Police car will stay pink until the end of October

Residents may have noticed a pink police car patrolling Milford’s streets.

The Milford Police Department has partnered with the American Cancer Society, Greater New Haven Chapter, in turning the car pink for this month.

The car has been patrolling the streets and attending functions throughout October.

The vehicle graphics and installation were donated to the police department by Fleet Auto Supply of West Haven. Because the new color is a shrink wrap, the pink will simply peel off at the end of the month and Car 23 will go back to being a black-and-white, said Police Captain Vaughan Dumas. Fleet Auto Supply also will remove the shrink wrap.

Dumas said it was Police Chief Keith Mello’s idea to turn the patrol car, a Ford Taurus, pink this month to raise awareness about breast cancer. October is breast cancer awareness month.

According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures 2015, an estimated 231,840 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,290 will die from the disease this year.

It is also estimated that 3,190 Connecticut residents will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and that 460 will lose their battle with the disease.

Dumas said the pink car has personal meaning to the department because one of the department’s officers is battling breast cancer now.

Sephanie Balesano of the American Cancer Society said the cancer society has seen a few other departments taking similar steps to promote awareness. In Westport, for example, there is a  2016 Maserati, with decal work also donated by Fleet Auto Supply of West Haven. The vehicle will not be used for patrol purposes, but will be visible in town for the month of October to show support for the national campaign to raise breast cancer awareness.

Milford’s pink Car 23 was driven to New Haven this past weekend for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Lighthouse Point.

It also paid a visit to The Links organization in Milford, which was holding a “pink party” last week.

Lillian Holmes, vice president, and Cheri Amado, president of The Links, visited the MIlford Police Department to see the car and had intended to ask if it could stop by the “pink party.” But before they could ask, Dumas volunteered to have the car driven there.

Holmes said the car is a visible reminder for women to schedule breast cancer screenings.

Dumas said the car is indeed drawing attention.

“The public relations component is great,” Dumas said, noting that people have walked up to the officers driving the car and asked to have their pictures taken with it.

None of the male police officers have had an issue with driving the pink car, Dumas added with a laugh.