Insignia of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has had many different patches, badges and door seals since 1850. Currently, we are attempting to catalog all of the insignia used by department members over the years. At last count, there were over 90 different styles of badges alone (including different ranks). We will try to include a representation of the insignia used over the years here on the home page, but it will not be an all inclusive listing.


Patches are one of the most recognizable attributes of a peace officer's uniform. Santa Clara County has had only two known patches worn by it's regular Deputy Sheriff's. Other patches have been worn by members of it's Reserve organization and specialized units. Below is a list of the patches worn by members of the Sheriff's Office. Links to images will be added as they become available.

Regular Deputy

CURRENT STYLE (392K) - The current style patch was introduced in 2006. It is similar to the prior patch design which had been worn since 1950, but the patch is 100% embroidered and has a black border. The patch is worn on a khaki (tan) shirt, with forest green slacks, with a silver 1/2 stripe.

PRIOR STYLE (24K) - This style patch was introduced in 1950. Besides differences in loom runs, and the 150th Anniversary issue, the style had not changed since it's introduction. The patch is a shield, with a gold border and blue twill background. The word "SHERIFF" is embroidered in gold above the Seal of the State of California (EUREKA). "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" is embroidered below the State Seal. This style patch is only worn by two other agencies in California; the San Joaquin and Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office (their background twill is black, rather than blue however). The patch is worn on a khaki (tan) shirt, with forest green slacks, with a silver 1/2 stripe.

150th ANNIVERSARY (1850-2000) (33K) - The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office celebrated it's 150th Anniversary in 2000. For this special occasion, the Sheriff authorized a special patch to be made . In addition, the Sheriff also authorized an anniversary badge to be worn. While the patches can be worn for the service length of the uniform they are on, the badges could only be worn in 1999 and 2000. The patch is similar to the regular patch, with the addition of "150TH ANNIVERSARY" embroidered above the State Seal and "1850" to the left and "2000" to the right of the State Seal. The other difference is that the patch is 100% embroidered, rather than just the lettering and the State Seal on the regular patch. A very limited run of these patches was made by two uniform shops.

BADGE PATCHES (363K) - Originally designed and worn by Deputies assigned to the K-9 Unit, the badge patches are now authorized and worn by all personnel. The badge patches may be worn on cold weather jackets, "wooly-pully" sweaters and raid jackets. They are not authorized for uniform shirts at this time. The current patches are in the rank of "DEPUTY", "SERGEANT", "LIEUTENANT" and "CAPTAIN". Deputies and Sergeants are silver, with a full color State Seal and Lieutenant and Captain are gold with a full color State Seal.

OLD STYLE (28K) - This patch was worn from the 1940's until 1950. Before that, no known patch was worn by Department members. The patch is a half moon, with a straight edge bottom. The border is gold, with "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" in gold along the curve. The word "SHERIFFS OFFICE" is along the straight edge bottom in gold. The background along the curve is blue embroidery and the area along the bottom is black twill.

Special Unit Patches

SERT (13K) - Sheriff's Emergency Response Team. This patch is currently worn by members of the SERT Team (Tactical/SWAT) and the Hostage Negotiation Team. The patch is the same style and wording as the regular patch, however the background twill is olive drab (OD) green with black embroidery. This patch is worn on OD green or "Woodland camouflage" BDU's (Battle Dress Uniforms) in tactical situations. This patch is currently in use and was introduced in the early 1990's. Prior to this, the SERT team used regular patches dyed black. For the 1984 Olympics, the team utilized black jumpsuits, with the Department patch silk screened in white on the shoulders.

DIVE TEAM (19K) - The Dive Team had this patch made in 2000 and it is the second patch the Unit has had. The patch is worn on baseball caps or jackets. The patch has a dark blue circle, with "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" and "SHERIFF" embroidered in yellow, around the outside. In the center, an aqua blue circle has the red and white dive flag, with a diver superimposed over the flag. In black embroidery around the inner circle is, "UNDERWATER" and "SEARCH UNIT".

