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Behind the Badge Lodi Police Departments across the nation

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Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 12:00 am

It’s a little known fact, but there are five municipalities named Lodi in the United States. There is the village of Lodi, population 326, by the town of Lodi in upstate New York near the Finger Lakes. The area features wineries, the Hotel Lodi, and Lodi Point state park. They even have a Lodi Fire Department. But no Lodi Police Department. That neck of the woods is patrolled by the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department.

Then there is the village of Lodi, Ohio, population 2,200. There are 62,134 people living in our city. Their Lodi P.D. has four officers while we have 73 cops in our department. They celebrate the annual corn festival and the Lodi Station outlets are very popular. The village was named after the Native American Chief Lodi, who lived nearby.

The patch their officers wear on their uniforms is a black triangle with “LODI POLICE” and “OHIO” embroidered in gray. The state seal in the center of the patch consists of a sheaf of wheat and a bundle of 17 arrows in an open field at sunrise, or sunset, depending on your outlook on life.

Our patch is a royal blue shield with “LODI POLICE” embroidered in gold at the top. There is a bunch of purple grapes with light green leaves ready for harvest in the middle of the patch. The patch is trimmed in gold.

Fun fact: When I started with our department in 1988, we wore a single silver patch on our left shoulder. There was no patch on our right shoulder. We did not switch to gold patches on both sleeves until a few years later.

The Lodi in Wisconsin has 2,200 residents and proudly proclaims itself as the Home of Susie the Duck. It’s part of the Ice Age Scenic Trail and is the birthplace of actor Tom Wopat of “Dukes of Hazard” fame. According to townsfolk there, Lodi means “peaceful valley.”

Their five-officer police department’s dispatch center closes between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for lunch each weekday. They ask that you leave a message if you call during lunch and an officer will return your call later. They had three violent crimes last year. It truly is a peaceful valley.

The Wisconsin LPD has a nice police station on Main Street, about the same size of our Lodi parks and recreation office. Our station is over a city block long.

The Wisconsin version of LPD’s patch is black shield trimmed in white with “POLICE” embroidered in white above a gold badge. “LODI” and “WISCONSIN” and a star are sewn in white on the badge. A gray eagle is perched on the badge.

They had one stolen auto, two assaults, and six burglaries in 2009.

The borough of Lodi, N.J. has a 40 member police department in a city with 24,000 residents. They have the same basic organization as we do: patrol, investigations, traffic, dispatch, records and animal control. They have six dispatchers; we have 18. They have two detectives and a detective sergeant who also act as school resource officers. We have 11 detectives along with four school resource officers whose sole duty is to patrol the schools. We have three motorcycle officers and a sergeant in our traffic unit. They have one officer in their traffic division.

They do have a link dedicated to their internal affairs division, which is spooky. Well, the borough is the home of Dr. Chud and the Bada Bing! club from “The Sopranos,” so that probably explains it.

The Lodi, N.J. patch is a navy blue shield trimmed in light blue and black. “LODI” and “POLICE N.J.” are embroidered in white next to two gold stars. There are two hands in a tug of war over an Olympic torch on the city seal in the center of the patch. The torch is surrounded by the phrase, “Borough of Lodi New Jersey, A Neighborly Community.” I guess the neighbors both really want that torch.

Finally, I don’t know if it counts, but there is the La Polizia Municipale di Lodi. They are the traffic officers who patrol the town of Lodi in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. They drive light blue Lamborghini sports cars which have a top speed of 203 mph. I wonder what happens when you hit 204.

We have a lot in common with the officers at the smaller Lodi Police Departments across the nation. We share the same stresses and dangers, just in different numbers. And we’re all proud to wear "LODI POLICE" on our uniforms.

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