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Former Milwaukee Police officer treasures collection of law enforcement patches

Posted at 6:11 AM, Sep 27, 2019

MILWAUKEE — It’s a display fit for a museum, and it may someday end up in one. Right now, it’s in Don Brockman’s south side basement.

“I never dreamed it would be like this. Never dreamed in my whole life I would keep on collecting all this,” the former Milwaukee Police officer admitted.

It’s a collection of patches, primarily from law enforcement agencies, that Brockman has been putting together for years. “I made 26 categories,” he said, as he showed TODAY’S TMJ4 around his basement. Brockman mounted and framed the patches himself, with no idea of how long it took. “Too numerous. Too numerous to count how many hours I've put into this hobby.”

In most cases, he traded MPD patches or others he’d gathered for new ones to put in the collection. He once paid $60 for a patch from Hawaii he really wanted. “I knew I wouldn’t get it unless I paid,” he said. “I got it now.”

Brockman donated displays with thousands of patches to the Milwaukee Police Department years ago. He said they’re not currently on display but hopes MPD finds a spot for them. As for the rest of the collection, he’s searching for a good home. “I didn't make them to sell. Some people who sell them have said, please, give me first choice. I don't plan on doing that.”

Brockman treasures all the items but will quickly tell you it’s always been about collecting more than just patches. “Making new friends and meeting them personally. And traveling. Enjoying their hospitality” is what he said he’s enjoyed most. “If they had time, they could come over to our house, too. I actually still write letters to some of them overseas.”