No buzz for the fuzz

Posted 11/23/22

Every autumn for the past six years, members of the Warwick Police Department find themselves in a bit of a hairy situation.

In 2017, former police chief Stephen McCartney shelved the standing …

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No buzz for the fuzz


Every autumn for the past six years, members of the Warwick Police Department find themselves in a bit of a hairy situation.

In 2017, former police chief Stephen McCartney shelved the standing regulation prohibiting officers from growing facial hair for what is known as “No Shave November.” For the 30 days of November, willing participants from the department – most contributing $100 – shed their razors for beard creams and oils, sporting different iterations of beards, moustaches and goatees.

Sargent Matt Moretti estimates “70 percent, at least, maybe more” of the patrol officers on the department are taking part this year. Female officers who want to show their support are able to make a donation and receive a green wristband to wear in solidarity. Donating civilian members have a chance to get in on the action as well and are given the option to dress down on Tuesdays throughout the month. There seems to be a general consensus within the officers that having an opportunity to forgo their daily shaving session is a welcomed break.

“It is also a nice ice breaker with the general public too. Things are always so formal and cookie cutter with us. Now all of a sudden, we show up on a scene with a beard…Its kind of an equalizer,” Community Police Officer Ryan Shipley pointed out.

Each year a different charity is chosen, with past causes being Cops for Kids Cancer and Home Base, a veterans organization. Sargent Moretti said the annual decision depends on who is seemingly most in need. This year’s recipient was an easy choice yet a tough one to process as it hit very close to home for the Warwick Police Department. Captain Michael Forde served 30 years on the job in Warwick and retired in 2020. He was recently diagnosed with stage four Cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer, a rare but aggressive form of cancer.

In reference to the selection of Captain Forde, Sargent Moretti quickly replied, “He is one of us. This was a no-brainer.” The department held a very successful fundraiser a few weeks ago at the FOP, where Forde was extremely surprised and grateful. The remaining donations come from the members of the department themselves, with all proceeds going directly to Forde and his family. Forde himself was no stranger to “No Shave November”. He gained ultimate bragging rights when he took home the 2018 title of best beard at the yearend Christmas Party.

On Dec. 1, the department wide no facial hair regulation comes back into effect, with one exception, Patrol Officer Mike Isherwood.

While he is not exempt from the clean shave requirement, he gets one day in December to bring back the beard. Officer Isherwood will be getting into character and dressing up as jolly old St. Nick at the annual WPD Pictures with Santa event. He has a brand-new Santa suit which of course includes a big, white, bushy beard.

Being held at their substation in festive Pontiac Village, the police officers are joyous to have another chance to give back to the community of which they are such an integral part.

 “Anything that we do is to show we are regular people, that is the main reason for the Community Police Division. That is why we do these events, to get into the public, to show that we have families too. We are here to work with you, not against you. That’s the main goal, sit down and talk,” said Sargent Moretti.

Officer Shipley added the intent is to, “Bridge that gap, with the end goal hopefully being no gap.”

The Warwick Beacon is partnering with police to take photos with Santa at the event Dec. 10, at the Pontiac Police Substation from 10 a.m. to noon. It is free and all are welcome. The good folks from We Be Jammin’ will be donating hot chocolate and all kinds of delicious goodies. It is recommended to get there early as they are hoping to have a good turnout, and Office Isherwood teases Santa might eat all the cookies. Photos with Santa will appear in the Dec. 22 edition.

shave, beards, cops, police


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