SEARCH AND RESCUE (21K) - The members of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team wear standard Sheriff's Office shoulder patches. In addition, a 1 inch by 3 1/2 inch patch with the words 'SEARCH & RESCUE" is worn inch below the SO patch. The SAR patch uses the same yellow and blue colors as the SO patch. The shirts and parka's worn by SAR staff are international orange in color. This patch is currently in use and was introduced in 2002.

SEARCH AND RESCUE - AASAR (Old Style) (19K) - The Search and Rescue Unit used to wear two different patches. On one shoulder they wore the regular Sheriff's Office patch and on the other, they wore the AASAR patch. The AASAR patch is a round (circle) patch, with a black background. In the center, the California State Seal is embroidered. Above the State Seal, "SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHERIFF" is embroidered in gold. Below the Seal, "AASAR, ALLIED AGENCIES SEARCH AND RESCUE" is embroidered in orange. The shirts worn by SAR staff were international orange in color. This patch was used from 1995 until 2002.

CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER (26K) - This patch was introduced in 2002, for the civilian volunteers in the Department. Volunteers work in a variety of assignments, primarily in the Community Services Unit. The patch is worn on the shoulders of a white uniform shirt, with a miniature version of the regular patch where a badge is normally worn. The patch is round and 100% embroidered. The background is blue with gold lettering. In the center is a full color, California State seal. There are two circles surrounding the State seal. In the outermost ring, the words "SHERIFF'S OFFICE" and "COMMUNITY SERVICES" are embroidered in gold. In the inner ring, the words "THE COUNTY OF" and "SANTA CLARA" are embroidered in gold. Along the bottom of the circle patch, is a tab (rocker), with the word "VOLUNTEER", also embroidered in gold. The tab and circle are one patch and they are not separate pieces.

Reserve Patches

NOTE: Reserve Deputy Sheriffs currently wear the same patches and uniforms as regular Deputy Sheriffs.

RESERVE PATCH - 1980's to 1989 (26K) - This patch was worn by Reserve Deputy Sheriff's from the early 1980's to 1989. The patch was identical to the regular S/O patch, except that it had the word "RESERVE" embroidered in gold above the State Seal. This increased the overall patch size by approx. 1/2 inch. VARIATION (24K): A sample run of patches with the "RESERVE" in a silver ribbon was produced. This was the same design as the previous Reserve patch, except with a blue twill background. The design was never approved or worn on a uniform.

RESERVE PATCH - 1960 to 1980's (25K) - This style patch was identical to the variation above, except that the background twill was green. VARIATION(29K) - The Deputy Sheriff's assigned to Stanford University wore a similar patch from 1971 until 1980. The only difference was the word "STANFORD" embroidered in gold below the State Seal and above "SANTA CLARA COUNTY".

RESERVE PATCH - 1950's to 1960 (23K) - With a completely different look, this patch was worn from the 1950's to 1960. The patch was shaped with a half moon top, met with 45 degree angles from the straight edge bottom. The background is green twill, with a gold twill boarder. The words "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" is embroidered in gold along the top arc of the patch. A six point gold embroidered star is in the center, with "SHERIFF'S RESERVE" below.

AERO SQUADRON - 1958 to 1965 (30K) - A run of only 100 of these patches was made. They were first introduced in October of 1958. The patch is a shield shape, with a green twill background and gold twill boarder. "SHERIFF'S" is embroidered along the top, with "AERO SQUADRON" in gold, on a silver ribbon. Below that is a pair of gold flight wings, with a silver, seven point star, centered on the wings. Along the bottom is "SANTA CLARA COUNTY".

SHERIFF'S POSSE - 1950's (30K) - This patch was round, with a white twill background, and a green twill boarder. Along the top was "SHERIFF'S POSSE" embroidered in gold, with a gold embroidered seven point star in the middle. Inside the star, was an image of a horse head embroidered in green. Below the star, "SANTA CLARA CO." is embroidered in gold.

