October is all about pink for one local police department. Members of the Christiansburg Police Department will be sporting a pink arm badge and at least one patrol car has gone pink as part of the agency’s October effort against breast cancer. Police Chief Mark Sisson said October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”, and each of the department’s officers has been personally affected or knows someone that has faced this sometimes deadly disease. One of those is CPD Officer Gary Fields, who was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago and is now a survivor.
Sisson’s remarks came Wednesday as the department unveiled a pink-labeled patrol car.
“In addition to the patch, our agency is marking police patrol vehicle 113 in breast cancer awareness colors, which will be driven on normal patrol during the month of October,” he said.
The effort is a spinoff of the department’s Relay for Life team, which is labeled “Heroes helping Heroes.”
Sisson felt that name is appropriate as they mourn those who have lost the battle with breast cancer and cancer in general, while celebrating the lives of those who have won the fight.
“The relay name says it all. In addition, the relay and this campaign help us to build a stronger relationship with the community.”
He admitted the idea of decorating a patrol car was unconventional but felt it will gain the public’s attention. The car has pink ribbons on both the hood and trunk, while the word “POLICE” is also in pink.
Sign-a-rama donated the decals for the car, and additional donations have paid for the production of the patches.
Personnel assigned to work the October 13 Virginia Tech game will wear the breast cancer awareness patch on their left sleeve. Sisson has also encouraged other officers to wear that uniform shirt during the month of October, while on normal duty.
The patches are offered to the public at a cost of $10 with all the proceeds going toward the department’s Relay for Life team. The department had initially only ordered 400 patches but because of the high demand in just its first week, they have ordered another thousand.
Sisson credited Lt. Tim Brown and Sgt. Darren Epperly for bringing these ideas to him.
A similar car was turned pink in Washington County a few years ago, and Sisson said the sheriff there told him it helped to change the culture of how the community looked at the department. “I think and hope it will do the same thing here.”
Rockbridge County unveiled a similar car this summer.
For more information on the patches, contact the department at 382-3131.