OXFORD — Members of the City of Oxford Police Division grew their beards out for “No Shave November,” in support of Oxford United Way. The division prohibits officers having facial hair, so to raise money the department allowed officers to participate — for a fee.
During a city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 21, Oxford Police Chief John Jones informed council of the reason several police officers were sporting facial hair. Jones started by explaining their code prohibits facial hair, so this is a change from the usual.
“We’re participating in No Shave November, along with a few agencies in Butler County. I think it is good work by our officers, because the way our system is working is that they have to pay $15 a week if they want to participate.
“There are also shave challenges, where another officer puts down $50 and they have to either shave it or contribute that money back. At the end, we’re going to have a contest to see who has the best beard.
“It does a few things — It humanizes the badge a little bit and lets the community know that this is something we don’t get to do, so we’re going to participate. It also raises funds.”
The officers had to pay $15 each week to participate (for a total of $60). During the month, anyone may place a “shave demand” on the beard of a participant. The “shave demand” must be accompanied by a monetary donation, not to exceed $50. The participant may match the amount of their “shave demand” within 24 hours to override the demand.
Photos of each beard or mustache were posted to the division’s Facebook page for public voting, which ended on Dec. 5. The top three vote winners from the contest received an award based on their finishing place.
All proceeds from the competition went to Oxford United Way.
Chief Jones explained, “Officers have been asking to participate for some time now and the command staff and I felt that it would be something fun to do while raising money for charity. We chose the Oxford United Way because it supports many of our local social service agencies.”
In the No-Shave November Best Beard competition, Anthony Gilbert received 91 votes, putting him in first place; Scott Campbell was in second place with 50 votes, and Jon Varley came in third place with 37 votes. With 20 participants, the Oxford Police raised $1,221.
The department plans on participating again next year, and are already working on ways to improve.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on twitter @KKimbler_RH