By Brandi Makuski
“I’m seeing a lot of grey here,” said Plover Village Administrator Dan Mahoney. “I’m not sure how I feel about that.”
Mahoney was stroking his new chin growth while talking with Plover Police Chief Dan Ault on Friday about the department’s first-ever Bearded Warrior contest. Mahoney said he was growing out his whiskers to not only support the department, but also the cause.
Fresh on the heals of the many domestic violence and breast cancer awareness campaigns of October, November is known as “No-Shave November” or “Movember”: a campaign to bring awareness to health issues like prostate and testicular cancers, as well as mental health issues, such as depression, affecting men.
The contest is just a humorous release for the men of the Plover PD, Ault said. But rather than focus on one specific cause, all funds raised during the month will be donated to the United Way.
“In order to increase awareness, I thought we could make it kind of interesting, so we decided to temporarily waive our grooming policy pertaining to beards during the month of November,” Ault said.
For contest and donations were voluntary, Ault said, with a minimum buy-in of $30. He said the department is asking the public to donate to the United Way and not the police dept. — but he won’t turn donations away, either.
“This is about awareness, not our department,” Ault said. “If you see a member of our department with a full beard, it’ll be highly different than what you’ve seen before.”
Those who participate, Ault said, still need to be well-groomed and professional. It’s been a hit so far, Ault said, with over half the department participating and, as of Nov. 4, a little over $1,100 raised.
The four women who work in the department aren’t being left out, Ault said. To bring formal closure to the contest, the women of PPD will judge the best — and worst — whiskers grown during the month.
Chris Knipple, office manager for the Plover Police Department, said on Friday even though November had just begun, the women of the department already have plenty of practice teasing male officers.
“This’ll be so much fun,” she said, adding the beards would be judged on length and fullness, but likely also on softness. “It’s already pretty clear which officers will be the best-groomed, but you never know.”
Ault said he expects the contest to raise awareness, but not to interfere with police work.
“The only restriction is, [facial hair] still has to remain professional; so groomed, with no neck hair,” Ault said. “I expect everybody back to shaving on Dec. 1.”
The Plover Police Dept. is located at 242 Post Road. To donate to the United Way, go to www.unitedwaypoco.org.