Twenty-four men with Westminster Police Department have put down the razors, or at least greatly altered the way they use one every day, to raise awareness for men’s health.
Westminster PD this year jumped on the popular Movember movement, which encourages men to grow facial hair as a show of solidarity in the fight against cancer and other health issues.
The Movember Foundation is a nonprofit advocacy group that works year-round for men’s health awareness.
Since its inception in 2003, the foundation has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world.
In Westminster, police officers typically are held to strict appearance standards and the only facial hair allowed is a mustache that doesn’t reach beyond the lip line.
Last month, many at the Westminster PD wore pink patches on their uniforms to show their support and raise awareness for breast cancer.
Officers Jeremy Fletcher and Kees Davis appealed to Interim Chief Roy Campos to temporarily waive the uniform standard for the month of November so they could support another good cause.
“This goes to raise money for men’s health issues including prostate and testicular cancer, mental health issues and suicide prevention,” Fletcher said. “Based on how much you contribute is what you’re allowed to grow.”
A $25 donation will clear the way for a non-regulation mustache, while a $50 pledge warrants a goatee. To go all out and sport a full beard, an officer has to contribute $100.
Fletcher and Kees set this year’s fundraising goal at $2,000 and they already have surpassed it. At the half-month mark, Westminster PD has brought in a little more than $2,400.
While the effort is fun, especially in the beginning when officers get to razz each other on how poorly (or well) their growth is coming in, the officers hope their temporary facial hair sparks conversations while they’re out serving the community.
“Men are less apt to talk about health issues so they become a sort of silent killer,” Davis said.
Added Fletcher: “Men sometimes think they’re invincible so this is a good way to raise awareness and talk about these issues.”
Several other Orange County agencies also participate in the movement including Huntington Beach, La Habra and Tustin, among others.