When you see a Sedona Police officer during the month of October, ask them about their new uniform patch. They’ll be happy you did.
That’s because the officers will be wearing a new city of Sedona patch on their sleeves that incorporates the color pink as well as a pair of pink ribbons in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“When I came here, I decided this was something I wanted us to do,” said SPD Chief David McGill, who came to Sedona earlier this year from southern California. “The troops are loving it. This is something that bonds us with the community. People forget because of the uniform that we’re human. This gives us a platform to say that we care about our community while recognizing women’s health issues and cancer.”
The patches are for sale for $10 at either the police department or at National Night Out on Sunday, Oct. 7, at Posse Grounds Park. Proceeds will be given to Impact One Breast Cancer Foundation. No public dollars are being spent for this project.
McGill said the officers will keep the patches and use them in future years. In addition, the officers will be wearing pink T-shirts under their uniforms.
“I will absolutely be wearing the pink patch in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” SPD Sgt. Stephanie Foley said. “We are given the option and for me it’s an easy decision to support the fight against breast cancer and honor those who have lost their lives.”
According to the California Peace Officers Association’s website, the Irwindale, Calif., Police Department started the program in 2015.
“What started as a grassroots awareness project at a small police department located in the northeastern portion of Los Angeles County has blossomed into more than 25 law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County actively participating in breast cancer awareness and fundraising through the Pink Patch Project,” the website stated.
When McGill initially told his officers about the Pink Patch Project, he was met with curiosity.
“Their first response was, ‘pink what?’” he said. “We had a prototype patch made up and that gave a real visual understanding of what it looks like. We did that because everyone kept asking what would be pink on the patch. Then they saw it and said, ‘Ah, now I get it.’ I think it looks neat.”
In previous years, Irwindale Police Department had adopted different programs to bring awareness to breast cancer. Officers were encouraged to wear ribbons, lapel pins and pink bands to bring awareness to the disease.
When Irwindale’s police chief presented his idea to the Irwindale Police Officer’s Association, he informed them that officer participation was not mandatory but solely voluntary. The department decided to take their pink patches and T-shirts they created bearing the pink patch to community events.
“The response they received from the community was overwhelmingly supportive. The demand for pink patches and T-shirts was so high that they had to order considerably more than they anticipated,” the website stated.
As the news of Irwindale Police Department’s pink patch spread, corporate sponsors contacted the police department to find out how they could support the project. Local news media outlets also jumped on board to cover the story. The momentum was building, and the word was out.
In November, which is men’s health month, SPD officers will be allowed to grow full facial hair for $25. Currently, SFD allows only mustaches. That money will be donated to 100 Club of Arizona, a men’s health organization. McGill said the public is encouraged to donate for that as well.
“We want to bring awareness to good causes while at the same time raise money for men’s and women’s health issues,” he said.