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Police go pink to encourage breast cancer awareness

Patches, badges, handcuffs and more used in colorful message of support.

By Dan Campana

The colors of fall this time of year go beyond the golden hues of the changing leaves to include a vibrant touch of pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

What once was just symbolized by pink ribbons at fundraisers grew to a movement of support that included professional sports, most prominently with the NFL, and other events where the bright color stood out as a way to show encouragement for those battling the disease and hope for a cure to end it.

Police departments around the Chicago area, and the country, have stepped up their game as well by adopting some not-so-subtle adjustments to their uniforms and gear as a way to show solidarity with the seemingly countless number of women – and their families – who are coping with breast cancer.

“Breast cancer has touched the lives of several of our officers and employees,” Vernon Hills Police Chief Patrick Kreis said. “Officers wearing pink is a great way to raise awareness and spread the word that early detection is key to battling this disease.”

To that end, many Vernon Hills officers are sporting pink t-shirts underneath their uniforms and are carrying pink handcuffs, according to Kreis.

Vernon Hills Police Officer Rebecca Foy shows off the department’s pink t-shirt and pink handcuff look for October. (Vernon Hills Police Department photo)

In towns such as Aurora and Wauconda, pink badges have become standard issue during October, providing colorful pop to uniforms.

“We wear the badges every year for the entire month of October,” Wauconda Police Chief David Wermes said. “We started a program last year where we purchased breast cancer badges and all the additional proceeds from the badge purchase went to a breast cancer charity.”

For some departments, the movement hasn’t been limited to just October as several joined forces with the nationwide Pink Patch Project to support early detection of breast cancer. The Palos Park Police Department got on board earlier this year, but opted to make the pink patch a standard part of the uniform out of respect for a colleague who spent the summer caring for a family member with breast cancer.

“Our officers don the pink patches for all those who are currently battling cancer and to support those in recovery,” Palos Park Police Chief Joe Miller said. “Wearing the pink patch (for) our co-worker and his family is a small token of support.”

In addition to Palos Park, police in Carpentersville, Lincolnshire, Roselle, Round Lake and Round lake Heights are among the departments participating in the Pink Patch Project. Roselle has even added small pink patch logo on marked squads this month.

(Cover photo courtesy of Aurora Police Department)