Police patches are increasingly being collected by those interested in the imagery itself, causing concern that the patches will be used to impersonate an officer. Among the many collectable topics is the Lincoln Highway, particularly patches with a road-related graphic. The patch of the Tama, Iowa, police includes what is perhaps the most recognizable LH landmark, the town’s concrete bridge with the road’s name in its side rails. An article in the Marshalltown Times-Republican says eBay offers thousands of patches daily due to this cross-collectability: “Recently a pair of Tama Police Department patches which features the famed Lincoln Highway bridge along with an older department patch sold for just over $27 for the three. It’s likely both police patch and Lincoln Highway memorabilia collectors drove the price offering on the eBay site.” Most departments do not give patches to collectors, but instead destroy old or worn ones.
The police page for Cairo, Ohio makes clear in big red letters, “Cairo PD is not currently giving away or trading patches.” The patch shows the road and spells out “Lincoln Highway.” The page, which has a LH logo, also recounts the road’s history through town:
“In 1921 Lincoln Highway went through Cairo, which was known as West Cairo at the time, on the former Bucyrus Road. Lincoln Highway was eventually designated as U.S. 30. When U.S. 30 was expanded into a four lane, Cairo was bypassed approximately one half mile to the south. Although U.S. 30 has moved south, historic Lincoln Highway still runs through Cairo.”