Clean-shaven cops growing beards for holiday toy drive
ORANGEBURG, SC - It’s Duck Dynasty! Or, maybe Santa Clauses? Plural?
Actually it’s a little of both as the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety puts a hold on the razors and lets its hair down. Sort of.
“We are excited about this and we feel we need to inform the public about it,” ODPS Chief Wendell Davis said. “We don’t want the public to be confused when they see an officer on the street and he’s sort of a little scruffy looking.”
There hasn’t been a bearded ODPS officer for the past 20 years since a policy was put in place forbidding fur on the lower face. But officers participating in the contest that began Tuesday will be allowed to grow the “shining, gleaming, flaxen, waxen” hair described in the pop song of the same name.
The participants have paid a $20 registration fee, which will go toward buying needy children a toy this Christmas.
“It’s really not about us, it’s about raising public awareness to help the less fortunate,” Capt. Mike Adams said. “Can you imagine having a child wake up on Christmas morning and not having a present under the tree waiting on them?”
So far, more than 30 officers have signed up for the challenge to fertilize the fur over the next two months.
Each had to start from scratch, so to speak, and pass the “credit card” inspection to ensure they were clean shaven to begin the campaign.
The beard challenge ends Jan. 20 when each Willie, Si and Jase look-alike will be judged for fullness, style, and what Adams said was “general aesthetics. It’s all pretty subjective and it’s all for a good cause.”
Officials say there’s no doubt it’s a first for the department. There seems to be no double-edged sword here as officers are for a while allowed to skip shaving and feel good doing it.
More than $600 has been already raised.
The entire command staff is participating, including Davis, who was teased by an officer after saying goodbye to his mustache that was decades old.
“He said, ‘Chief, your mustache is probably older than I am,’” Davis said, laughing. “And you know what? He’s probably right.”
The public is invited to participate through financial donations or a new, unwrapped toy.
And like the Capitol One beard growing contest commercial, any member of the public wanting to join in can donate in support of an officer or grow a face full of fur themselves.
To join in, just stop by the Middleton Street headquarters pay your entry fee and pass the initial inspection.
“We would welcome that, too,” Davis said. “We would love for the public to participate.”
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