Those who interact with the Westminster Police Department in September may notice something a little different.
Throughout this September for the first time, Westminster Police Department personnel are donning special 9/11 commemorative badges.
The insignias are a stark reminder of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people, including more than 450 fire, police, military and first responders, by flying commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.
“Our Chief (Darin Lenyi), as September came closer, had the idea of putting something together,” said Sgt. Bill Drinnin, who volunteered to work on the project with Sgt. Ryan Reyes.
Reyes remembers that in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks Westminster Police Department employees wore commemorative badges for about a year before returning to their traditional insignias. However, when the idea came up to have special badges that could be worn every September, officers were instantly supportive.
“I was working here when (the attacks) happened,” Drinnin said. “It’s one of the biggest things in my life that has happened. It has always tugged at my heartstrings.”
Reyes said the badge project resonated with him. He was a young officer just coming off the night shift on Sept. 11, 2001 when he learned of the devastation.
“The idea for a badge like that really hit home,” he said.
The design, which was eventually chosen through a collaborative process, is subtle yet powerful. A depiction of the Clock Tower at Civic Commons, which is the background image in the regular Westminster police badges, is replaced with images of the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The image of the towers includes the number of firefighters and police killed in the deadliest terror attack ever carried out anywhere in the world. The badges are accented with gold and backed by a red, white, and blue depiction of an American flag.
Drinnin said Lenyi authorized the badges to be worn every September going forward.
“Any time you can be a part of a project that affects the entire department, there’s a sense of pride,” Reyes said.
Drinnin deflects personal recognition; however, the U.S. military veteran describes himself as one of the most unapologetically patriotic members of Westminster Police Department. He is a member of the department’s Honor Guard and a regular participant in events to remember fallen officers. Still, being part of a recognition that will carry forth in department history for years to come has special meaning.
“I am honored to have been part of the project,” Drinnin said.