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Officer Honors Lawmen with Patch Collection

Bill Keltner

Bill Keltner

2800 Police Insignias on Display

Arturo Luis Gutierrez is the Emergency Disaster Manager for the state of Texas. He lives comfortably in Harlingen with his wife, Merced Robles, until the telephone rings to call him to a disaster somewhere in the state. The calls come from the state headquarters of the Department of Public Safety in Austin. “When they call, I pack up and ship out,” he said.

“My wife tells me she is impressed that I can step in and coordinate any emergency situation in the state, but, she prefers to stay home and support me without all the excitement,” he explains.”

That ability to step in and manage major emergencies comes from his experience as a life-long law enforcement officer. After graduation from Harlingen High School in 1978 and working on his Master’s degree at the University of Texas/Brownsville, he went to work with the Cameron County Sheriff’s Department under Alex Perez and Omar Lucio from 1989 till 2005, and Texas Department of Public Safety from 2008 until now. The lapse from 2005 till 2008 reflects his stint at Texas State Technical College where he got his chemistry degree to help him in criminal investigations. He graduated with top honors and Phi Beta Kappa recognition. On top of all that, he is a qualified Crime Scene Investigator with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department. That’s the background, and now the rest of our story:

In 1989, a fellow officer in the Sheriff’s department gave him a distinctive police uniform patch that fascinated him. He doesn’t remember who, but it started a life-long hobby of collecting uniform patches from police departments, and other law enforcement divisions.

Officer Gutierrez displays just a sample of his 2,800 law enforcement patches.

Officer Gutierrez displays just a sample of his 2,800 law enforcement patches.

From that simple beginning, his collection has grown to over 2,800 law enforcement officer patches from all 50 states and foreign countries.. There are so many that he keeps them in huge binders and the special ones in glass frames. “Of the 2,800 in the collecton,” he said, “there are 650 from FBI agents, 200 DPS patches (including Rangers), 176 Valley Police Department, including three from the La Feria Police Department. The rest are from state police, U.S. Border Patrol, Secret Service, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), U.S Customs and Immigration Service (ICE), Military Police, the IRS investigators, and the U.S. Marshalls department. The ones from Germany are unique in the form of little metal badges.”

But Officer Gutierrez doesn’t keep this all to himself. He uses the impressive collection of Police officer uniform patches in lectures that he presents to law enforcement agencies, churches, military groups, or fraternal organizations. “My purpose is to boost people’s appreciation for the valuable contribution of all the law enforcement agencies that stand guard and protect us against crime and terrorism,” he said. He has been invited to give his presentation and display his collection of law enforcement badges all over the state and country. He’s usually available, just make sure no hurricane or flood is bearing down when you call.

Any organization that would enjoy his impressive, educational presentation can contact him at r2d2gutierrez@gmail.com.

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One Response to Officer Honors Lawmen with Patch Collection

  1. Dr. Dale Reply

    September 10, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    What a wonderful tribute and fun pastime. I have collected law and fire patches for a number of years as I traveled, but this collection puts mine to shame! For me, it is as much about meeting people as collecting the patch. In the process I have made a friend or two. So, most patches have wonderful stories attached to them.

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