Deptford police department once again embraces ‘Movember’

Annual facial hair contest brings awareness to men’s health issues.

Thousands of individuals and organizations across the country take part each November in a facial hair growth contest that promotes awareness of, and raises funds for, men’s health.

Called either “No Shave November” or its official moniker, “Movember,” the month-long decision to put down the razor and let facial hair grow originally began as a way to address prostate cancer in males, but has since grown to include mental health as well as other forms of cancer that primarily affect men. Deptford’s finest have joined the 2020 effort, as they did for the last several years.

“Officer Sean Gambale was the one who started the whole thing in the department, about five years ago,” noted Detective Bob Jones during a conversation with the Sun on Nov. 4.

The department made it official through its Facebook page on Nov. 2, alerting the public to the fact that those who have been sworn to serve and protect will be sprouting different kinds of facial hair over the next four weeks.

A couple of days in, and we’ve got 100 percent buy in,” Jones added. “Our patrol officers are forced to shave every day, and it’s gonna be a nice break for them, to take on a different look. Each one is asked to make a donation as well, to kick in about $20. That’s about 50 male officers doing this.”

While officers have grown hair in the past and collected funds for their own donation to the movement, this year’s undertaking has a special meaning.

“This is the first time we’ve donated for someone outside the department,” Jones noted. “This year, we will be raising funds for a police officer in Camden County who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family at this time.”

The public servant in question is currently married with three children. Jones expects that will give his brothers in blue extra incentive to put their best mustaches forward. With so many in the department partaking, the detective also stated it’s tough to single out which officer comes up with the maximum pilosity.

“That’s gonna be a tough one to answer. We get a lot of growth each year,” Jones admitted. “The last couple years, the best ‘stash’ has got to be patrolman Dan Mottershead. He’s probably the one who goes all out and gets the most recognition.”

As far as beard growth is concerned, Jones said the 30-day window, plus usually strict rules against facial hair, means no officer can produce anything “too crazy.”

While certain departments, like Haddonfield last year, extended no-shave November into December to maximize donations, Jones said Deptford would stay within the November window to grow and collect as much as it can.

To make a donation, the police union has set up a Venmo account: @FOPGarden-StateLodgeThree. To donate via check, mail it to FOP Garden State Lodge 3, 871 Engard Ave., Pennsauken, 08110. Please list Rulli66 in the Venmo notes or on the check.

For more information on the national movement, visit: https://us.movember.com/.
For more information about Deptford police, visit the township’s website:
https://www.deptford-nj.org/content/15950/16123/default.aspx.