WESTFIELD- Westfield Police Officers have now gone back to their typical lack of beards over the weekend after having raised $4,300 via a No-Shave November pledge to Shriners Hospital in Springfield.
After receiving permission from Chief Lawrence Valliere, many Westfield officers donned beards from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30, as many people do during No -Shave November. Valliere said there is a departmental policy for the officers to be clean shaven. However, after he was approached by some officers who wanted to do something different for a good cause, he let the policy slide for a month, with some conditions.
Some officers had approached Valliere asking if they could don beards for the month if they each pledged $100 for Shriners Hospital in Springfield. They had been inspired to do the pledge after they had seen a similar fundraiser by the Home Base Program, an organization that provides support for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Traumatic Brain Injuries.
“Thanks to everyone that participated and donated to No-Shave November. We raised $4,300. I thought everyone kept their beards looking sharp and I felt that everyone maintained a professional appearance throughout,” said Officer Jared Row. “Thanks to the officers that stayed late Saturday morning and came in on their day off to commemorate the event with a photograph.”
The beards provided a small personal incentive for officers to donate to the Shriners Hospital, and they evoked conversation from citizens who realize that the police officers having beards is atypical. This gave officers the opportunity to spread the word about Shriners Hospital and their fundraiser.
Shriners Hospital for Children is a non-profit organization that has 22 hospitals across the country, including the location in Springfield. They specialize in treating orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lips and palates in children.
Valliere gave some small stipulations to the 26 officers who participated in the fundraiser. To ensure that no officer’s beard became unkempt or unprofessional looking, he required that the neck had to remain shaved, the main part of the beard had to remain clean and neatly groomed, and they had to be trimmed and shaved along the jawline.
The conditions were first proposed by officers Jared Rowe and Zachary Coderre in a letter given to Valliere when they first brought up the idea.
Each officer who participated would also carry a business card that contained information for the Westfield Police Department and information about Shriners. It also directed people on where to go and what to do if they wished to donate as well.