California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 19

to the fact her cancer was discovered and treated quickly. It was through Dorothy’s struggle I learned one in eight women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime and I learned the important role that regular and routine breasts examinations played in combating this disease. So earlier this month, on October 1st, the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I put on my stiff, starchy wool Class “A” dress uniform at 6:30 a.m. and proudly stood shoulder-to-shoulder among my peers in front of the police station for an early morning photo shoot. The purpose of the morning’s shoot was to debut the bright sets of pink uniform patches that each of us wore on the shoulders of our uniforms in place of our regular shoulder patches. The bright pink patches, as well as bright pink chevrons and service stripes, stood out in stark contrast to the dark blue wool of our uniforms. Born from the tradition of wearing a pink ribbon to denote one’s support for breast cancer causes, the color pink has become synonymous with the fight against breast cancer and with raising community awareness against the disease. However, the color pink, especially the bright pink version adopted by the breast cancer movement, is not one that is normally associated with police officers. All the more reason then that the bright pink patches we wore on our uniform shirts that October morning had a special meaning. What lead to our officers wearing the pink patches was truly a grassroots effort. Late last year, the Irwindale Police Department embarked on a campaign to not only raise money for breast cancer research, but to use our position in the community to help educate the public about the lifesaving benefits of early detection and treatment. This effort was born from a conversation between Irwindale’s Police Chief Anthony Miranda and Police Records Clerk Norma Ortiz about the fact that three of our employees had lost their mothers to breast cancer during 2012, an exorbitantly high number considering we are a department of only 27 sworn officers and 10 professional staff. In the past, Irwindale PD and other agencies in our area, , had worn pink ribbons, pink rubber bracelets or pink pins with their uniforms. Though these efforts are admirable and should be recognized, Chief Miranda really believed we could be doing more. Recognizing that the Seal Beach PD started the movement last year, with the original purpose being to stimulate conversation with the community about the risks of breast cancer, the importance of early detection and treatment, and to increase support for breast cancer research. We knew we wanted to take our project a step further by using our pink patch project to not only encourage community engagement, but to also raise money for breast cancer research. With that, we began our partnership with City of Hope, a world-renowned cancer treatment and research hospital located in nearby Duarte. The idea of the #PinkPatchProject quickly gained steam and the Irwindale Police Officers Association (IPOA) came onboard. Even though wearing the pink Irwindale PD’s #PinkPatchProject has raised over $10,000 for cancer research WINTER 2015 | California Police Chief 19