Logo by Matt Fidler for No-Shave November, 2010
If you see North Syracuse police officers sprouting mustaches and beards next month, it’s not because their faces are cold. Police Chief Steve Rotunno is relaxing the grooming requirements for officers to grow facial hair for No-Shave November.
“It was a program that we had in Camillus that I brought over,” said Rotunno, who worked for the Camillus Police Department from 1988 until 2017.
“It’s a morale booster for our police officers and it’s a great cause,” Rotunno added.
No-Shave November started in 2009 as an awareness and fundraising campaign for cancer research, prevention and education.
“The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. Donate the money you typically spend on shaving and grooming to educate about cancer prevention, save lives and aid those fighting the battle,” reads the No-Shave November website, no-shave.org.
Donations collected through No-Shave November’s official website go to Fight Colorectal Cancer, St. Jude’s Research Hospital and Prevent Cancer Foundation.
Rotunno said the North Syracuse Police Benevolent Association, which is coordinating the fundraiser, will decide on which local organizations to donate to.
“In the past it’s gone to Carol Baldwin — something local,” Rotunno said.
At least 10 North Syracuse police officers will participate in No-Shave November. Each officer has made a $100 donation, and residents can donate as well.
Rotunno said his officers often interact with the community, so people surely will notice their beards and inquire about them.
“They’re used to seeing police officers clean-shaven,” he said. “No-Shave November has been around for years, so people know [to ask about the cause].”
While the grooming requirements have been loosened for November, Rotunno said officers will still be held to a standard.
“They have to keep it neat and trimmed. They’re not going to look like Grizzly Adams,” he said.
Rotunno, who currently sports a mustache, said he too will grow a beard in November.
“I’m a lead-by-example type of guy,” he said. “If my troops are going to be out there wearing a beard, I’m going to support my guys.”
To donate to the North Syracuse Police Department’s No-Shave November campaign, contact Officer Jeremy Cheney at (315) 458-5670.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.