- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) - Public safety officers will be attracting a little extra attention this month for a good cause.

The Greenfield Police Department ordered pink uniform shirts this week to wear through the end of the month in support of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The shirts, which bear the Greenfield Police Department badge on the front and a message of support on the back, are being worn by dozens of officers who felt moved to join the cause.

Patrolman Jerami Summers brought the idea to his superiors after seeing other organizations make similar efforts.

“I just thought it was something that would be a good cause,” Summers told the Daily Reporter (https://bit.ly/1w8ws3D ).

The idea was met with enthusiasm, said Capt. Brian Guinn, who oversees the department’s patrol division.

“We jumped right on it,” Guinn said. “It was a good idea.”

Police officers aren’t the only public safety officers supporting the cause this month.

Members of the Greenfield Fire Department don pink shirts every October and have for years, Chief James Roberts said.

And local firefighters have gladly adopted the tradition.

“Come to the firehouse today (and) you’d see just about everybody wearing one,” Roberts said.

The movement is nationwide among fire departments seeking to show their community support, Roberts said.

While a considerable amount of attention and research has been focused on breast cancer in recent years, it remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women around the world.

More than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed this year alone in the United States, according to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a leader in breast cancer fundraising and advocacy.

Summers said he expects there might be some good-natured teasing about guys in pink uniforms, but he says if it’s good enough for professional athletes - who are also wearing pink this month - then it’s good enough local public safety officers.

Guinn and Police Chief John Jester have a mutual friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, making the initiative especially poignant for them.

Guinn’s grandmother also died from breast cancer in 1987 after a difficult battle with the disease.

“. So it’s always kind of had a special place for me,” he said. “She was only 64.”

The shirts were made available to any officers who volunteered to wear them. Summers said his colleagues were receptive.

“Even some guys who said they wouldn’t be caught dead wearing pink agreed to it,” he said.

The idea behind wearing the shirts is twofold: first, department officials hope to let survivors, as well as those currently fighting, know they are supported.

“If you have not been affected with cancer, you know somebody that has,” Jester said. “I really hope that it gets the statement out that the citizens and the public are in our thoughts. They’re not in this battle by themselves.”

Secondly, Jester said he hopes the officers’ uniforms serve as a reminder.

“If one lady sees us wearing pink shirts and says, ‘You know what? I probably ought to go get my mammogram,’ then it’s worth it,” Jester said.

Roberts agreed. The simple gesture of wearing the color in support of breast cancer awareness can make someone’s day, he said.

“How could somebody not like it?” he said. “We get good reaction from people who think it’s a great thing, and people that have had breast cancer … they definitely appreciate the support.”


Information from: (Greenfield) Daily Reporter, https://www.greenfieldreporter.com

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