Sheriff's Academy Patch

SHERIFF'S ACADEMY (280K) - The Sheriff's Office opened it's own police academy, known as the "Santa Clara County Criminal Justice Training Center" in 2006. There were a variety of prototype patches designed, but this was the patch adopted by the Sheriff.

Explorer and Cadet Patches

NOTE: The Sheriff's Office no longer has an Explorer Post. They do have a Youth Cadet program however. Youth Cadets wear regular S/O patches on the sleeves of a white uniform shirt and green pants. A hat size S/O patch is worn on the left breast in place of a badge.
EXPLORER - 1988 to 1991 (26K) - This was the third patch worn by Explorers. The patch was the standard shield shape, with a green twill background and gold border. "RESCUE" was embroidered in gold along the top, with "EXPLORER" and "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" surrounding the California State Seal. Below that was "SHERIFF'S DEPT." (sic).

EXPLORER - 1980's to 1988 (25K) - The second patch was of the same design and color scheme, with "EXPLORER" embroidered along the top, with "SANTA CLARA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT." (sic) below the State Seal.

CADET - 1970's (27K) - This was the only patch worn by Cadets. It is of identical design to that of the Reserve patch used during the 1970's. The only difference is "CADET" rather than "RESERVE" is embroidered in the silver ribbon.

Door Seals

CURRENT STYLE (46K) - This door seal was introduced in 1990. The change was made to coincide with the implementation of a County wide change in logos. The current door seal is a seven point star, with rounded points. It has a gold background, with green lettering and highlights. The word "SHERIFF" is in a banner across the top of the star and has the County Seal in the middle. The County Seal consists of bridge over a river , the sun with rays and mountains. The words "THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA" encircle the scene. The door seal is displayed on the front doors of all marked Sheriff's Office patrol vehicles and on the side of motorcycle farings. The cars are all white, with the word "SHERIFF" in gold letting along the trunk lid.

6 Pt. BEAR STYLE (37K) - This door seal was introduced in 1988 and was only used for two years. During this time, very few of the patrol cars ever displayed this seal. It was designed after considering switching the style of the badges worn by Department members. New badges were ordered by the Department, but the style did not change to the six point star, with the bear in the middle. The door seal has a gold background with a silver bear in the middle. The word "SHERIFF" was along the top and "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" along the bottom in silver ribbons. Black "leaf" work was at each point of the star. The door seals were used on patrol cars only, though motorcycles decals were made and never used. The cars were white, with an approx. 4 inch green stripe running the length of the car, with gold highlight stripes above and below.

MT. HAMILTON STYLE (50K) - There were two variations of this door seal used by the Department. From approx. 1959 until 1972, the background of this door seal was silver. From 1972 until 1990, the background was gold. Otherwise, the seal was identical. It was a seven point star, with rounded points. The word "SHERIFF" was on a ribbon along the top of the star and the County Seal was in the center. The words "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" surrounded a scene of Mt. Hamilton, located in the east foothills of the County. On top of Mt. Hamilton, is Lick Observatory, part of the University of California system. The scene depicts Mt. Hamilton, with the observatory on top and has a winding road leading up the mountain. A field is visible in foreground, along with vegetation. The sky is blue, with white clouds; the mountain is green and the remaining detail is black and white. The cars utilizing the gold version were of the same paint scheme as above, with the green and gold stripes. The earlier silver version appeared on light green patrol cars, with white front doors and roofs. The word "SHERIFF" was on the trunk in gold letters on a black rectangle.

YELLOW STAR (43K) - This door seal was the first used by the Department. It was used from 1953 until 1959. No known insignia was used on Department vehicles prior to that date. The seal is a yellow, seven point star, with the words "SHERIFF" and "SANTA CLARA COUNTY" in the center. The design was very basic, as was the norm during that period. The patrol cars were black, with white doors. This door seal appears on the Department's 1959 Ford patrol car, utilized by the DARE program.

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Revised 06/27/09