This time of year usually brings out the orange and black of Halloween. But around campus, USC’s Department of Public Safety officers are sporting pink instead.
Every October, DPS replaces their usual cardinal and gold patches with pink ones, to mark the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Pink Patch Project sells personalized pink patches to over 400 separate precincts across the country and internationally to fund breast cancer research. DPS will be fundraising for USC’s Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“It is something we want to be a part of, and lend our support to,” Captain Edgar Palmer said.
The Irwindale PD started the program in 2015 when they raised over $20,000 for City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research centers in the country. The pink patches have caught on like wildfire in California, with now over 150 departments participating.
The patches are traded like baseball cards between officers in different departments. The patches have made it as far as Asia, after an officer from Taiwan visited the DPS office last year with a patch of his own to trade.
The project is so popular that DPS has a wall of pink patches in their office from all of the participating precincts around Southern California. Officer Roy White said that the department representatives from all around Los Angeles meet every year to not only swap patches, but to promote the program. The officers take promotional photo shoots in front of the Hollywood sign and the Rose Bowl, set up booths at fairs and discuss fundraising strategies.
The pink patches have become a celebrated tradition because the cause hits close to home for many officers.
Just two years ago, DPS lost a dispatcher to breast cancer. Another DPS officer lost his wife, who was an LAPD officer.
“I think it is something that has touched everyone,” Captain Palmer said. “It’s definitely something that is personal to me, and personal to the rest of the department.”
Breast cancer accounts for 15% of all new cancer diagnoses and 7% of all cancer deaths each year, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Patches are available to anyone who wants to support the cause, not just officers. To order a patch, contact Sergeant Misael Ramos at email@example.com