Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Univesity police wears patch for cancer awareness

SUNY Plattsburgh University Police will be showing support for the fight against cancer while in uniform with the introduction of a new patch. The black patch with pink accents is to support the local effort of breast cancer awareness.

The department teamed up with the Pink Patch Project, nationwide cancer awareness campaign, to draw the attention of those who want to join the fight against breast cancer and support research organizations in finding a cure.

The patch differs in color than the original, with two pink ribbons on both side of the New York State seal.

Nationally the project has sold more than 900,000 patches, and $1 million dollars has been raised with more than 390 agencies involved, according to the Pink Project website.

The idea that initially was thought of in October 2018, UP is finally implementing the patch. Officers will be required to wear the patch on the left sleeve of their uniforms during the month of October. Civilian supporters can opt-in to wear a pink pin in support.

“It actually started last year when we did no-shave November,” Plattsburgh force’s Chief of Police Patrick Rascoe said. “We realized we were experiencing domestic violence and breast cancer awareness month and helping neither.”

The department realized they not only wanted to show awareness for prostate cancer, but also breast cancer. In an effort to show their support as a united group, UP began to discuss a way to subtly create awareness through their own work.

“It’s a good conversation starter,” Investigator Seth Silvers said. “It’s visible and very different than our normal patches.”

The first patch was drafted in June 2018 by Silvers. He had a connection to a patch- making company, and from there he suggested some ideas and made proofs. The Pink Patch then made its way to the Albany commissioner’s Office through the Police Benevolent Association, a law enforcement labor union representing the interests of  the New York State Agency Police Services Unit.

Shortly after, Plattsburgh UP received permission to distribute. Investigator Jess Facteau and Lt. Eric Zielinski were involved in its implementation and distribution onto other campuses.

Other SUNYs have began to participate as well, as attention and positive feedback drew from the administrators involved. The UP department is currently in the process of getting it to different universities across the state, more than 550 officers are expected to wear the new patches.

“This should begin to become an annual tradition,” Silvers said.

Students on campus have begun to express an interest in the patch, he said. They are now available for sale at the SUNY Plattsburgh Police Station, $10 per patch. All proceeds of the sales will be donated to research, and the fight against breast cancer.

“It will make students more aware,” breast cancer survivor and UP secretary Paula Wulfield said. “It can start at any age.”

45-year-old Wulfield stresses the importance of women her age getting a mammogram check every year because one saved her life.

“I didn’t have to do chemo; it was found super early,” Wulfield said. “If you have a family history, get checked out.”

About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org. Wulfield stresses the importance of being careful and always taking advantage of your health resources.

A collaborative effort from the officers, all the information for the Pink Patch Project is available on cityofhope.org and thepinkpatchproject.com.

“Breast cancer touches all of our lives,” Rascoe said. “We’re proud to be able to raise awareness for cancer in hopes that this could lead to the discovery of a cure.”

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