By Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
Mukilteo Police Department officers will forgo grooming standards throughout the month of November to show their support for prostate cancer awareness as part of the Movember campaign.
Movember is an annual event involving men abstaining from shaving their facial hair through the month of November tobring awareness to men’s health by embracing hair which many cancer patients lose during treatment, says Myron Travis, Crime Prevention Officer.
Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in American men, with one in nine men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Data shows that in 2020 alone, around 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer have been detected.
The Mukilteo Police Department uses Movember to raise awareness by using facial hair as a discussion piece, starting new conversations with community members about the importance of prostate cancer screenings. They aim to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis, and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths.
“When officers are asked why they are growing a beard that is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness and share the importance of men’s health,” said Travis. “The goal is to help increase prostate cancer screenings among men. It is a cause that requires a lot of effort and the Mukilteo Police Department is always proud to do its part in the fight against cancer.”
In 2018, Police Chief Cheol Kang encouraged department members to donate to prostate cancer research, authorizing his male officers to forego the departmental shaving requirements for the entire month. Department regulations normally prohibit facial hair except for sideburns, mustaches, and eyebrows.
Although officers who decide to participate in Movember will forgo these standards, their facial hair must be trimmed to maintain a professional appearance. This November marks the department’s third year as a participant in Movember.
“I’m pleased that our department continues to be supportive of men’s health and I encourage the men of the department to again participate in Movember and forego the grooming requirement of shaving for the month of November,” said Police Chief Cheol Kang. “This is an important effort and I’m proud that our staff will be helping raise awareness for men’s health and the fight against cancer.”
Travis says that before the Mukilteo Police Department began participating in Movember, the department’s traditional response was community messaging to heighten awareness for men’s health and stress the importance of prostate cancer screening for men.
“What was missing was an explicit way to express support for men’s health,” explained Travis.
The Mukilteo Police Department is proud of its relationship with the entire Mukilteo community, and the department’s participation in Movember allows officers to stay engaged with residents, says Travis.
“Our community outreach is at the core of the partnership we value with the community,” he explained. “Movember is our opportunity to showcase our commitment to not only provide professional police service but to be part of the community of which we serve.”
In 2019, 10 male officers participated in Movember. Travis anticipates the same support this year. Each year officers are also encouraged to donate, with funds collected and presented to the Prostate Cancer Research Institute. In 2019, they collected $300. They hope to surpass that amount this year.
“The officers have a lot of fun with it and look forward to it each year,” said Travis. It is a cause the Mukilteo Police Department is proud to be a part of.