Now through Dec. 12, some of the personnel at the Leander Police Department will be sporting facial hair in the name of charity. As part of the department’s “service first” philosophy, Leander Police Chief Greg Minton has relaxed the grooming standards a bit, and will be allowing staff to grow beards as part of the Badge Beard Battle to raise money for a charitable cause.
Officers and civilian staff are eligible to participate in the Badge Beard Battle by making a monetary contribution toward a chosen charity. This year, the staff has chosen the annual Blue Santa Program to benefit from their hairy sacrifice.
“Since officers will appear in public with scruffier faces than folks are used to, we thought it might be a good idea to explain,” Leander Police Department’s Asst. Chief Jeff Hayes said.
The goal of the Blue Santa program is to provide gifts to those who do not have much hope for a merry Christmas. Families receive pantry staples and children receive two or three new toys from Santa. The elderly are also gifted with appropriate items.
Officers who can’t grow beards or have opted out have made donations to the effort or sponsored a fellow employee’s unshaven mug. More than $700 has already been raised.
According to Hayes, Minton has challenged several other regional police chiefs to choose their own charitable cause and join in the battle. The tradition of “no shave November,” or “Movember – Moustache November,” originally began as a noticeable and fun way to raise awareness of various men’s health issues, but in recent years has expanded to bring awareness and raise money for a number of charitable causes.
Anyone interested in sponsoring an officer or donating to the Leander Blue Santa program in honor of the Badge Beard Battle can contact Lieutenant Derral Partin at 512-528-2810. Leander Blue Santa is an annual program, partnering with Hill Country Christmas Bureau to bring toys and other needed items to families that might otherwise go without during the Christmas holiday. Track officers’ facial hair progress through periodic posts on the department’s Facebook page.