Men and women in blue – and pink
What do the New England Patriots and the Falmouth Police Department have in common?
Both are wearing pink to raise breast cancer awareness during the month of October.
While the Patriots wear pink shoe laces, cleats, wristbands, gloves and other sideline apparel, the Falmouth police officers have the option of wearing pink shoulder patches on their uniforms.
The department is participating in the national Pink Patch Project, which raises awareness and money to support treatment, education and research towards a cure.
“There are now more than 150 police departments participating nationally, and we were the 135th police department to sign on,” said Falmouth Police Chief Edward Dunne.
As the name of the project denotes, pink patches are the center of the project that started in Seal Beach, California in 2013. The police officers replaced their department shoulder patches on their uniforms with embroidered pink patches to show support for those touched by breast cancer, to raise awareness and to raise money for local charities. The idea caught on and soon other police departments joined the project as news spread on social media.
Once Chief Dunne heard about it, he contacted the Irwindale Police Department in California to inquire about the program. The Irwindale department had built on the Seal Beach program by selling their patches to the public, in addition to having them on their uniforms.
“When I spoke with California, they said we can make our donation to any organization we want to as long as it is a facility that is involved with cancer treatment,” said Chief Dunne.
He contacted Cape Cod Healthcare as a partner and is thrilled that the money will go to the Clark Cancer Center and Seifer Women’s Health and Imaging Center at Falmouth Hospital. The patches cost $10 and the caps are $20, and they can be purchased at the Falmouth Police Department from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Shift supervisors will also have them available on the evening shift. The Falmouth Chamber of Commerce also has the patches and caps and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sales will continue throughout the year, Chief Dunne said.
The Barnstable Police Department, through the Barnstable Police Association, has also partnered with Cape Cod Healthcare to raise awareness and gather donations for the Davenport-Mugar Cancer Center in Hyannis, through the sale of long and short-sleeve t-shirts and hats, emblazoned with the message “Beat Cancer.” The items are available at the main police station at 1200 Phinney’s Lane in Hyannis, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. through the end of November.
The cost for shirts and hats is $20 each.
The Cape Cod Version of the Pink Patch Project
While Chief Dunne was inspired to get the department involved, he decided to take a few more steps to promote the project to the general public.
“We re-designed our patches to include the pink ribbons,” said Chief Dunne. He was thrilled that the patches are bright pink because they really stand out against the officers’ navy blue uniforms.
To further entice sales, he had the embroidered patch placed on size-adjustable baseball caps for those who would prefer them over purchasing the patches. And for further advertising, he had magnetic decals made to cover the town logo on the cruiser doors just for the month of October.
Department members have been discussing the project during roll call meetings, said Chief Dunne.
“Our goal is to get people thinking about breast cancer and talking about it. And who better to do it than police officers. We are always engaging the public in the community. The police officers will be carrying business cards with information about website resources for breast cancer.”
Chief Dunne said that while participation in the project is optional for the 58 officers on the force, “it has been well-received by all of them.”
Featured Photo: Falmouth Police Department’s Chief Dunne, Captain Reid, and other police officers from across the nation display their Pink Patch Project gear at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia. Photo courtesy of the Falmouth Police Department Facebook Page.