Things are going to get real hairy for Portage County law enforcement this month.
In this case, that’s not a bad thing, as officers on numerous departments have been given the OK by their chiefs to put down the razors and grow their facial hair to raise money for charity.
For a number of departments, it’s part of No-Shave November. The effort began in November 2009 as a Facebook fundraiser seeking to raise awareness primarily for cancers that affect men, such as prostate cancer or testicular cancer. Men who participate are encouraged to grow their facial hair all month, and donate the money they would normally spend on grooming to cancer charities.
Portage County Sheriff’s Lt. Rich Noland said deputies are foregoing the blades and clippers to raise money for Stewart’s Caring Place Cancer Wellness Center on West Market Street in Akron. The agency provides free cancer support services for individuals and families.
“Most” of the male deputies are taking part, and violating facial hair regulations with the blessing of Sheriff David Doak, he said.
In October, deputies were allowed to wear pink badges in honor of breast cancer awareness and fellow Deputy Amy Papatoukakis, who has battled cancer.
“We want to try and make it tradition,” Noland said. “We’re looking forward to it. It will be a little morale booster.”
Several departments also have decided to put their collections toward holiday meals or food cupboards, officers said.
More information on donating, starting your own fundraiser or the charity itself can be found at no-shave.org or by following No Shave November on Facebook.
Aurora Police Department
As of Tuesday, Oct. 31, the department’s “No-Shave November” donation page already had $280 in donations toward its goal of $1,000, many of those from department employees.Donations to the cause may be made at no-shave.org/member/AuroraPD.
Brimfield Police Department
Brimfield Police Department officers are going into their third year of the campaign. They have done it the last two years since Chief Roy Mosley took the reins of the department.
The department will pick a cancer charity, and individual officers will “pay in” their donations to participate, Mosley said. Donations will be gathered and a single donation made on behalf of the department, he added.
Garrettsville Police Department
Police Chief Anthony Milicia said a per-officer donation of $25 benefiting the Hiram-Garrettsville Shop With a Cop Program will allow his officers to grow mustaches and beards next month — and perhaps beyond, he said.
One officer even “got a jump on it in October for an extra $25 and if my arm gets twisted, I may extend it through December to raise more money for the program,” Milicia said.
And yes, the chief is taking part as well, he said.
Hiram Police Department
The Hiram Police Department also will be participating in “No Shave November,” with each officer wanting to participate asked to donate a minimum of $10 to the 4 C’s Food Cupboard in Mantua.
To sweeten the pot, mustachioed Hiram Police Chief Brian Gregory has promised to personally match his officers’ donations up to $100.
“Hiram is a small department with comparison to others in Portage County; however, we will do our part in participating,” he said.
Kent Police Department
Kent Police Lt. Mike Lewis said for “Movember” — or “Mustache November,” a fund-raiser for the Movember Foundation — all officers wishing to grow facial hair this month will make a $20 donation.
The department’s female employees will be helping out as well, and “are coming up with a creative way they can support the cause,” he said.
The department last month put on its annual October Breast Cancer fundraiser, which collects donations in honor of late Officer Susan Graves.Graves, who served with the Kent and Kent State University police departments from 1996 through 2007, died of breast cancer in December 2007.
Ravenna Police Department
Ravenna police officers are welcome to put down the razors for a month if they donate $10 or more.
The Ravenna Police Association will then match all contributions, dollar for dollar, according to Capt. David Rarrick.
The collected funds will be given to the Center of Hope in Ravenna to help pay for holiday meals, he said. Female dispatchers also will be permitted one “dress-down” day per week if they participate in the charity fundraiser, Rarrick said.