It was my understanding that when a citizen asks for an officer's name and badge number, they're required to provide it to you (in Michigan). Is there a law pertaining to this? If so, is it only the case if I'm being detained, cited, or arrested, or any time I request?

  • Are you asking in the scope of uniformed officers who are on duty? If so can you edit your question to include that? Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 4:39
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    A quick internet search suggests that most states do not have laws requiring police officers to identify themselves but that many police departments do have policies to that effect.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 8:19
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    I suspect that there is a difference between a person who doesn't identify himself as a police officer, and a person who claims to be a police officer. So if a drug dealer asks a potential customer "are you a police officer" a police officer is allowed to lie. If a police officer tries to arrest the drug dealer then he probably has to show proof that he is a police officer and not a random person pretending to be one.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:01
  • Notwithstanding the fact the citizen's arrests are still legal in many (most?) parts of the US, the fact that a police department has a policy means that it may be unlawful for them not to produce identification as adherence to the policies may be a requirement of their employment contract, and so failure to do so may be a breach of contract. Note that in this case, only the employer is entitled to seek remedy.
    – jimsug
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


I can't prove a negative, but it seems quite clear from my research that providing name and badge number is policy, not law. i.e. Many departments have a policy that their officers will provide name and badge number on request, but the punishment for failure to do so would be at the employment level not the legal level.

This site has a fairly good selection of various police department policies

I will note that Massachusetts appears to be an exception as mentioned by jimsug in his comment to another answer, they do require police to carry and show ID upon legal request (I did not look up what a "legal request" is)


Contrary to the myth, police are not required to identify themselves as such, unfortunately.

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    This doesn't provide a citation or reference to a particular law that answers the question being asked above. Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 4:38
  • @JasonAller, correct. There is no law to cite that requires an officer to provide their name and badge number Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:09
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    This answer is incorrect in at least MA - malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleVII/Chapter41/… police are required to carry and produce identification upon lawful request.
    – jimsug
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 5:14
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    @jimsug Note that there's at least some leeway in that: Massachusetts undercover cops aren't expected to carry IDs (in fact, they're probably expected not to).
    – cpast
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 7:15
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    @jimsug: It says "for processes of identification". I think that might apply to anyone who claims to be a police officer or walks around in a police uniform, but not someone who doesn't want to be recognised as a police officer.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Dec 4, 2015 at 20:04

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