Some local law enforcement officers may appear a bit scruffy lately, but it’s for a good cause.
Normally, policy mandates Statesboro police officers be clean-shaven, but this is the second year Statesboro cops are allowed to ditch the razors for a few weeks as they participate in the second annual “No-shave November” fund raiser, said Statesboro Police Major Rob Bryan.
Locally, it’s officially called “Beards for the Boro.” In 2014, the Statesboro Police Department raised $1,525 for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America “by temporarily suspending the facial-hair grooming requirement for all sworn personnel, allowing officers to grow beards for a donation of $25 per month,” he said.
This year the department elected to raise money for the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SRSAC), which “provides direct response to victims of sexual assault, community education concerning sexual assault and its prevention, advocacy for victims through direct services and liaison relationships including medical, legal, social services, and law enforcement, and follow-up support,” he said.
Officers involved seem to appreciate the chance to grow beards, whether it be due to cooler weather or simply not having to shave daily.
“I just like to grow beards,” said Officer Matthew Mallard, who sports a healthy growth after just a few days. “It’s a good thing, and we do all we can do to help” the cause.
He won’t shave completely until the fund raiser is over, but will keep the facial hair trimmed neatly, he said.
Cpl. Dustin Cross said he is more than happy to donate to the charity. He doesn’t normally wear a beard, so the new growth feels unusual, but he admitted he likes it.
“The cold weather, you know, and it’s good not getting chapped by the wind and just not having to shave,” he said.
Do citizens notice? Yes, he said. It is an unusual sight to see a police officer with a beard.
“We get a generally positive reaction” when questioned, he said. “Nobody says anything negative. People do ask, and most take it as a positive thing” the department is doing.
Bryan said the Statesboro Police Department works year-round with SRSAC and has “developed a close working relationship with the organization.”
For more information on SRSAC, visit: http://www.srsac.org
The fundraiser began November 1 and end December 31. The department hopes to surpass last year’s amount raised, he said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.