CHP badges look very much like they did even before the CHP was formed as a state agency. In the 1920’s, each county had a traffic squad that was nominally controlled by the state. Cap pieces would indicate the county the officer worked in, but the badges were all similar. Changes to the badge over the years were few. Ranks were changed, and the traffic officer rank was replaced with the word officer which better reflects the expanded duties of the wearer after the merger with the California State Police occurred. Since 1959, badges have been issued sequentially and the numbers never repeated. Because of that, the badge number is used as an indicator of seniority. This is very important to the officer as seniority is used for transfers, vacation assignments, and sometimes even shift assignments. A low badge number indicates experience and age. Currently the numbers are in the 23500 range.
The CHP badge is a seven-point star surrounding the state seal of California. The points represent character, integrity, knowledge, judgement, honor, loyalty, and curtesy. The California state seal features Athena (the Greek goddess of wisdom, craft, and warfare), a California grizzly bear, a sailing ship, a miner, wheat, and grapevines, all symbols of the state and its history. Each badge has a unique, sequential number and a ribbon that indicates rank. When officers retire, they are given their original badge with a ribbon saying “retired” across the top.