Badges and Identity
Identifying Yourself with the Idea of the Kentucky Colonel
Badges and symbolic forms of identification are developed to promote the ideas of Kentucky colonelcy. In general a badge, pin or identity card is used to distinguish or show allegiance to the ideal of what it means to be a Kentucky colonel. Kentucky colonels today, because of the popularity of the award must create their own pomp to be recognized in society and individually distinguish themselves based on the act of being recognized by the Governor.
Kentucky Colonel Badges
There have been a variety of badges developed over the years that have been used to identify Kentucky colonels. The first one we could identify was from 1913, it was made by someone with the Kentucky Colonel Model Initiation Team of the Honorable Order of the Blue Goose International which was started in Chicago in 1914, all of the members of the group acted, conducted themselves and even dressed like Kentucky colonels. A photo of their group is on our home page.
While it may be a coincidence that the "Silver Star" coincides with the first Kentucky Colonel Commission of Richard Mentor Johnson by the Kentucky Legislature in 1813, an entrepreneur coincidentally reproduced the badge in 2013 in gold color. The design has caught on well enough that it has become our logo and an official symbol representing Kentucky colonelcy.
There is probably nothing more becoming or as attention grabbing than getting the Kentucky Colonel Badge to compliment the honorary status of being a Kentucky colonel, so we contacted a badge company to reproduce it as a high-quality product that is equal or superior to normal law enforcement badges used by most appointed, designated and elected officials.
When the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels learned about the badge they contacted the badge manufacturer and served a Cease and Desist Letter indicating that it was a violation of their trademark rights. A purely dishonorable false claim that stopped the manufacturer from producing any more badges.
You can no longer order the Kentucky Colonel Badge from the manufacturers or distributors because of legal threats made by the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels and their counsel The Wyatt Firm made to badge manufacturers who were producing the badges in January and February of 2021. Kentucky colonels who wish to get a badge now have to design their own.
Badge and Identity Laws
There are no specific laws that state a Kentucky Colonel should not, or shall not be allowed to carry or use a badge or a quality identification credential. A Kentucky colonel is a legally commissioned officer with honorary status, in the "old days" the status involved an official act, a commission, duties, identification, a medal and a uniform. Over the years, by 1921 the official duties, medal and uniform had all disappeared, but not the colonel because of his great significance in establishing the Commonwealth in 1792.
In 1957 Chief Justice Combs said, "Kentucky Colonels and notaries public are [commissioned officers] created in the name of the Commonwealth [under the authority of] its Chief Executive."
Adapted from the only applicable law in the Kentucky Revised Statutes Title XIII, Education § 164.980: (Impersonation of a Police Officer Prohibited) No person shall falsely represent himself/herself to be a [Kentucky Colonel] and in such assumed character, arrest, or detain, or search, or question, in any manner the person or property of any person, nor shall any person without the authority of the Governor wear an official uniform, insignia, badge, or other identification bearing the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Others have created various badges for Kentucky colonels, however these badges are not considered to be official or accepted for various reasons. The Kentucky Sheriff's Association uses a "Five Point Star Ball Tipped Badge" this type of badge is restricted and requires proper law enforcement ID to purchase or use in Kentucky.