ARNOLD, Mo. - New police badges have some Arnold residents doing double takes. The badges feature a shamrock and the words "Fighting Irish."
"The guys were excited. They didn't know anything about it. It was a surprise," said Arnold Police Major Brian Carroll.
The new badges were issued March 1.
"For the entire month of March, we plan on wearing the badges," Maj. Carroll said.
The shamrock and slogan have replaced the lady with the scales of justice and the city seal.
All 51 Arnold officers are wearing the new badges in support of wounded Officer Ryan O'Connor, who was shot and nearly killed in the line of duty December 5 by a burglary suspect. The suspect apparently had a hidden gun and killed himself after shooting O'Connor.
At present, O'Connor, 44, is rehabbing at Craig Hospital in Colorado, making progress doctors initially feared would never be possible given the injuries to his brain. He's moving his arms and legs and speaking in sentences.
The Arnold Police Chaplain put a post on the department's Facebook page, asking people to stop officers when they see the badges, thank them for their service, and maybe say a prayer for Ryan, his wife, and their four sons.
"Today, just talking to some of the guys on the street, they've been stopped by citizens and thanked for their service," Major Carroll said. "[Ryan's] come a long way. We're very pleased. Ryan's a fighter. He's very strong. He's courageous so we're proud to wear this badge."
The badges are not for sale, but t-shirts, hoodies, and challenge coins featuring the shamrock badges are. Prices start at $20, with proceeds going to the O'Connor family. You can pick them up at the Arnold Police Department or order online.
It'll be back to the regular badges next month.