For the second year, Durango Police Department officers are wearing pink patches and pink badges to raise awareness and money in the fight against breast cancer.
“There are several officers and employees at the Durango PD who have family that have been directly impacted by breast cancer, and we are doing this project in honor of all those people,” said Durango police Cmdr. Nick Stasi, who started the program.
The pink patches are a replica of the patches already worn by DPD officers, but they have pink lettering and pink-colored outlines. The patches are being sold to the public for $10 each.
Stasi has been selling the patches for the past two Saturdays at the Durango Farmers Market. As of Monday, he had only about a dozen left.
“At the farmers market this last week, I had at least four different women all come up very appreciative for what we were doing, and all identified themselves as breast cancer survivors,” Stasi said. “A number of them bought patches as a way to support and recognize what we were doing.”
Some people have told Stasi they don’t collect police department patches and had no use for the patch, but they still made a donation to support the cause, he said.
DPD also made pink badges that police department employees were able to buy. The badges are not being sold publicly.
Stasi estimated about 30% of DPD officers are wearing the pink patches and badges.
Police department patches are a collectors' item, especially among those who are serving in or are retired from law enforcement. The patches say “police” on them, but they do not come across as being overly authoritative, so police do not worry about people using them to impersonate officers.
“The patches are just a collectible item,” Stasi said. “You can put them on backpacks or ski jackets or backpacks that you take hiking – I mean whatever people want to do with patches in this community.”
Last year, DPD’s Pink Patch Project raised more than $1,500. All proceeds were donated to the Cancer Support Community of Southwest Colorado, Stasi said. He said DPD is on track to raise even more this year.
The Pink Patch Project started in 2013 in Southern California, where officers wore pink patches on their uniforms during the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The program has grown to include hundreds of agencies across the country and internationally, Stasi said.
Patches are available for purchase in person at the main window at the Durango Police Station, 990 East Second Ave.
For those who live outside the area or are unable to pick one up in person, they can purchase patches for $11, which includes the cost of postage, by emailing Stasi at firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment is made through Venmo.
All proceeds will again be donated to the Cancer Support Community of Southwest Colorado, which is a Durango-based nonprofit.