Sheriff Old West Badges

Sheriff Tombstone Badge

Sheriff Tombstone Badge


Sheriff Tombstone

Badge was worn by Sheriff John Behan in 1881, Cochise County was formed from part of pima county, with Tombstone as the county seat. That’s why this badge reads “Tombstone”.



A Little History…

Confronted with serious issues of crime, disorder, vice, and violence, the pioneers of the old West turned to members of their communities to enforce order. The office of sheriff was a natural addition in this environment. Selection could be made by appointment, or in most cases by popular vote from community residents to select a sheriff. The county-wide jurisdiction of the office fit very nicely in the law enforcement efforts and supervision of the vast countryside. The ability of the sheriff to respond to the hue and cry and to raise a posse helped greatly with the issues of crime and the isolated nature of the frontier. The office that had evolved over the centuries was a “hand in glove fit” for local law enforcement in the Wild West.

The office of the sheriff spread from community to community throughout settled areas west of the Mississippi. In 1823 and 1824, the colony of San Felipe de Austin formed a set of community rules that included a justice of the peace and an appointed sheriff to enforce regulations. In 1836, the adaptation of a constitution for the newly created Republic of Texas formally required these positions and read in part:

“There shall be appointed for each county, a convenient number of Justices of the Peace, one sheriff, and one coroner, who shall hold their offices for two years, to be elected by qualified voters of the district or county, as Congress may direct. Justices of the Peace and sheriffs shall be commissioned by the President [of the Republic]”.