and will have it properly mounted. However, when he was trying to put his ribbons on a bar….he didn’t do a perfect job of it. I want to get them fixed before I have the uniform mounted but NOBODY in my area can or will do it. I’ve asked for help from the VFW, the one store that sells the ribbons, etc. and they say they can’t do it. There’s a Marine Corp base close by but I can’t get on there to buy the ribbons. I don’t think a recruiting station could help me either. I don’t think the ribbons I have are salvageable so I have to buy new ribbons. I was told to give the list of ribbons to an online place that would properly mount them on a bar…but, for the life of me, I can’t tell them what those ribbons are. If anyone on here can advise how I can go about getting this problem solved, I’d be so greatful and can proceed with my quest to get his uniform properly displayed in my home.

    • Marilyn, type in Medals of America .com and you can purchase the ones you are looking for and they may even mount them for you if you ask

    • by the way I can tell you what each of his ribbons are, if you have a photo or a copy of his dd2i4 there should be every ribbon award listed on it , his discharge

  76. I don’t believe that policy was appropriate and I’m glad they changed it. My first thought was “How dare she?” then I read the whole article and realized it wasn’t her fault, that’s what she was given to wear. So it’s a good thing the policy changed because it does, in fact, reflect badly on the bearer of the medal, even if it wasn’t their intention to show any disrespect.

  77. If they lie about medals, what else will they lie about????
    …and what a huge mark of disrespect to those who earned them legitimately

  78. Oh, Frank that would be great if you can identify them. He’s in DE now. His wife joined the Coast Guard. It’s hard to get hold of him since he works a full time job and does the volunteer fire fighting on the side. He has his DD214. I don’t. I can’t order them until I know what they are. I will take a pic and show you. Can you give me your email addy so I can send you the pic of the medals and that rope thing? Thank you so much for helping me.

    • Marilyn, Take a good picture as close as you can and I can do just that for you . Email is ( ) and I will list them for you . and then go from there. Your welcome .If you ever go to F Book and type in my name take a look at the military needlework I do especially the personalized ones . your welcome and I don’t mind doing this.

  79. To Mike in Afghanistan……

    Thank you so much for serving in Afghanistan. Your name will be on my prayer list from now on. I’ve been asking for Devine protection for all of our service members there….and now I can specifically name you. Stay safe. I hope you come home to loving arms and hear praise and accolades for your sacrifices. You and everyone else over there are very important to us civilians here at home. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate and love you. Again…stay safe. If you or anyone else you know over there wants or needs a pen pal…please let me know. I’d love to write to you all.

  80. So if there aren’t very many MOH winners alive, does that mean I can wear a MOH if I mean no disrespect?

    What a load of crapola!

    This is at best conniving and duplicitous and IMHO shows a blatant disrespect for the men and women of our armed forces who have earned the right and the privilege to wear these ribbons and commendations.

  81. Forgive my language, but this just chaps my ass so bad that this bitch would have the unmitigated nerve to desecrate the meaning of those medals and those who actually earned them. My service records were lost for 20 years and until the board reviews my request to have my medals added, I wouldn’t dare to wear them. Additionally, that bull shit about police departments allowing veterans to wear medals that they have actually earned on their police uniform DOES NOT FLY! Earned or not she is OUT OF UNIFORM!

    I live in Orlando and go to school about 2 minutes from her office. Sanford Police Department has not heard the last from me!

  82. Anyone who watched the Zimmerman trial today should have noticed that Officer Singleton’s only sign of being a Police Officer for SPD was wearing her badge on a necklace type affair! Otherwise, she was attired in a conservative civilian suit, as was the lead homicide detective who also testified again.

    So, hats off to everyone who raised holy hell about this issue! Let’s hope that when we see people wearing MILITARY medals/ribbons, THEY ARE INDEED THE INDIVIDUALS WHO EARNED THEM…and DESERVE OUR THANKS/RESPECT!


  83. I think it is ridiculous for any organization to use US Military Medals other than our Armed Forces. I noticed in a recent email of some North Korean Officers wearing medals from asshole to elbow looking like clowns, perhaps they too would be in the market for some of our medals. I feel it is very disrespectful to our Veterans.

  84. Hmm…I spent a few moment – probably not enough – to find pictures of other Sanford Police Department officers wearing such accoutrement and could not find any. But then, I’m not surprised. Either way, my opinion that the whole case is a hoax. Another Psy Opera….Disinfotainment.
    Ultimately, if you pay close attention to details and timing of events, you will come to the conclusion that even our so called government is a hoax. The policies, bills, and agendas are already decided and written. Politicians and officials we see on TV are a bunch of actors who’s job it is to shove these BS policies up our asses with as little lube/protest as possible. These shootings and bombings are all hoaxes/Psy Ops used to justify the agenda.
    We no longer have representation in Washington. Our votes no longer count due to electronic voting fraud. Our consent is rarely needed and when it is it’s manufactured right along with the illusion of choice.

  85. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon”
    15 July 1815. To the captain of HMS Bellerophon.
    HMS Bellerophon carried Napoleon from the Ile d’Aix to Plymouth
    before he was transferred to the HMS Northumberland and taken into exile on St Helena.

  86. The Police are civilians! They are NOT military! I find it disturbing that they perceive themselves as some sort of military organization. It’s frightening when you see them all camo’ed up and acting as if they are some form of military authority. They are public servants and civilians!

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