NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Police Department will get its pink on come October, but not before raising some money to help in the fight against breast cancer.
The Naugatuck police union is running a “Get Your Pink On!” fundraiser to benefit Susan G. Komen, a nonprofit organization that supports breast cancer research and people battling the disease. For every $100 raised during the fundraiser, a Naugatuck police officer will be able to switch their uniform patch over to a special pink patch for October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“The response and feedback we have gotten has been great,” said Lt. Colin McAllister, who is president of the police union. “More importantly, this project highlights the innovative and original ideas our officers come up with to ensure the department is consistently engaged and community-oriented.”
Officer Rebecca St. George, who is secretary of the police union and spearheading the initiative, explained the fundraiser is broken down into a friendly competition between officers on the department’s three shifts.
“Nobody wants to be that one person who doesn’t have the patch,” St. George said.
If an officer has already brought in more than $100, everything over the $100 goes into that officer’s “shift bank,” St. George said. The goal, she said, is for at least every officer on patrol to have the pink patch for October, but the union is striving to have every officer in the department wearing the special patch.
The fundraiser started in July with a goal of raising $6,000, which would cover every officer at the department. Nearly $4,900 had been raised as of Friday afternoon. The fundraiser ends on Sept. 15, which gives officers time to get the pink patch sewn on their uniforms before October.
Donations can be made directly through the Susan B. Keoman’s website, ww5.komen.org. Click the “Fundraise” button at the top right of the screen, and then click on “Donate” on the next webpage. From there, search “Naugatuck Police Department” under “Find a Team Fundraiser.”
St. George said donations of any size will be accepted. Donations can be made to the police department in general or to a specific officer listed.
St. George said people can also get their own pink Naugatuck police patch for a $50 donation. There is a limited number of patches, so people interested should call McAllister or St. George at the police department, 203-729-5221, to ensure patches are still available.
Since this is the first year of the fundraiser, St. George said the union decided to run it through Susan B. Keoman to ensure everything goes smoothly. If everything goes well, she said, the plan next year is to raise money to help a local charity or someone local that has been affected by breast cancer.
St. George, who has been with the department for about three years and has been the school resource officer at Naugatuck High School for two years, said everyone knows someone who has been impacted by breast cancer.
St. George said three of her family members are breast cancer survivors, and she enjoys community service activities, so she jumped at the chance to lead this initiative.
“It’s kind of right up my alley,” she said. “Especially being at the high school, they do so much for breast cancer awareness month. So, I definitely wanted to do my part too.”
St. George added the fundraiser is another way for officers to give back.
“With everything that is going on today with social media and all the horrible representations that you see in a 10-second clip of a police officer, I think it’s important to remember that we got into this job to protect our community, to serve our community, and we’re just trying to do everything we can to give back,” she said.