If residents see a scruffy law enforcement officer or one wearing eye-catching fingernail polish the next few weeks in Seguin or Guadalupe County, there’s no need for concern.
It’s most likely not some police impersonator with a bunch of facial hair trying to con you. Members of the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office and Seguin Police Department are participating in a charity event through December allowing them to slightly change their normal appearances.
“If you see the deputies out not shaven, the sheriff is well aware,” Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Sgt. Donnie White said. “In fact, this year we have a new participant: the sheriff. He doesn’t like facial hair in uniform. To get him involved, that’s a huge accomplishment just to know he’s on board.”
That’s right; even Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke is getting in on the act known as No Shave November. It’s an annual, fundraising campaign in which Guadalupe County Sheriff’s personnel — usually not allowed to sport facial hair — donate a certain amount of money for the right to let their mustaches, beards and goatees flourish.
Funds each year are donated to the Guadalupe Regional Medical Foundation’s Cancer Assistance Fund, which offers financial assistance to cancer patients who are either uninsured or underinsured. The sheriff’s office expanded its program this year to include staff members unable to grow facial hair, said Cpl. Laura Kohls, who has been with the sheriff’s office about five years.
“We were talking about it and trying to come up with ideas of how we women could participate,” she said. “I asked if we could wear pink nail polish.”
Women had seen for years how men got in on the charitable effort and had fun while doing it, Kohls said. Women members of the staff wanted to help too, she said.
She wrote a letter asking if women could join in the fundraising and her lieutenant approved.
Women on duty can wear nail polish and makeup but nothing too flamboyant, mostly muted tones, Kohls said.
“We are allowed to wear nail polish but it has to be a very natural color, something like clear or light colors,” she said, adding that she hardly ever polishes her nails for a shift. “I do it, but after a while it starts to be the same thing.”
No-shave November is a month-long, national initiative in which participants stop shaving and grooming their facial hair. The unkempt look is meant to spark conversation intended to lead into talk and awareness about cancer, according to information provided on the No-Shave November website found at no-shave.org/ .
Seguin Police Department officers also started Oct. 1 growing out their beards, goatees and mustaches, Assistant Chief Rusty Suarez said. He knows the program is called “No-Shave November” but thinks starting a month early is beneficial to some, the assistant chief said.
“It’s to give the officers that are facially challenged a chance to go in there and catch up to everybody else in there who can grow a nice beard, mustache or goatee,” Suarez said. “If officers choose to participate, they can donate $25 to grow a goatee for the length of the fundraising. Or if they wish to donate $50, they get to grow out their beard.”
Participants have to ensure that their facial hair, even if long, remains neat and trimmed, he said.
“They have to be presentable in public view,” Suarez said. “It can’t be scraggly or nothing like that. We have to keep it looking good and professional.”
The department joined in the November fun about six years ago, he said. It began as a way to build camaraderie and have a little fun, then expanded more into the fundraising realm, Suarez said.
In prior years, the police department donated proceeds to the Guadalupe Regional Medical Foundation’s Cancer Assistance Fund, he said. Then last year a fellow officer’s wife was battling cancer and so the department donated to that family, Suarez said.
This year the department has chosen another local family to give a portion of the funds raised. The other half will go to the Cancer Assistance Fund, he said.
Members of the community are free to donate to either the sheriff’s or police department’s fundraiser.
To donate to the sheriff’s fund, visit the sheriff’s office at 2617 N. Guadalupe St. and contact Sgt. Donny White, Lt. Clint Garza, Capt. John Koch or Sheriff Arnold Zwicke.
To donate to the police fund, contact Assistant Chief Rusty Suarez at the police department, 350 N. Guadalupe Street, email email@example.com or 830-401-2338.
After all is said and done, each force will hold contests for best and worst No Shave November growths.
The police department issues awards for the Magnum PI, which is the best mustache award; and the Best of Show, which goes to the “best, gnarliest beard/goatee, whatever the officer can grow,” Suarez said.
They have and award called the Calico that goes to the best multicolored growth and the Father Time, which is for hair gray.
It’s all in great fun, Suarez said.
“We have a blast. We get to make fun of people,” he said. “Half the time they’re making fun of me. You see these officers growing facial hair and it’s amazing how much gray you can obtain in one year with all the stress.”