If you see a Tooele City police officer with facial hair or a blue streak in their hair, it’s not the department loosening up its standards — but it is for a good cause.
Officers have the option of participating in No Shave November, but there is an associated buy-in cost. Tooele City Police Chief Ron Kirby required any officer who participates to donate $100 to the Shop With a Cop fund, which benefits families in need at Christmas.
“He didn’t want it to be so low that officers were doing it just to grow facial hair,” said Tooele City Police Sgt. Jeremy Hansen. “He wanted there to be purpose behind it.”
Other local agencies, including Grantsville City Police Department and Utah Highway Patrol, have done similar fundraisers in the past.
Hansen said there are about a dozen male officers growing facial hair and two female officers putting a blue streak in their hair as part of the fundraiser. All told, the No Shave November fundraiser is expected to bring in $1,400.
While Kirby was willing to relax standards for a good cause, all officers are expected to be clean shaven their first shift following Shop With a Cop on Dec. 15, Hansen said.
The popular Tip a Cop fundraiser, where local police work as servers, will return this year as well. Tooele City police will hold their Tip a Cop at Jim’s Restaurant, while Grantsville City police will be at Casa Del Rey, according to Tooele City Police Detective Nick Cutler.
“They’re very excited to host it again and have expressed that to us,” Cutler said, of the host restaurants.
The dates aren’t set for Tip a Cop yet, but it is traditionally the first week in December.
The Tooele Walmart is expected to donate artificial Christmas trees to recipients of the Shop With a Cop program.
Hansen and Cutler said Shop With a Cop is an opportunity for officers to have a positive interaction with children, who may have had challenging interactions in the past.
“They get to see a police officer in a different light and in a friendly environment,” Cutler said. “And I think that’s the beautiful thing about it.”
Hansen said the few hours of eating breakfast at the Travel Centers of America in Lake Point, and shopping at Walmart with children from the community, allows officers to take on a mentorship role and build a personal relationship.
“It reminds me of why I got into this career,” he said. “It’s not just for the action and everything else. It’s legitimately helping people in need.”