The Laurel Police Department is “going pink” this month to help raise breast cancer awareness.
October has been designated National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and during the past several years, various organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure have led a public awareness campaign. The color pink, and pink ribbons in particular, have been used to symbolize breast cancer awareness.
“Not a person in this country hasn't been affected by breast cancer, whether it's a family member, a friend or just someone they know; we all have a stake in this,” said Laurel police Capt. Carl DeWalt, who is credited with advancing the effort in the city department.
Laurel police Chief Richard McLaughlin said when DeWalt came to him with the suggestion of “going pink,” he thought it was a good idea.
“It's a great way to get the word out to the public, and already it's been very well-received throughout the community,” McLaughlin said.
Other groups in the county, such as the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department, also are “going pink” to show support. Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor authorized a change in work uniforms to allow staff to wear pink work shirts this month, according to a department news release, and the department recently unveiled a pink fire engine used to run service calls and promote awareness. Also, a staff-designed T-shirt and polo shirt reflecting the county department's advocacy efforts have been made available for sale; last year, shirt sales raised about $13,000, which was donated to breast cancer research, according to the release.
Laurel police are showing their support this month with a variety of pink accessories, including pink T-shirts, lapel pins, officer's badges, ribbons on police cruisers' antennas, and ribbon magnets for the cruisers.
DeWalt said he has been active in promoting breast cancer awareness for some time, participating in several “Race for the Cure” events to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. He said he was reminded of efforts each year when watching football, as the National Football League has been involved in supporting breast cancer awareness, and players have shown their support by wearing pink gloves, cleats and other apparel during games.
“Each year in October, I'd see the NFL players and I'd think, 'We should do something too.' But by the next year, I'd forget,” DeWalt said.
DeWalt said the idea has spread from the police and caught on at City Hall. The mayor and City Council have provided funding for most of the accessories, with the pink badges being paid for by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 11, he said.
“I think it's great that the police department is 'going pink' and bringing this to the attention of all our residents,” said Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, adding that the city will issue a proclamation recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “This is an opportunity to educate the public and hopefully help find a cure for this disease.”
DeWalt said he expects this to be the start of a yearly tradition in the Laurel Police Department.
“Hopefully, this will go on year after year until this rotten disease has been eradicated,” DeWalt said.