THIBODAUX, La. (AP) — A wintertime law enforcement fundraiser called “No Shave November” has raised about $4,000 in two months, proving so popular that a Louisiana sheriff is making it year-round.
“After what we’ve been through in the past two years, I figured there’s plenty of great causes to allow this to continue all year. So, I am changing No Shave November into No Shave Forever,” Sheriff Craig Webre said in a news release.
Deputies and other employees of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office have been donating $25 a month to charity to be allowed to grow beards in November and December. Those who don’t grow beards can dress more casually on Fridays if their jobs allow it.
Employees raised $2,595 for the American Cancer Society and $1,260 for Special Olympics Louisiana, the sheriff’s office said. They could also choose other nonprofit groups, and smaller amounts were given to 22, including Wheelchairs for Warriors and the American Red Cross.
More than 125 of the office’s 350 employees have been participating, and about one-third of the participants were women, Capt. Brennan Matherne, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said Wednesday in an email.
“The idea of having a casual Friday every Friday with no uniforms is definitely something they are excited about,” he said.
Patrol deputies must wear uniforms, but Webre relaxed policies earlier this year to let them wear short-sleeved shirts — which don’t require neckties — throughout the year rather than only in the spring and summer, Matherne said.
Traditionally, many law enforcement agencies allowed male officers to grow mustaches but no beards.
“Beards have become more commonplace and accepted in our society, even in professional settings,” Webre said. “The public has had a positive reception to our deputies’ beards. I’ve even received positive comments myself, so I will be participating along with many deputies, and it’s all for great causes.”