Challenge coins traditionally were popular and played a well-established role within several first responder organizations such as the Air Force, Navy, and Fire Fighting communities amongst others. While it was believed that only those that earned one for their valor could truly appreciate it, challenge coins have expanded in their influence and are now a part of collectible items. In modern times, it is not unusual for manufacturers to design coins for collectors in a variety of sizes, often made using popular culture references to include superheroes and other well-known characters in a way that creates a parody, or creatively based on any of the responder organizations.

Type of Product

(PBMC) Police Brand Memorabilia and Collectibles’ MO Bear State Trooper Challenge Coin falls under this category. Available in Bronze and Antique Silver, 2.5 inches tall and 4 mm thick, and packaged in a clear PVC pouch, this collectible boasts of a ferocious brawny bear dressed in a uniform that is typical of troopers belonging to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). This product can be placed in a showcase typically made for challenge coins and viewed as part of one's extensive collection.

Information about the State

Missouri, a midwestern state of the US, not only home to a human population of over 6 million but also, diverse flora and fauna; it flaunts a bountiful topography enriched by freshwater bodies such as the Mississippi River, Missouri River, Table Rock Lake and Lake of Ozarks, additionally there are also smaller tributaries and streams. The Missouri River stands between the rolling hills of the Great Plains to the north and the Oak-Hickory Central U.S. hardwood forest to the south. Landlocked in the midst of 8 other states, Missouri is typically observed to have a humid continental climate. In the Missouri Bootheel, which is used to reference its extreme southern tip, the climate is humid subtropical. The state is located in what one would refer to as the interior of the US and often experiences extreme temperatures. Due to the absence of high mountains or oceans in the vicinity, the climate draws heavy influence from the cold Arctic air and the warm and sultry Gulf of Mexico. Speaking plainly, it is a state of four seasons and while each season causes unique road conditions, Missouri driving cannot be categorized entirely into spring, summer, autumn, or winter. Nature sometimes jumbles the four seasons together, and this can cause problems when residents travel.

The bear we see on the coin is representative of the state of Missouri’s growing black bear population, part of its exciting natural history, that declined in the 1950s only to make a comeback in the 1960s with the neighboring state of Arkansas reintroducing the species, so much so that the Missouri Department of Conservation had to come up with guidelines under the banner of “Be Bear Aware” to protect residents. A DNA study conducted in 2010 to assess the lineage of the black bear population in Missouri indicates that the largest population present in the counties of Webster and Douglas (in the south-central region) are descendants of the state’s indigenous population combined with the bears that migrated from Arkansas.

Information about the Patrol/Police Department

A knowledge of Missouri’s environment supports the association of a black bear with that of the Highway Patrol and instills a sense of pride in the hearts of collectors with this challenge coin in their possession since the troopers exhibit bear-like strength and resilience in the face of adversity. One of many such incidents that exemplifies this took place on 23 January 2010. Sergeant Timothy D. Peters, a trooper with MSHP, arrived at the scene of a traffic crash in Laclede County. A passenger car was lying on its side and had partially submerged in a rain-swollen creek. Sergeant Peters saw a civilian making an effort to rescue a man from the vehicular wreckage. He immediately set foot into the swift-moving water, which was well over his waist, and made his way to the scene. Sergeant Peters and the civilian grabbed the driver and hauled him together. When the man was freed from the vehicle, incidentally all three men were swept away from the car into the middle of the stream by the swift current. The civilian was swamped up by the water and Sergeant Peters had to pull him up, allowing him to gasp for air. Then he had to do the same for the driver who was in a similar situation. However, in lifting these men, Sergeant Peters lost footing and nearly submerged himself. Eventually, working together, the three men were able to make their way ashore. The driver recovered from the crash and one can positively say it wouldn’t have been this easy if not for the MSHP Trooper’s presence and quick action.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol, established in 1931, used to be a simple highway-patrolling force like any other but has now become a fully accredited law enforcement agency.  The Patrol’s main goal still remains to enforce traffic laws and promote safety along 33,000 miles of highway roads and adjacent areas under the state’s jurisdiction. Additional services such as motor vehicle inspection, gaming enforcement, public education, law enforcement training, criminal investigations, an examination of drivers’ license, analysis of criminal lab profiles, and research have been assigned to MSHP by governor and legislatures of the state. In 1992, The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies bestowed upon the Missouri State Highway Patrol necessary qualifications and it became the 10th State Highway Patrol to receive such accreditation. This only proved the Patrol’s commitment and dexterity in maintaining high standards of excellence in their area of work.

Click here to buy the MO Bear State Trooper Challenge Coin.