HARLINGEN — For the first time ever, the Harlingen Police Department decided to participate in No Shave November.
The campaign raises funds for cancer prevention organizations and for those who are currently fighting a cancer battle.
According to Sgt. Larry Moore, this year the police department decided to participate to help out the family of Abigail Arias, who fought cancer and passed away.
Police Chief Michael Kester organized the activity, where those who wanted to participate had to pay a fee to enter the contest.
Also, a blue jeans Friday fundraiser was started, where employees could pay a fee to wear jeans at the end of the work week.
With the participation of employees in both activities more than $3,000 was raised, according to Moore.
The winner of the No Shave November contest was police officer Oscar Freitag, 30, who said he was excited to be able to grow a beard since it is not allowed in the department.
“ It gives us an opportunity to raise money for charities and causes,” Freitag said.
“ My commander told me the chief was at my desk the day they told me I won. I didn’t know why he was there until he told me I had won the contest,” he said.
Those who participated and wanted to win had to submit a picture and an employee got to choose.
“ A lot of people participated just to help the good cause. When I started I didn’t think about winning. It was a good cause and I wanted to grow a beard,” he said.
“ I feel like it makes us more approachable to the public. Beards and even some tattoos are more accepting now. It makes it easier to be approached instead of seeing this rigid, perfectly shaved cop,” Freitag said.