STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva ordered badges for his security details which look similar to police badges, and there’s concern they could lead to confusion about who works for the city.
He isn’t shy about showing CBS13 the new police-style badges he’s handing out to his private security detail when he attends events, or visits Stockton’s more dangerous neighborhoods.
He says he got the badges “to make it more official.”
CBS13 obtained the invoice with a Public Records Act request.
No city money was spent on the badges. Silva paid more than $1,000 out of his own pocket for several badges, one bearing his name. Another says “Assistant to the Mayor” and several have the title “Private Security Officer.”
“Security guards in most companies have a badge and I ordered them for the guys when I hire them too,” Silva said.
But the badge also says “The Office of the Mayor” and “The City of Stockton.”
The city confirms there is no city position called private security officer, leading some to question whether the badges could mislead people into thinking the guards work for the city.
“I think nobody can mistake the two. Nobody can mistake a police officer for a security guard,” Silva said.
In a statement, the Stockton Police Department says, “[Our] practice is not to pass out honorary type badges to members of the community because they do look like law enforcement badges and we would not want someone to misuse the badge, impersonate a peace officer, or for the community to be confused about any perceived authority.”
Stockton Police also says it agrees with the California Attorney General’s opinion in 2007 saying giving an honorary badge to someone who is not a peace officer could be against the law if the badge looked close enough to the real thing.
The mayor says he’s hiring guards from a private security company and paying for it himself, because Stockton doesn’t have enough money to provide him with a security detail.
Silva ordered the badges from the same company that makes the police department’s badges, and he says he’s been using them for a few months.