Cops and causes: law enforcement send and find support in colorful ways


A rainbow of colors is popping up in central Ohio for specific missions.

The month of October is a busy one, but if you take a moment to pause, you will see other people are doing the same and for a specific reason.  The Ohio State Highway Patrol began tweeting in "pink" at the start of October, changing the color of its traditional black, gold, and white badge to pink.

The color pink has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness, and Dr. Deepa Halaharvi with OhioHealth Breast & Cancer Surgeons says helping to spread awareness will help save lives.  "Cancer screenings, such as mammograms, can mean early detection and a more successful treatment," says Dr. Halaharvi.

Other local non-profits say getting their message to the masses couldn't be done without help from the public.

CHOICES director Pat Georgiana said this when 10TV told her Westerville Police changed its badge color on Twitter to 'purple' to symbolize Domestic Violence Awareness Month with this quote on its handle - @westervillePD - says "help end the cycle of violence! #DVAM15"

“Domestic violence is such a pervasive issue in our community, with one in four women experiencing it in her lifetime," said Georgiana, Director of Engagement for CHOICES, a non-profit that aims to eliminate the cycle of domestic violence.  "It’s important that everyone work towards increasing awareness so that we can ultimately prevent it from happening. It’s especially impactful when prominent people, like police officers, show their support.  Domestic violence is one of top reasons people seek law enforcement assistance, so officers see each and every day how domestic violence hurts victims and their families.”

“It is our duty and responsibility to protect victims of Domestic Violence,”  says Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer. “We are very proud to be partnering in two specific programs assisting these victims.”

Morbitzer says Westerville PD – along with the Columbus Division of Police – have teamed up with Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Childrens Hospital to provide Domestic Violence victims with a "Second Responder" advocate program.

“The advocates guide victims through the very complex, emotional and psychologically exhausting process to recovery,” adds Morbitzer.

Then there's the "thin blue line” phrase that commonly refers to law enforcement.

"The thin blue line stands for the line a law enforcement officer must walk, especially during times of civil unrest," says Kelley Valentine, the wife of a Franklin County Sheriff's Corporal.  "The black stands for our fallen men and women in law enforcement. As spouses, we want to show our deputies that when they have to do the impossible or see the unimaginable, that we are right there with them walking the line.”

Valentine recently started a private, Facebook group called "FCSO Wives." She says it's open to spouses of both genders, so they understand they're not alone when home life sometimes gets too tough.

"I want them to learn to love it and not let it tear them apart," explains Valentine. "If we could help one person have a better day, it was worth it. So I started a private page exclusive to our deputies and their families."

Each member receives a t-shirt from Southern Charm Designs.  The shirt is simple, with a badge number with a blue line through the middle.  The word "Mrs." sits right above, although Valentine says fiancés are also welcome to the new group.

FCSO wives held its first group photo session last weekend with an image that speaks louder than words, showing the wives standing in a circle, holding hands. The words, "Lord, protect our heroes," grace the corner of the picture.

"The photo is meant to show our support for each other as spouses but also the stress that we feel each and every time our deputies leave the safety of their homes," explains Valentine.  "As spouses and friends, we connect with each other because we understand what it means to love a deputy."

To join FCSO Wives, contact Valentine via the sheriff's office. She will then screen each applicant for security reasons before they are accepted into the group.