Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons on Tuesday honored State Senator Bill Haine (D-Alton) and Circuit Judge Bill Mudge with "Retired State’s Attorney Badges."
Haine left the office of State’s Attorney 13 years ago, after serving from 1988 until 2002. Mudge left five years ago, serving from 2002 to 2010.
Gibbons said he decided to update badges worn by those employed through his office.
“Over the years, since I’ve been State’s Attorney, there has been word of the possibility that our old badges… had not been returned to the office,” said Gibbons.
According to Gibbons, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when a badge from the State’s Attorney’s office was found in the possession of a local serial burglar.
“I decided that it was time that we purchase brand new, completely different style badges for the State’s Attorney’s office for all assistant State’s Attorneys,” said Gibbons. “We are collecting all the badges from everybody that works in the office and getting them out of circulation. It’s a way for us to make a shift."
According to Gibbons, the badges, which were purchased using drug asset forfeiture funds, serve as symbol of the office. He gave the "retired" badges to his predecessors, Haine and Mudge, in recognition of their service.
In the meantime, Gibbons said he hopes the new badges will prevent the potential impersonation of State’s Attorney officials.
“If someone shows up at a crime scene and says, ‘I’m an assistant State’s Attorney,’ and they have a badge, the officer present will be able to recognize whether that badge is genuine or not,” Gibbons said.
According to Gibbons, the State’s Attorney’s office is taking measure to ensure that all police forces are familiar with the new badge design. A meeting will be held next week, and photocopies of the new badges will be distributed to all police chiefs.