Pink Patrol: VPD wears pink for breast cancer awareness month

Published 12:11 am Friday, October 5, 2012

LAUREN WOOD / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Officer Dwayne Thomas, from left, Capt. Charles Ferguson, Lt. Beverly Metcalfe, D.A.R.E. officer Christy Bowman, Lt. Walter Williams, business patrol officer Robert Douglas and other members of the Vidalia Police Department are modern-day superheroes. Members of the department will be wearing pink shirts under their uniforms for the month of October for breast cancer awareness.

VIDALIA — Real police officers wear pink, at least for the month of October at the Vidalia Police Department.

In an effort to raise awareness for breast cancer, Lt. Beverly Metcalfe and other officers decided to design and have printed pink shirts for the entire department to wear during the month of October, which is national breast cancer awareness month.

“There are a lot of people in the department whose parents or grandparents have died of breast cancer, so we just thought it would be nice to do something to help raise awareness,” Metcalfe said. “I think it helps show the public that their police department cares.”

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The shirts, which officers will wear under their traditional black uniforms, feature a unique logo design that was made through a collaborative effort in the department, Metcalfe said.

“The back of the shirts say ‘Police’ in big letters, but the ‘l’ is a breast cancer ribbon,” Metcalfe said. “We’ve been getting some great reviews so far.”

Even though the shirts’ main purpose are to raise awareness for breast cancer, Assistant Police Chief Bruce Wiley said they also help raise awareness for other types of cancer.

“There’s no one that works in this department that doesn’t have a family member or friend that hasn’t been affected by some kind of cancer,” Wiley said. “That’s the reason the department always has a team in Relay for Life, but this was just something else we could do to help raise awareness.

“It also helps us with the camaraderie within the department and bringing everyone together as a family.”

But getting all the officers — especially the male officers — in the shirts wasn’t the easiest task, Metcalfe said.

“We just had to tell them that real men wear pink,” Metcalfe said laughing. “You can’t really argue with raising awareness for breast cancer either.”

The shirts are something Metcalfe said she hopes will continue in the coming years, along with other things.

“We’re not just going to stop with the T-shirts,” Metcalfe said. “Some of the officers are also wearing the ribbons on their lapels, but I hope we do more things next year.”

Wiley said the department had also considered printing magnetic decals of the ribbons to place on the side of the cruisers.

“There were a couple of other things we wanted to do, but we just didn’t have time this year,” Wiley said. “I think next year we can come up with some more stuff.”

And as the officers and other employees begin brainstorming for next year’s month-long awareness, Police Chief Arthur Lewis said he would welcome them as they came across his desk.

“My mother-in-law had cancer, and my niece is a survivor so this is something close to me,” Lewis said. “We got together as a department to show our support for those that have lost someone and to celebrate the survivors.

“This is something I would like to see the Vidalia Police Department do every year.”