While in D.C., the officers explored famous monuments and even took a tour of the White House. They received a police escort from the airport to their hotel, and they had the opportunity to visit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Tina Bennett, vice president of Mustache March 4 PD (MM4PD), explained that it’s important to provide this experience to local officers.

“It really is an honor to be able to give this opportunity to them,” Bennett said. “Once you hear their stories, you’ll understand why.”

MM4PD raises money to support the police departments of Alton, Bethalto, Brighton, Bunker Hill, East Alton, Grafton, Hamel, Hartford, Jerseyville, Pontoon Beach, Roxana, South Roxana and Wood River and the Jersey County and Madison County Sheriff Departments. In addition to the National Police Week trip, they sponsor Shop with a Cop, Boys and Girls Club programs, gas giveaways and other events meant to increase communication between the community and officers.

The organization was founded after the death of St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder. Bennett spoke about the importance of honoring and supporting police officers at all times.

“We’re not waiting until someone dies,” she explained. “We are celebrating our officers now and by having this organization support them now.”

When MM4PD put out the call to local police departments asking them to nominate officers to attend National Police Week in D.C., they encouraged departments to pick officers who were like Snyder — “humble, generous, caring, just someone who can relate to the community,” Bennett said.

Whether that was a veteran officer, a “newbie” or someone else who needed an extra morale boost, the organization was eager to take all of the officers to the nation’s capital for a week. These officers also received the Be Like Blake Award.

Linsey Timmins, the widow of fallen Pontoon Beach Police Officer Tyler Timmins, also attended the National Police Week in D.C. She treated the MM4PD group to a tour of the monuments at night through funds raised by the Tyler Timmins Memorial Foundation.

Bennett hopes to see more support for police officers, with plans for MM4PD to do more throughout the year. For more information about Mustache March 4 PD, visit their official website at MustacheMarch4PD.com.

“It’s about keeping the communication between the community and the police officers continuous,” Bennett added. “I think it’s just a good opportunity for others to learn that there is a week that honors those that have gone before us in the line of duty and then also honoring the police officers that are still here. It’s a great week, that’s for sure.”