EDISON – Police officers are fighting more than crime this October, wearing pink T-shirts under their uniforms for national Breast Cancer Awareness Month, distributing literature and raising money for medical research, a township press release said Thursday.

According to the release, Edison PBA Local 75, its Superior Officers Association and the police administration have teamed up to raise public awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and vital support services available to women diagnosed with the disease.

“Every police officer in our department has family members, friends, neighbors, or simply knows someone touched by this pervasive form of cancer,” PBA President Michael Schwarz said in the release. “If our slightly off-beat, unorthodox approach helps just one woman with early detection, encourages her to see a doctor and receive early, life-saving treatment — it's mission accomplished.”

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The release described the front of officers' pink T-shirts with the Edison PBA logo and the reverse side has the slogan: “Edison Police Department / Fighting More Than Crime.” A pink ribbon replaces the “I” in the word “Crime.”

Only the collar of the pink T-shirts will be visible at the V-neck of their uniform shirts, the release said.

“This will be a subtle visual message, but one we hope encourages our residents to start a dialogue with officers about combating breast cancer,” said Police Chief Thomas Bryan, whose wife Dawn is a breast cancer survivor.

Edison will stock all police vehicles with pamphlets about the importance of early detection, breast cancer treatments, and locally available support services, according to the release.

“This literature will be at our officers' fingertips so they can better inform the public,” said Bryan.

“This disease touched my family in the most tragic way,” Deputy Police Chief Ronald Mieczkowski, whose wife, Sandra, 44, died from breast cancer in 2008, said. “It is an understatement to say how proud and grateful I am to the men and women in our department who created and are participating in this month-long initiative. My son Matthew and I will definitely be wearing pink T-shirts under our uniforms.”

Mieczkowski’s son is also an Edison patrolman, according to the release.

“Efforts like this – that educate and inform our residents – clearly demonstrate that Edison's police officers are engaged and involved with the people they serve,” Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “This is really what community policing is all about.”

According to the release, PBA Local 75 will sell the pink T-shirts its officers for $10.

The police union will also make the pink T-shirts available to the public on its website: www.edisonpba.com and will sell them on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the VFW Nam Knights' annual barbecue at Edison Senior Park & Pavilion, 2963 Woodbridge Ave.

All proceeds from the T-shirt sales will be donated to breast cancer research, the release said.