A Challenge Coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. They are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members.
The New Jersey Public Safety Accreditation Coalition awards a very special Challenge Coin to each Accreditation Manager who receives an Honor Award for leading their organization through the accreditation process to a successful accreditation on-site assessment by either the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police (NJSACOP) or the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).
No one else is given or may possess this rare Challenge Coin than an Accreditation Manager who has proven themselves worthy of its possession.
The New Jersey Public Safety Accreditation Coalition Challenge Coin
Front Side of Coin
Rear Side of Coin
Origins of the Challenge Coin in the United States
As legend has it, during World War I American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. Some were wealthy young men who left colleges such as Yale and Harvard in order to enlist in the military. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered solid bronze medallions embossed with the squadron emblem for every member of his squadron. He carried his medallion in a small leather sack about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallions, the lieutenant's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire during a mission. He was forced to land behind enemy lines; where he was captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck.
He was eventually taken to a small French town near the front lines where he managed to escape during a night bombardment. During the attack, he donned civilian clothes and fled without personal identification.
After escaping, the brave pilot succeeded in avoiding German patrols until he reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land and stumbled into a French outpost. Unfortunately, the French in this sector had been plagued by German saboteurs, who sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him.
Just in time, the American remembered his leather pouch containing the bronze medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners. When the French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion, they gave the pilot enough time to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him, they gave him a bottle of wine.