BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — November is Men's Health Awareness Month, and police officers in Bloomfield Township are spreading the message by growing bushy beards and thick mustaches.
“It’s nice not to shave every day to come to work, but it’s definitely a reminder of how old I’m getting with the gray hairs that are coming in and that I am aging. But it’s fun," Nick Soley, a community relations officer with the department, told 7 Action News.
It's fun way to spread a potentially life-saving message. Soley said officers are clean shaven the majority of the year. That's Bloomfield Township Police Department policy. However, Soley and fellow officers put the razors down for Men’s Health Awareness.
“It really allowed us to humanize the face of law enforcement. It let us get out there and have our residents take a look at us in ways they haven’t seen us before with all this facial hair," Soley explained.
He said people will say things like, 'Hey, I’ve never seen you with a beard before.' So, it's a conversation starter that Soley said helps to spread that message.
“People don't really think about their health unless they become ill in general, particularly men," Dr. Michael Lutz, president of the Michigan Institute of Urology, told 7 Action News.
He spearheaded the partnership with the Bloomfield Township Police Department about four years ago. Lutz proposed officers ditch their razors and shaving cream as a way to emphasize the importance of regular screenings and checkups.
“And so, that has to be part of your everyday lifestyle as far as eating right, exercising, getting good sleep," Lutz explained.
Among the health issues men must stay on top of is prostate health.
“We’ve learned that just as a result of COVID, 25% of prostate cancer malignancies haven’t been diagnosed and we have not caught up since 2020,” he said.
Lutz said getting a PSA blood test starting in your late 30s or early 40s is a wise move and the best way to find out if you’re at risk.
“If you’re a man of African descent, or if you have a family history of prostate cancer, you’re at higher risk and you really should get screened," he explained.
Officers stopped shaving their stubble in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and have other causes they'll recognize in December and January, including Shop with a Cop and Special Olympics.