Police departments to participate in No Shave November

Published 5:29 pm Thursday, November 1, 2018

No-Shave November has become a popular event in the lives of many. For most, it’s a time to put down the razor for a month and see how thick a beard can get. For others, it’s a time to raise awareness for cancer research.

For two police departments in eastern Alabama, it’s about raising money for a good cause and boosting morale within the respective departments.

Valley Police Chief Tommy Weldon said his department started the tradition about four years ago. It started as just the month of November, and each officer who participated had to donate $30 to the Christian Services Center.

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The tradition grew in popularity the next year, so the chief said if officers wanted to keep their beard through October and November, it would cost them $50. Weldon said the tradition has grown so popular within the department, he allows his patrol officers to have a beard (as long as it’s neat) from October through the end of January for a $100 donation to the center.

Detectives can have beards the entire year as long as they donate $25 a month to the center.

“They love it,” Weldon said.

Lanett Captain Richard Casner also called the tradition a morale booster because typically officers are required to be clean-shaven. Officers can grow a trimmed mustache, but that’s it.

He said all the participating officers pool together their money and pick a charity. This past year, it was the Christian Service Center, but this year a charity hasn’t been chosen.

“We usually have between 10 and 20 guys that will actually get in on it,” Casner said. “For November and December, it is $50 a guy.”

Officers in Lanett have to commit to the event by Nov. 1. Otherwise, they can’t participate, Casner said. This ensures the money gets to the charity before the holidays, and it can be used during the busy charity season.

He said officers get competitive about who can grow the longest beard or in some cases, the ugliest beard. Casner said it is also a conversation starter with individuals in public and gives the officers the chance to inform them about the cause and why they are involved.