San Bernardino County Sheriff Rod Hoops is clamping on a practice exploited by his predecessor, Retired Sheriff Gary Penrod.

Want a badge? Go through training.

Hoops has initiated a directive to patrol stations that what is commonly known as a “Special” Deputy Badge is history. If someone wants to carry an official badge in their pocket they need to meet state mandated qualifications and complete minimum reserve officer training.

The new directive stems from Hoop’s decision to abide by a 2007 California Attorney General opinion which basically says it is unlawful for individuals to carry badges that would lead an average person to believe the individual displaying the badge is a peace officer.

Simple enough.

Unlike “Reserve” Deputy Sheriff badges, “Special” Deputy badges were mainly distributed by two of Hoops predecessors, Retired Sheriff’s Gary Penrod and Floyd Tidwell as a perk to political donors and supporters. Retired Sheriff Dick Williams, who preceded Penrod, didn’t condone the practice.

In 2008, Penrod even testified in the criminal trial for convicted Orange County Sheriff Mike Corona that he saw nothing wrong with giving badges to political supporters.

Individuals issued the badges are being sent letters giving them thirty days to hand them over or face further action by the department.