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The Scarlet & Black

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No Shave no problem for Grinnell Police Department


Goatee. Beard. Mustache. Mutton Chops. Sideburns. For the month of November, the Grinnell Police Department suspended their policy against facial hair so officers could participate in No Shave November. 

Officers could donate a minimum of $25 to gain the privilege of sporting facial hair for the month. Female officers who wanted to participate were permitted to wear blue jeans. Normally, the station policy allows mustaches and blue jeans only on Fridays.

The police department started the fundraiser last November and donated over $500 to the American Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of their captain, Theresa Petersen, who is a two-time breast cancer survivor, said Chief of Police Dennis Reilly.


“It was a no-brainer for us to do it in recognition of our captain,” said Reilly. “I thought that it was important for us to recognize what she had been through while at the same time doing some type of fundraising effort.”

Reilly suggested the fundraiser to the department after seeing other departments participate in No Shave November over the last few years. This year, their fundraiser will benefit St. Jude’s Research Hospital, Reilly said.

“We all thought it would be a good cause, to try and give something back to the people and the foundations that are striving for some breakthroughs in cancer research,” Reilly said. 


“I’ve been blessed with two healthy kids, and I can’t imagine having a young loved one [who has] pediatric cancer, and so I think we just decided St. Jude’s would be an appropriate place to send our contributions.”

Reilly said that though some police departments in the Midwest allow facial hair, it is widely prohibited on the East Coast, and he has continued that policy.


“I’m of the mindset that a clean look is more presentable,” Reilly said. “If we have to wear gas masks you can’t wear facial hair, so I’ve maintained the policy that you can’t have facial hair other than a mustache.”

For that reason, Reilly said many officers are still trimming their beards, rather than throwing away their razors completely.


“It’s important that we don’t look like a bunch of ragamuffins, so in reality everyone’s trimming,” Reilly said.

Although he started out with a beard, Reilly currently wears a goatee.

“Will Ferrell had a character on Saturday Night Live years ago who was bald with a beard, so not wanting to look like Will Ferrell, I got rid of the beard,” Reilly said.

Reilly said he anticipates the department will donate roughly the same amount of money this year as last year. Although the department has not received outside donations yet, any members of the public interested in donating can bring checks made out to St. Jude’s to the Police Department front office.

“During the holidays I think it’s a good opportunity to be thankful for what we have, and find ways, whether it be financial, whether it be emotional support or otherwise, to support people,” Reilly said.

Reilly also added that he hopes the fundraiser encourages thankfulness and perspective.

“I think it’s a good reminder for all of us, that while we hit those peaks, and unfortunately, those valleys, that there are a lot of people that are having to suck it up a lot harder than we do, and those people present strength, present courage, present upbeat outlooks.”

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