BRYANT, Ark. (KTHV) - There is a hairy situation happening in Bryant right now. The Bryant Police Department is turning heads with their new look and it's all in the name of Christmas.
It’s a rare opportunity for the Bryant Police Department (BPD) to let the clean cut go.
“We got a lot of guys here who love having beards,” said Todd Crowson, BPD Sergeant.
More than half the staff of the BPD are sporting a shadow, some stubble, or little more right now.
“It's kind of like a little game, who can grow the best beard at times,” said Nathan Johnston, a corporal on patrol with BPD, “Some of them have nice beards, some of them have scraggly ones like me, that don't patch in real good you know?”
These beards are breaking dress code policy.
“We had to sell this one to the chief, but he was on board with it from the word go,” said Crowson.
Each grower coughs up $25 to keep their beard and then on top of that the officer finds a donor to match it. The officers get to do this for 3 months, which totals up to $150 raised per officer. All that money will be spent at Wal-Mart on December 13 in Bryant.
“Each year we do ‘Santa's with Badges’, some know it as ‘Shop with a Cop,’” said Crowson.
Each child will get $150 to shop with the officers. This is a spending budget bigger than they've ever had.
“We didn't have as much allowance and we were limited to the number of kids that we could take,” said Crowson.
In the past they've only been able to shop with about 30 kids from the Bryant School District. This year though, because of the beard fundraiser they're going to help at least 50 kids. Police are using this moment to bond with their neighbors.
“It reinforces the community policing aspect and helps the image of the police department, and let children know they can come to a police officer for help,” said Johnston.
This event is also used to educate the participating children.
“[They] buy a present for their parents to show them that giving and giving gifts is a good thing to do. Then we take them and buy them either a bicycle or some clothing because they always need clothes,” said Johnston.
These beards for bucks have already raised $7,000, but these beards are also for cheer amongst the police too.
“It's actually brought up morale,” said Johnston.
Santa's with Badges is Tuesday, December 13 at 6 p.m. at the Bryant Wal-Mart.