Oct. 31 marked the close of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the fundraising efforts of local police departments in Cumberland and Sagadahoc counties, which collectively raised over $8,000 for the cause.

Deputy Chief Michelle Small of Bath rocks pink hair after meeting her fundraising goal for breast cancer awareness. Photo contributed by Deputy Chief Michelle Small

Bath Deputy Police Chief Michelle Small said the department raised almost $5,000 through online donations and pink police patch sales this year. She said the community “really stepped up” and gave local law enforcement the chance to “connect on several different levels.”

She said all proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Organization — a world leader in breast cancer research. The foundation has invested over $1 billion dollars in research since 1982.

Small said the personal stories of residents who battled cancer or lost someone to the disease created a more meaningful experience for all involved.

“We had so many open conversations with people,” she said. “We heard their stories and how cancer impacted their lives, and those conversations led to others which ultimately allowed the public to see us on a more humanized level. The community has been fantastic, and the support has been overwhelming. A great deal of positivity has come from this campaign. Most importantly, positive relationships were forged between law enforcement and those within our local communities.”

Bath Police Officer Brett McIntire makes waves with his pink hair after meeting fundraising goals for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Photo contributed by Deputy Chief Michelle Small.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer surpassed lung cancer in 2020 as the most common cancer diagnosis worldwide.


Making up 32% of all cancers diagnosed in women, the ACS projects 287,850 new cases in the U.S. this year and expects 1,420 of those diagnoses to be in Maine.

In addition to their fundraising efforts, Bath police officers promised to dye their hair pink if their $3,000 goal was met. Having surpassed their goal, both Deputy Chief Small and Officer Brett McIntire are now sporting pink hairstyles.

The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department and the Brunswick Police Department both became ambassadors for the American Cancer Society campaign Real Men Wear Pink.

Nationally, the Real Men Wear Pink campaign has collectively raised over $8 million.

From 1989-2018, breast cancer deaths have dropped by 41% due to research and early detection, according to the ACS.

With online donations and selling pink sheriff badges, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department has raised over $2,000.

Brunswick police have raised over $1,000 through Coffee with a Cop, hosted at Wild Oats Bakery & Café in Brunswick, online donations and pink police patch sales at their town’s annual Tent or Treat celebration.

“Community support at the events has been strong, and it ties into why it is important for us to participate,” said Brunswick police Cmdr. Paul Hansen. “Many of the people who have donated share the fact they have a loved one who survived or passed away from breast cancer. The same goes for the men and women of this department. We all need to do our part to help raise money and awareness to help combat this terrible illness.”

Brunswick Police Cmdr. Paul Hansen, dressed as Charlie Brown, and Communications Officer Becca Carter collect donations for breast cancer research at the Halloween Tent or Treat celebration. Maria Skillings / The Times Record

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