Woodbridge Local 38 member Carol Sohn turns the traditional billfold-style badge wallet into a slim, stylish version for female officers
By Jennifer Bernstein
Photos by Clara Wang Photography
When coming on the job two years ago, Woodbridge Local 38 member Carol Sohn encountered a challenge that other female officers may have faced.
“There are no feminine badge wallets. They’re all typical bifold, men’s-style wallets,” explains Sohn. “There’s one woman’s badge wallet on the market, and it’s the same style except in a bright pink color. And that, to me, doesn’t mean feminine.”
So Sohn got to work. Knowing that female officers sacrifice a lot to be in uniform with their male counterparts, she didn’t think women should have to give up femininity for function.
“When we’re off duty, it’s nice to feel like a woman again, enjoy little luxuries, put our hair down, put on heels without sacrificing our duty and still protect while we’re out and about,” admits Sohn.
While brainstorming the name for her wallet and company, Sohn wondered “What is the spirit of the American police woman?” and Googled “Who was the first policewoman in America?” An incredible story of a woman by the name of Constance Kopp came up, the first female undersheriff in America, out of Hackensack.
“She’s got this amazing history of not being afraid to engage in a gunfight, arresting burly fugitives and chasing after escaped prisoners into frigid, freezing waters,” admires Sohn.
“And to be the first of her kind in that day and age was just such an inspiration. That’s the kind of spirit that I want to be able to carry in this career. I want our business to inspire other women. To be a feminine police officer doesn’t mean just being able to look pretty, but being able to perform regardless of gender.”
Your badge is a symbol of your commitment to the job, and you’re not leaving home without it. Your shield, along with your sidearm, is one of the most important tools you carry. Sohn was annoyed to find herself carrying two wallets wherever she went — her daily wallet and a men’s badge wallet.
“We still pay parking meters like everyone else, and most of us women don’t throw loose change in our pockets like men do,” Sohn says, disgruntled. “I decided to design a badge wallet for women that is functional, beautiful, professional and could be our daily essential wallet.”
Giving women the ability to carry their shield wherever they go and not having to worry about packing it separately was one of Sohn’s goals. Sohn knows the importance of being able to quickly self-identify with your police ID and badge, to be able to carry cash, coins and cards, all with the ability to go hands-free — and to do it discreetly.
“Not everybody on the street needs to know who we are when we are off duty. And that’s important to us,” professes Sohn. “To be able to live like a civilian and be within reach to act as a police officer when we’re called to do so, that’s what this wallet does for us, while feeling feminine.”
Doing her research ,Sohn realized that many women carry high-end fashion wallets like those by Prada and Louis Vuitton. Wanting something luxurious shouldn’t mean trading function or giving up on luxury.
Knowing that quality and durability are important aspects for the active life of a police officer, Sohn chose high-quality leather imported from Italy. Each wallet is manufactured in New Jersey, and Sohn is making sure workers are fairly paid. “I want this wallet to be something that every woman can not only be proud of carrying, but also enjoy carrying,” she says.
Get 10 percent off a badge wallet by using code NJCOPSMAG10 at koppwallets.com.