Ask a Trooper: What does that pin on a state patrol uniform mean?

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Ask a Trooper with Sgt. Jesse Grabow“ASK A TROOPER” by Sgt. Jesse Grabow of the Minnesota State Patrol

Question: I noticed a white and blue pin on a highway patrolman’s uniform where a nametag might usually be, what would that stand for?

The blue and white service bar a trooper receives for a life-saving award. (Submitted photo)

The blue and white service bar a trooper receives for a life-saving award. (Submitted photo)

 Answer: What you saw was most likely a blue and white service bar that a Trooper received for a life-saving award. This recognition is awarded to State Patrol employees who perform life-saving acts where there’s no unusual hazard to the employee involved. The award is for incidents where a person’s death was imminent if not for the employee’s actions.

Here are other service bars awarded to State Patrol employees:

Meritorious Service Award (maroon and gold service bar) – To qualify for this award, the incident must involve great personal risk and pose hazards that could lead to serious injury or loss of life to the employee.

Valor Award (solid maroon service bar with gold lettering) – The Valor Award is for an outstanding degree of dedication and devotion above and beyond professional duty that involved an imminent and undisputable risk of loss of life to the employee. This award is given for an act or series of acts committed with outstanding courage in a situation that, because of its extraordinary circumstance, placed the employee and/or others in actual physical jeopardy. While exposed to danger, the person must have acted with deliberate intent, exercised judgment and performed competent action that reflects credit and admiration upon the employee and the Minnesota State Patrol. This award may be presented posthumously to the next-of-kin of the employee/enforcement officer who would have received the award.

Purple Heart (purple service bar) – This recognition may be awarded to employees seriously injured or killed from acts of aggression or assaults upon them while performing job-related duties. The person’s injuries must involve a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of their body’s ability to function. This award may be presented posthumously to the next-of-kin of the employee who would have otherwise received the award.

Gold and silver stars are added to the service bar for subsequent awards. These service bars are to be worn above the right chest pocket. The name plate is worn above the left chest pocket, just above the badge.

A portion of state statutes were used with permission from the Office of the Revisor of Statutes. If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Trp. Jesse Grabow – Minnesota State Patrol at 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or reach him at [email protected].


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