ELKTON — Some of the beards grown this month by Cecil County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Cecil County Detention Center correctional officers are pretty thick . . . nothing that would draw comparisons to Grizzly Adams, Paul Bunyon or the two guys on the Smith Brothers cough drops box, mind you, but still pretty dense.
Other beards grown by the deputies and correctional officers are somewhat sparse in patches, and some of them fall in between on the sparse-thick spectrum.
All of those beards, however, have one thing in common: They are producing many benefits.
Grown as part of CCSO’s 7th annual No Shave November, the beards are raising money for this year’s beneficiary, The Boys & Girls Club of Cecil County and Harford County.
Every deputy and correctional officer — more than 30 are participating — donated at least $40 to take part in No Shave November, also informally referred to as Growvember. That minimum contribution exempted them from the agency’s grooming police, which forbids beards and unkempt mustaches. That exemption is good only during November. Afterward, the bearded deputies and correctional officers must find their razors and lather up.
Residents can make donations to generate funds for the cause. If they are so inclined, citizens can also purchase No Shave November commemorative T-shirts, with those proceeds going to The Boys & Girls Club, too. Cecil County Public Schools reportedly is playing a major role in the sale of those T-shirts.
People can make donations and/or buy No Shave November T-shirts by visiting the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, where weekly updates and progress photos of the participating deputies and correctional officers have been posted since the start of Growvember. Week 3 photos have been up for a few days now. The charity event ends on Nov. 30, less than one week away, so the beard-growing deputies and correctional officers are in the homestretch.
The main mission of this zany charity effort: Raise money for The Boys & Girls Club of Cecil County and Harford County.
But the month-long charity undertaking yields much more good will that, according to Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams, who gave approval for first No Shave November in 2015, not long after taking office in the wake of his first general election victory, and for every one held since then.
“It is not a competition, as far as who grew the best beard or as far as prizes. But No Shave November generates a lot of healthy ribbing among the deputies and correctional officers. And that promotes camaraderie,” Adams outlined.
For residents who see the No Shave November updates on CCSO’s Facebook page or cross paths with the deputies and correctional officers in public, it also humanizes them, according to the sheriff.
“People in the community normally don’t see us in this light,” Adams said, referring to the bearded deputies and correctional officers and to the lighthearted comments that can be found online with the weekly No Shave November updates. “Usually when you call the police, there is a problem, something is wrong, and it is not a good thing.”
Adams added with a chuckle, “And if you see a correctional officer (at work), it really isn’t good because you’re in jail.”
Interacting with the public is an important ingredient in community policing, he reported.
Adams has grown beards during past No Shave November efforts. But he opted to remain clean-faced this time because of the timing of some of his duties and responsibilities as sheriff.
“I have too many state-level meetings this month,” Adams said.