Orval Davis History

OrvalDavis Orval Davis was the longtime Chief of Police of El Monte, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. Having noticed how visitors (children in particular) were drawn to the small badge and patch display in the lobby of the police station, Chief Davis decided to amass a larger display of badges from around the nation and, later, around the world. As the collection grew, it became famous and it was featured on TV, in magazines, and in many newspaper feature stories. Visitors came from around the world to view it, as it was one of the very few large collections on display to the public. It was written up in the International Association of Chiefs of Police journal, The Police Chief, and that resulted in even more additions to the collection. Chief Davis was one of the very first badge collectors in California, and was active in a number of law enforcement and civic groups. Between 1950 and his death in 1976, Chief Davis amassed several thousand badges, and kept badge logs detailing when he received each one, and from who. Over 90% of the badges came directly from other chiefs of police or sheriffs, often with a transmittal letter. It is rare for any collection to be documented like that. Some of the badges predate 1900, others are commemorative shields presented to retiring lawmen. At least one badge is thought to be the only surviving example of its kind. The badges were kept in custom-made glass-enclosed wooden frames and mounted on the walls of the El Monte Police Department for nearly fifty years. In the Fall of 2006, retired federal agent Raymond Sherrard bought the entire collection from Chief Davis' estate. All of the badges have been traded off or sold in order to pay for the purchase, and I don't have any available since the auction. You will see laser color copies of the faces and reverses of the badges, arranged by State, in this website. [The section of the website that contains the badges is currently under construction, and will be made available soon!  Keep checking in.] You will notice that some of the badges have had the original pins removed and may have two pinholes used to attach the badge to the display frame, while others have the original findings and no pinholes. Veteran badge collector and repair artist Ed Kelley will replace any findings and fill in the pinholes for a very modest fee.