PARMA HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - If you come across a Parma Heights Police officer, you may notice something different about their appearance. To build awareness and money for breast cancer, and all forms of the disease, many officers are wearing pink paths on their uniforms and are growing beards and goatees.
Detective Adam Sloan is one of the officers participating in the voluntary activities that's raising funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation, St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital and the department's Shop With a Cop program.
“It’s a way to bond with the community and give back to the community and to charities,” Sloan said. “The people that we deal with day in and day out are touched by this at some point. It may not just be breast cancer, any type of cancer.”
The $10 pink patches are being sold to officers and the community. Sloan said so far about 100 have been sold. Officers who want to grow facial hair can do so with a $20 monthly donation through December. The money raised from the "no-shave" event and patch sales will be split between the three charities.
Sloan said people are noticing the acts. He hopes it encourages people to go to the doctor for regular exams. Sloan said the campaign is also giving people a chance to talk and share their own experiences.
"The pink badges are wonderful. I'll buy some," said Virgie Rock, a Parma Heights resident. "I had breast cancer in 2001. And so far, everything is doing well. No problems."
Rock's husband, Lenny, is also a cancer survivor.
"I had cancer three months after I retired, and I've been a survivor ever since," Lenny said.
Lenny was a Cleveland Police officer for three decades. He retired in the 1980s and applauds officers connecting with the community in nontraditional ways.
“I think it’s great. I really do,” Lenny said. “I think the policemen show that they’re out here protecting everybody, especially with this cancer stuff that’s going around,”
Lenny said it's also nice for police officers to get a little freedom.
"Because usually the book of rules says police should be clean shaven," Lenny said. "But the guys who've always wanted to grow a beard, if they can grow a beard and dedicated it to the breast cancer or to any kind of cancer survivor I think it's great."
Those wanting to purchase the pink patches can contact or stop by the police department located at 6184 Pearl Road.
Sloan said its inspiring to see the community come together and support efforts to finding a cure of cancer.
“It’s cool to see,” Sloan said.