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A new pink and purple Burnet Police Department vehicle highlights awareness for people battling breast cancer and victims of domestic violence. Staff photo by Nathan Bush
A new pink and purple patrol car supporting people fighting breast cancer and victims of domestic violence was unveiled by the Burnet Police Department on Monday, Sept. 25.
The department’s new ride sports pink and purple accents to spotlight both causes. The vehicle will be driven by an officer with a family member affected by breast cancer. Officers will also wear pink patches and badges throughout the month of October to show additional support.
At the unveiling at BPD headquarters, Police Chief Brian Lee explained the purpose of the new vehicle when it comes to domestic violence.
“The hope is that, as we drive this car as it serves for the next seven years, roughly, somebody will see it and be willing to step forward and stop that cycle of violence,” he said. “If we can get one, every effort we’ve put in designing this car and having it built was worth it.”
Lee is confident the vehicle will serve the community.
“Awareness cars are something that ran their course 10 years ago and kind of fell off, but I have pretty strong resolve on the use of them and how effective they can be,” he said.
District Attorney Sonny McAfee of the 33rd and 424th Judicial District spoke about the malignant prevalence of domestic violence and the importance of fostering channels of communication through awareness.
“There are victims all around us,” he said. “We work with them. We go to church with them. We interact with them everywhere. The same is true with abusers. The more awareness you can have in the community, the greater effect you can have on keeping peace of mind and making it the safest place to work, live, and recreate.”
Lee hopes the car will encourage victims of domestic violence to contact law enforcement.
“We can impact people speeding on (U.S) 281, but we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors,” he said. “Domestic (violence) is one of the most difficult crimes for us to impact. I think the awareness (vehicle) is going to take us a lot further with that.”
Highland Lakes Family Crisis Center Program Director Conny Steele was grateful for Lee’s determination to fight domestic violence.
“We’ve been fighting this battle against domestic violence and sexual assault for over 40 years now in Burnet County,” she said. “Chief Lee has been a wonderful support for our agency.”
Lee said the car’s other mission to spread breast cancer awareness was “personal” to him.
“It’s so predominant,” he said. “It’s so easy for us to put this out there and make an impact.”
Susan G. Komen Executive Director Monique Stensrud said the department’s support was meaningful.
“Breast cancer is a really, really devastating disease in terms of financial toxicity,” she said. “We could not do our work without the support of this police department and Chief Lee. We’re so grateful to y’all for raising this awareness.”
Lee thanked the Burnet City Council for supporting the department’s mission to spread awareness of both issues.
“I’ve been here, coming up on three years, and their support has been tremendous on any project we want to do,” he said. “Anything that connects us to the community, they’ve been in our back pocket pushing us forward 100 percent.”