South Orange Police officers are putting down their razors — for a month — to bring awareness and money to the fight against cancer.
Officers from the South Orange PBA Local 12 unit are participating in N0-Shave November, a longstanding fundraiser spearheaded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), where participants agree to stop shaving for a month to raise money for the organization.
“Our PBA and Capt. [Kyle] Kroll had the idea to get the whole department to do it,” said Sgt. Adrian Acevedo in a phone interview. They brought the idea to Chief James Chelel, who gave the go-ahead to suspend the department’s strict guidelines on facial hair for the month.
“Pretty much the entire force has joined,” said Acevedo. “It’s another way to help out.”
He joked that “some guys have a full beard already; I look like I have nothing.”
One officer was in the military before joining the force, “so he’s been shaving practically forever,” said Acevedo. “this is the first time he’s grown a beard in around 25 years.”
The team has already raised more than $3,500. Visit their fundraising page for more information.
Want to join in? You don’t have to be a police officer — for example, Dan Cohen of the South Orange Rescue Squad is also participating, as are some EMTs.
The event will culminate in a special “Beards and Beer” party at Bunnys on Saturday, Nov. 29. People can make last minute donations at the event itself.
Acevedo said South Orange officers help in numerous ways throughout the year, including participating in the Police Unity Tour, an annual bike race that raises awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty, and by donating turkeys during Thanksgiving and toys to children during the holidays.
But this fundraiser is especially meaningful because cancer touches so many people’s lives, said Acevedo.
“Everyone here has had someone in their life impacted by cancer,” he said. “For some of us, it’s near and dear [to our hearts]. This is a really good endeavor.