During the Rock Springs City Council meeting Tuesday night, Rock Springs Police Department Sergeant Mathew Register presented a new patch to the Council.
According to Register, the first shoulder patch was introduced in the 1940s. It was a simple triangular shaped patch with the state seal in the center and Wyo. on the bottom.
In the 1980s, a new patch was designed and it’s the one the officers are still wearing. Register said each visual graphic on this patch had a certain meaning. The eagle on the top were a symbol of freedom, while the sheaves of wheat meant abundance and fertility. Also included on the patch, is the writing “to serve and protect.”
While trying to track down what the center symbol meant on the current patch, Register ran into a snag. No one really knew what it was supposed to be. He started asking all of the officers if they had any idea what it was.
“The closest clue that we had was ‘Gateway to Yellowstone,'” Register said.
“We did as much research as we could and I was about to call it,” Register said. “Google can only take us so far.”
Register visited the Rock Springs Historical Museum and explained what he was trying to find out. Someone at the museum told him it the center of the patch was the city’s seal. She showed him one and he knew it was correct.
The city seal was commissioned in the 80s when the city of Rock Springs was known as the “Gateway to Vacationland.” On the seal is the Grand Tetons, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Indian paintbrush, an oil dike, miners, livestock and the 1888 incorporated date.
“We set out to bring the agency together, to bring the community together, and to symbolize what a patch is,” Register said. “And a patch, that law enforcement wears, is a symbol of your community.”
Coal, trona and the oil field are represented in the new patch, however there is more to it than meets the eye.
“This patch has a lot of hidden meaning in it,” Register said.
The new patch has Wyo. on it and 1888, the year the city became incorporated. The miner hat, cross sledge and pick are symbolic of the natural resource industry. The number 56 represents the 56 nationalities that make up Rock Springs.
The overall shape of the new patch is a shield. The color royal blue and gold is a nod to the railroad industry. In the 1800s, the Union Pacific Coal Company train conductors wore royal blue uniforms with gold accents.
The light on the miners hat is strategically placed on the patch to point forward when worn on the officer’s left shoulder.
“It’s the light shining forward that symbolizes progression and our dedication to improving ourselves, our agency, our community and our legacy,” Register said.