If you happened across an Upper Arlington police officer or firefighter in November, chances are they were a bit scruffier than usual.

If you happened across an Upper Arlington police officer or firefighter in November, chances are they were a bit scruffier than usual.

Men in the city's safety forces grew beards and mustaches throughout the month as they participated in "Movember," a movement to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer.

And it was personal.

Upper Arlington's police and fire departments took up the cause in honor of former UAPD Detective Jim Hamilton, who retired in January after 32 years of service. He died Sept. 10 at age 56 after a fight with pancreatic cancer.

"Over the summer, Jim started to not feel well," police Lt. Jeffrey Conrad said. "He went to the doctor and they told him he had pancreatic cancer and it was stage 4.

"It hit us pretty hard when we lost him. Jim was one of those guys everybody liked. He was funny, he was a very good detective and he put years into this."

Conrad and police Detective Brian Daron said once fellow officers heard they'd be growing beards and raising money in honor of Hamilton, everyone on the force took up the cause. That included female members of the division and administrative staff, who wore special fingernail polish throughout November.

The Movember Foundation encourages men to "Grow your Mo" -- i.e. mustaches -- in November to spark conversations and raise funds for men's health.

"We wanted to raise awareness and everyone wanted to do this for Jim," Daron said. "It's also good to have the city and law enforcement give back to the community."

Both divisions collected donations from within their ranks and city staff members to give $7,415 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to fight a disease that the American Cancer Society says kills about 41,780 people in the United States each year.

That includes $1,670 from the Upper Arlington Fire Division, which has participated in Movember since 2011, and $5,745 from the UA Police Division, which participated for the first time this year.

Department policies were relaxed to allow -- at least temporarily -- officers to have facial hair. As a result, 36 police officers and the department's five administrative staff members grew beards or mustaches to help raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Hamilton's son, Tyler, who was hired as a UA police officer following his father's retirement, was at the city's Municipal Services Center on Dec. 1, when his colleagues presented a check to representatives of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Jim Hamilton's widow, Kim, and the couple's other son, Matt, also attended.

"Jim loved his UA family," Kim Hamilton said. "He would be very honored and humbled by this type of display in his name."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate