Breaking policy

Beech Grove Police challenges the community to help raise funds for cancer awareness during No-Shave November

Beech Grove Police officers build up excitement for No-Shave November, the first time the department has permitted facial hair, albeit temporary. From left back, Tyler Frankel, Dave Parker, Michael Maurice, Joseph Garrison, Matt Smith; front, Brandon Shipley, Robert Mercuri, Nathan Rinks and Cody White. *Photo by Nicole Davis

It’s been 16 years since Beech Grove Deputy Police Chief Michael Maurice hasn’t had to pick up a razor and shave to keep in compliance with the Beech Grove Police Department’s grooming policy – even longer for some of the other officers. This November, nearly 2/3 of the department has opted to forgo the razor and donate to charitable causes for No-Shave November.

“It’s good for the public to see their police department involved in stuff since we are so visible out there,” Maurice said. “I think once it gets out there, what we’re doing, especially Beech Grove residents will love it.”

The No-Shave November movement encourages participants to donate the money they would have otherwise spent on shaving-related products and services to cancer research and education. This year’s charities receiving the proceeds are Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

BGPD’s grooming policy states that officers must have their hair off their collar and their ears, no beards, no goatees and be clean shaven, but they can have a mustache.

“The minute any of us hit on vacation, no one has a razor,” said Captain Robert Mercuri. “The minute someone gets sent to Safe Streets, everyone has a goatee or a beard. It’s one of those things that if you never have it as an option, you’re dying to have it the minute you can.”

Striking a more serious pose…

Starting Oct. 28, the department suspended the facial hair portion of its policy. Officers who participate in No-Shave November won’t be touching that razor until Nov. 30. Of the 34 officers, 18 to 20 have signed up to participate and donated to the cause.

“Some guys joke about how they would grow a wild beard, but I think we’ll pay it pretty even keel to show it’s really not that big of a deal,” said Officer David Parker. Parker, who has worked with BGPD for six years, said he came from a department where facial hair was permitted. “I think it makes us somewhat more approachable, it makes us more normal to the people we’re out there working with everyday. It takes away some of that wall, that we have this military look, and makes us more normal guys.”

The department is also looking to get the community involved. It has set a goal to raise $2,500. Those interested can donate at no-shave.org/team/BGPD. It has also teamed up with Chad’s Barbershop to figure out additional ways to raise money for the cause.

The officers have challenged other departments across central Indiana to jump on board. IMPD has since agreed. One officer from each department will be chosen at the end of the month to compete for their department’s “best beard.”

“It’s a good cause, going to the three charities that No-Shave November supports, cancer research,” Parker said. “The biggest thing is it’s a moral booster. It’s infused us all with some excitement and camaraderie. Were not going to really compete but it’ll be fun to check on each other’s progress. We don’t know what any of us look like without facial hair. … We hope it continues every November, and I think a lot of guys would love it to be a year-long thing.”