San Rafael police officers going bald for a good cause

San Rafael Police officers are going bald and considering it a badge of honor. One of their colleagues has breast cancer, and they're doing all they can to raise morale and money for her.

Wednesday, that meant lining up at 'The Shop' barbershop on 4th Street to get their heads shaved in solidarity.

"She's a wonderful person with a big heart, she cares about people," Sgt. Todd Berringer told KTVU, as the razor buzzed his head.

"So this is a way that I can show that I care about her."

The outpouring of support is for 40 year old Leslie O'Toole, who has been in North Bay law enforcement since she was a teenager.

She started as a dispatcher, then became an officer in Fairfax, before joining the San Rafael force eleven years ago.

Most recently, she spent three years as a detective in the sexual assault unit.

"We have always been a family at work and outside work so I know everybody's spouse and their children," a smiling O'Toole told KTVU as she arrived at the barbershop for her own shave.

O'Toole spent most of the afternoon at her second round of chemotherapy.

The treatment has caused her hair to fall out, so rather than have uneven patches, she opted for a clean look.

"The rest of it is going to fall out anyway, it's all falling out," she told the barber, as she settled in the chair. 

O'Toole will continue with chemo, then undergo a mastectomy, followed by more treatment stretching to the end of the year.

She says she had no family history of breast cancer when she found a golf ball size tumor while doing a self-exam.

"I don't mind talking about breast cancer, I have been open about it," O'Toole said, " because I want it to be a comfortable topic, and for people to ask me anything they want about it."

Her strength and positive spirit inspired the flow of customers to the barber chairs.

In San Rafael, bald is a badge of honor, and officers hope the public notices.

"If people ask about it, it will be a nice way to tell them about Leslie, and what we're out here to do for her," Detective Ryan de Marta told KTVU, his newly-shorn head wrapped in a hot towel.

"Leslie is one of the strongest people I know, but she's facing a pretty tough battle," said Sgt. Carl Huber.

"We wanted to get together as a group and make sure she knows she doesn't face this alone."

O'Toole monitored the shaving session on social media, from her chemotherapy session.

A Facebook page has been set up to support her journey, called Warrior529, referring to her badge number.

"I think this his great and I love the support I've gotten," enthused O'Toole, when she arrived later.

"I also can't believe some of the people who got shaved because I know they were very, very proud of their hair."

Among those watching the hair hit the floor, San Rafael Police Chief Diana Bishop.

"Leslie is the most kindhearted, caring person you have ever seen and ever met," declared Chief Bishop.

"It's an awful awful thing to happen to anyone, and she is strong and she will win."

The support extends beyond the barbershop. Officers check in with O'Toole daily, and bring her meals. Wristbands are being sold to raise money.

About a dozen officers participated, and more may stop by for shaves in the days ahead.

Barbers at The Shop on Fourth Street are donating their services to support O'Toole and the department.

Those who participated said living without hair was an easy choice, since O'Toole didn't have a choice about her diagnosis.

O'Toole admits, she feels the love of her colleagues.

"We are a family, and I always believed it was there," she shared," and every person has stepped up and shown it to me, so I'm extremely proud  to be a member of the San Rafael Police Department.