The police mourning band is traditionally worn over a law enforcement officer's badge as a symbol of mourning of a fallen officer. It is believed the custom was modified from a tradition of wearing a black band around one's arm when a family member passed away.
Although there is no set standard or national protocol regulating the wearing of the band, the follwing information is frequently referenced by several websites, and was originally produced by the Officer Down Memorial Page website.
The preferred mourning band is a solid black band that will fit tightly around your agency's badge. For most badges, the mourning band should be worn straight across the center of the badge. For star badges, the mourning band should be worn from 11 to 5, as if looking at the face of a clock.
The width of the black band should not exceed ½ inch. Mourning bands with the thin blue line are not preferred, although some agencies use them.
Black mourning bands shall be worn on a law enforcement badge only in the following circumstances:
- Upon the line of duty death of an active law enforcement officer (LEO) in your department. The mourning band should be worn for a period of thirty days from the date of death.
- By all LEO in uniform or in civilian clothing while displaying a badge when attending the funeral of an active LEO. Upon the completion of the funeral, the mourning band shall be removed.
- Upon the line of duty death of a LEO from a neighboring jurisdiction. The mourning band will be worn from the date of death and removed at the conclusion of the day of burial.
- National Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15th).
- The day of any memorial service your agency has honoring your department's LEO's who have died in the line of duty.
- At the direction of your sheriff, agency director or chief of police, when special circumstances dictate that a department display of official mourning is appropriate.