The first patch was created in 1936 and worn at mid-sleeve. It was a navy blue "T" (for Transit), with a red border and the words "New York City Transit Police" in red letters.
In 1955 a circular yellow and black patch was devised based on the seal of the New York City Transit Authority. This patch showed the front end of a subway car superimposed over a map of the city, with the N.Y.C. skyline silhouetted above. Because of its color and shape this patch was affectionately called "The Lemon" by members of the force.
In 1972 a departmental contest was held to develop a new patch. The winning design was based on the seal of the City of New York, and was in use from 1972 to January 1, 1993.
The last patch also shows the city seal. The Shield depicts two beavers and two flower barrels between the sails of a windmill. These have been the arms of the city since early colonial days when beaver pelts and flour were New York's major products. The shield is supported by a sailor holding a sounding line and a Native American of Manhattan resting his bow on the ground. The crest shows an eagle spreading it's wings over the northern hemisphere, signifying the importance of New York to American commerce. The date 1625 refers to the year that municipal government was organized in New Amsterdam, and the whole is surrounded by the laurel wreath of honor and achievement.