Razors off-duty in Wyoming for good cause

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — There is something growing at the Wyoming Police Department that extends beyond the doors and the badge. And at a closer look it’s breaking the departments rule book too; extending past the earlobes and the corners of the mouth.

“For our careers here we’ve never been able to go unshaven for that time. We do on our days off. We might when we’re away at training. But for the most part, for our entire careers we’ve had to come in clean shaven, shave everyday,” Sgt. Brian Look, a 23 year Wyoming officer,  said. “The chief being able to do this for us, I think the happier and the more camaraderie that it builds inside the better we are out there to serve the public.”

The story inside the department goes a little something like this; A few years back some of the “rookie” officers started to grow mustaches during the month of November, that’s well within the departments rules, it just can’t extend beyond the corners of the mouth. But a few of the veterans officers feel that Chief Kim Koster thought the lip hair was a little, undeserving of the Wyoming badge. In other words, it didn’t look good. So they think she opened the game to a full face of hair.

“I think she’s for it. I think she gets a kick out of it and she’s appreciates the effect it has on the moral,” a scruffy Sgt. Jeremy Walter said. “It can be kind of a stressful job, I’m sure as most people are aware of that and a little lightheartedness, a little fun is always good for the workplace and moral and I think she appreciates that.”

What the chief may appreciate even more is the generosity from her force. Those who participated in No-Shave November were asked to donate a minimum of $50 with the proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Michigan.

There are nearly 40 officers who’ve opted not to shave and for those who either couldn’t do the facial hair or didn’t want to, they could dress in their fatigue uniforms, a little less formal. And the civilians who work at the department could also donate and wear jeans to work for the entire month.

It’s been a successful campaign; they handed a check for well over $2,000 to the local organization last week; that’s half a wish for a deserving kid.

“Even within here, you just have the fun razzing each other and seeing what’s going on,” Walter said. “But even the public will come up to you and go, ‘oh we’ve never seen cops with beards.’ So, it’s just inviting them to come up and talk to us about something that’s not a problem. 

“That part’s been great. And then the fact that we were able to give back to a community event like Make-a-Wish, which we’re all big supports of outside of this as well.”

That ‘razzing’ is inescapable. Whether it’s the white hair none of them knew they had or the patchiness none of them thought would be there, the beards don’t lie.

“You don’t know how it’s going to turn out. We got one guy where we didn’t figure there’d ever be a problem and I mean it’s spotchy as can be. You really oughtta not do that, just give your $50 and not do it,” Look joked.

And while November has allowed a group of officers to do something their career has never permitted come December, the razors will be back on duty.

“Me,” Walter answered when asked who would be the first to shave. “Mine will be the 29th.”

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