TIPP CITY — If some of Tipp City’s police officers look a little scruffier than usual this month, it’s because the department is temporarily relaxing its rules against facial hair to raise funds for juvenile diabetes research.
“The officers know I am quite ‘old school’ when it comes to police officers having beards,” Chief Eric Burris said.
But when several officers asked the chief to consider it as a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), he agreed to allow them to go unshaven for the month.
“No Shave November” is a movement originally started to raise awareness for cancer, but since November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, officers are also using the challenge to raise funds for a cause that hits close to home.
“One of our officers has a child that was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a toddler. Knowing the struggles this officer’s family has gone through with juvenile type 1 diabetes, I felt it was a really good cause,” Burris said.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. There is no known cause or cure and those with the disease are dependent on insulin to survive.
While the fundraiser is not intended to be a competition, it could get competitive, he acknowledged. The officers are required to keep their new beards neatly trimmed, so there’s no contest to see who can grow the longest beard, Burris said, but there are “already clearly some who can grow a fuller beard than others.”
The department decided on a $50 donation from officers who opt to stay scruffy this month. To date, all of the male officers have contributed and several of the female officers and female records personnel have also donated, Burris said.
The department set a goal of $1,000 when they started the effort last week and have already raised $940.
“I am confident that we will reach our goal and be able to make a $1,000 donation to JDRF,” Burris said. “Anyone who would like to donate to this worthy cause is welcome to bring a donation in to the police department and I will add it to our JDRF donation.”
In the comments of a post announcing the fundraiser on the department’s Facebook page, several residents thanked the department for their efforts and shared personal stories of their families’ experiences with juvenile diabetes.
Learn more about juvenile diabetes and the JDRF at www.jdrf.org and visit the Tipp City Police Department Facebook page for more information.
Reach Cecilia at firstname.lastname@example.org.