Randy Samora has a tough job working for the Albuquerque Police Department keeping officers on top of their court schedules, which no one will say is an easy task.
But this October, those officers will have something else to remind them of him every time they look over their left shoulders.
Samora has worked in law enforcement for nearly 25 years. He currently works in the department’s court services unit.
“I’m very proud of my department. I’m very proud of what we do here in general and what we do in the community,” he said.
For the last two months, in between the hundreds of court schedules he maintains, Samora’s had his head wrapped around another project.
“Every single patch has a story,” Samora said.
He’s referring to the patch police officers wear on their uniforms to identify the department they work for. Samora can recite a lot of the stories that represent the more than 2,000 patches he’s collected over the years, especially the stories relating to the patches that piece together APD.
“I got a couple from Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, then I got my first APD patch,” Samora said. “There’s a ton of variation and there’s ton of history in our patch.”
Samora has 197 different APD patches. They range from patches designed for specifics units within the department to older patches that are now part of its history.
“And I’m not ever done, I don’t even have them all,” he said.
That’s because APD has nearly 250 patches. The department has the second largest patch production in the United States, next to NYPD.
But Samora will always remember his first patch.
“One day, about ten years ago I had somebody give me a patch,” he said.
It was the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. That one patch led to what started a more than 10 year obsession.
Two months ago, Samora took that obsession, added a painful memory from his past, and turned it into a project APD will never forget.
“My mother passed in 1998 from colon cancer,” he said. “Watching somebody deteriorate day in and day out, it’s hard to watch anybody you care about, especially your parents pass away.”
Samora’s mother’s battle was short lived. She died just five months after her diagnosis.
“I’ve always been fond of helping charities that benefit people with cancer,” he said, and that’s exactly what he’s done.
This year, Samora chose breast cancer awareness. He’s spent the last two months, with the help from TLC Uniforms, working to “re-design” APD’s patch.
“It’s a pink shoulder patch for the Albuquerque Police Department,” he said.
It’s a patch that represents more than just the men and women in blue, but to honor those in the fight.
Samora’s said his goal is to sell as many patches as he can and donate the profits to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
Even when his project is complete and all the patches are sold, Samora will remain part of APD’s story; one he’s admired for years.
“You know being part of this is actually hitting home now,” he said “It’s actually a cool idea. I love this department so much and I’m glad, it’s my legacy.”
APD’s Police Chief Mike Geier is allowing officers to wear the pink patch for the month of October, in honor of breast cancer awareness.
Anyone can purchase the patch for $10. Samora is starting to take orders. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call APD: 505-768-2300