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Enfield Officers Grow Facial Hair for Good Cause

  • Enfield Patrol Sgt. Scott Thompson and other members of the Enfield Police Department are joining men across America by growing facial hair for the month of 'Movember.' <br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Enfield Patrol Sgt. Scott Thompson and other members of the Enfield Police Department are joining men across America by growing facial hair for the month of 'Movember.'
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Richard Crate and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Richard Crate and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Luke Frye and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Luke Frye and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Courtland Smith and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Courtland Smith and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Ken May and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Ken May and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Roy Holland and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Roy Holland and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Town Manager Steve Schneiderand members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research. <br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

    Town Manager Steve Schneiderand members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.
    (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Enfield Patrol Sgt. Scott Thompson and other members of the Enfield Police Department are joining men across America by growing facial hair for the month of 'Movember.' <br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Richard Crate and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Luke Frye and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Courtland Smith and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Ken May and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Roy Holland and other members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research.<br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
  • Town Manager Steve Schneiderand members of the Enfield Police Department are growing facial hair as part of a month-long effort to raise awareness and support cancer research. <br/>(Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)

Ken May has been clean-shaven since 1992, when he joined the Enfield Police Department, so when people see him around town with his gray goatee, friends often give him the squint eye or ask if he’s on vacation from the force.

Another officer even refers to him as Gandalf the Gray.

“No, no,” said May, a detective sergeant. “It’s the iron stash.”

May, as well as all other members of the Enfield Police Department, has grown a goatee for the month of November, also known as “Movember,” to raise awareness for cancer research. Town Manager Steve Schneider and Public Works Director Jim Taylor are also sporting mustaches this month.

Like military officials, it’s not customary for police officers to wear facial hair, and many departments have rules forbidding it. In Enfield, officers are allowed mustaches, but most remain clean shaven.

All eight members of the all-male Enfield department chose to grow goatees. However, Chief Richard Crate requires the men to keep their goatees neatly trimmed.

“It was somewhat uncomfortable being in this job for almost 25 years and putting a uniform on when you have facial hair,” Crate said. “It just doesn’t seem right.”

Detective Roy Holland was a misfit in the police station yesterday without a beard. He had to shave his on Saturday because he had to wear military dress, which required him to be clean shaven. He only had a slight scruff yesterday afternoon.

Holland has lived in Enfield for more than a decade, and no one had ever seen him with facial hair. Before he shaved, many people asked if he’d quit the force. He also had one of the thickest beards, according to one colleague.

“Give it two more days and it’ll be thicker than all of yours,” Holland told his colleagues.

May said he has two brothers-in-law who work for the Lebanon Fire Department and they have phenomenal mustaches, which has caused a great amount of banter back and forth between the two departments.

Many of the officers, including May, are married and their wives are said to be looking forward to the end of the month.

“Sometimes she turns her head away when I start to smooch her,” May said.

The officers’ facial hair frivolity does have a serious message behind it. For instance, Crate’s mother is currently undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. He also knows several friends and fellow police chiefs who have battled cancer.

In the past, the department has worn pink bracelets or ribbons in October, which is national breast cancer awareness month, but this is the first time the officers have grown facial hair.

While the department views the goatees as an awareness tool, not a fundraising effort, two of the officers have chosen to raise money through Movember.com. May and Courtland Smith have collected more than $600. The Movember website says the month is meant to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issue, especially prostate and testicular cancer.

Smith’s goatee has come in full with a reddish tint, but Smith said he hates facial hair and he’s ready for “Movember” to be over.

“Well, I like it,” said Paula Rowe, the administration specialist and the only woman in the office yesterday afternoon.

Rowe says the growth makes the officers look older and gives an air of authority on traffic stops.

Plus, she has a bit of an obsession with mustaches. She has a collection of more than 30 mustache cups at home, many of them antiques. Mustache teacups, Rowe explained, have a mustache outline inscribed on the top of the cup that prevents tea or whipped cream from hitting the drinker’s upper lip.

Before leaving for the day, Smith asked Rowe what day it was, and she reminded Smith that November was passing by quickly.

“It’s almost over,” Smith reminded himself.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.