Call It A No-Razor Fund-Raiser: Cops Growing Beards for Charity

Sgt. Tony Abdalla shows off his stubble as part of an SPPD fundraiser for cancer awareness called “No-Shave November.” Photo by Henk Friezer

Looks like the South Pasadena Police Department has found itself in a hairy situation — but for a good cause.

For the first time in the department’s history, it’s participating in “No-Shave November,’’ to benefit cancer awareness and to raise funds to support prevention, research and education.

Throughout the month, the usually clean-shaven officers are authorized to grow out their facial hair — and instead of spending money on grooming, they can make a donation to the cause in order to participate.

“Participation is on an individual basis and requires a $25 minimum donation to the South Pasadena Police Officers Association on the No Shave November website,” said Sgt. Tony Abdalla, one of the officers who has ditched his razor.

No-Shave November is a web-based, non-profit organization. It was founded in 2009 by the Hill family of Chicago, which lost one of its members to colon cancer in 2007.

What began as a Facebook campaign to raise awareness and money has evolved into a nationwide movement. To date, the organization has raised more than $2 million.

According to Chief of Police Joe Ortiz, about 60 percent of his department is participating in the initiative at this point. The Pasadena and Irwindale Police are among other departments in the region that are participating.

The South Pas Fire Department has also joined in — but with certain restrictions.

“Although the fire department is participating by growing mustaches, their respirators prevent them from having a beard,” Ortiz said.

When asked how their wives feel about them not shaving for the month, both Abdalla and Ortiz admitted that while their spouses aren’t huge fans of the facial hair, they wholeheartedly support the cause.

“Like many families, ours has been negatively touch by cancer,” Abdalla said. “Since the funds raised go toward finding a cure, my wife tolerates it.”

For more information, visit no-shave.org.