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Law enforcement agencies switch up uniforms for breast cancer research

In Communities that KARE, the thin blue line is carrying a different hue this month - a hint of pink to raise money and awareness through the Pink Patch Project.

MINNEAPOLIS — The sight of a sheriff's uniform may silence a few people, but when you add a touch of pink, it gets you talking. 

"Going out to lunch today in Golden Valley, and people stared at me. And I was wondering, 'Why are all of these people staring at me?' But I remembered that I had pink patches and a pink badge on," said Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson. 

His office and workers are encouraging others to go pink.  

"This project. It gets the attention of people. It's not the norm; It's not what people are used to seeing," explained Major Dawanna Witt, who oversees courts and detention services. She also brought the Pink Patch Project to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

Credit: KARE 11
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson wearing a pink badge & patch

The wardrobe upgrade helps support the American Cancer Society. "To get stopped by people who say, 'Why are you wearing a pink badge or a pink patch?' and being able to explain this program, and why we're doing it; I mean, it's continuous education [for] everyone," said Major Witt. 

You can buy the patches, flags, and shirts too. All of the money goes to cancer research and outreach. 

"The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is with you, and I hope we can raise some money for a cure or at least some preventative treatment," said Sheriff Hutchinson.

For Major Witt, this cause is near and dear to her heart. "My mother was a breast cancer survivor. I have other family members that were affected by cancer. So, it means a lot to me."

And Major Witt's passion is spreading. Pointing to an art piece featuring the American flag with a thin pink line and the image of the Sheriff's patch, Witt explained, "One of the other things this project did here is [bring] the talents of one of our deputies here. One of our deputies made this and donated it to the project for the Sheriff's Office."

Credit: KARE 11
Major Dawanna Witt, Hennepin Co. Sheriff's Office

There is even a squad car wrapped in pink to catch people's attention.

According to Sheriff Hutchinson, the program is also stoking some friendly rivalries. "Agencies can be very competitive on the money they raise. So, of course, I'm competitive by nature. I'm hoping that people go out and buy Hennepin County ones, support a good cause, and so we're number one."

The Hennepin County patches run $10 each. You can get them here or learn more about different agencies making similar patch sales by visiting this link.