Morale builder or bad optics?
The challenge coin for the NYPD’s Gang Squad is The Punisher, a blood-thirsty Marvel Comics vigilante whose co-creator said is no role model for police officers.
“Under the most positive framing, The Punisher is a very emotionally damaged criminal,” Gerry Conway, who helped come up with the character, told the Daily News. “He’s someone who breaks the law — takes the law into his own hands.
“This is exactly what we do not need as police officers,” Conway added. “He is not intended as a role model.”
Challenge coins have grown in popularity among cops in recent years. They’re bought, traded and often handed out as gifts at department functions.
Just last month, for instance, coins commemorating Domestic Violence Awareness Month were handed out at One Police Plaza.
The Gang Squad coin, for sale on eBay for $9.99, is dominated by The Punisher logo, a white skull with long teeth.
The Punisher, a Marvel character created in 1974, is an ex-Marine who turns into vigilante when his family was murdered. It has been turned into a popular Netflix series starring Jon Bernthal and its logo has been informally adopted by various military units.