Sheriff’s Office allows deputies to grow beards again
October 4, 2016
The fuzz is back.
For the third year in a row, local law enforcement officials in Summit County have been given free rein to grow out their facial hair over the next two months as part of the 2016 Wasatch Back Fuzzbuster Campaign. Officers with the Park City Police Department will also be participating this year. Law enforcement officials are not usually allowed to grow facial hair beyond mustaches and goatees.
The annual campaign allows deputies to grow facial hair after they purchase a $33 beard permit. Employees in the Sheriff's Office can purchase the permits through December. Proceeds from the permits will benefit the Utah 1033 Foundation. The not-for-profit organization provides financial assistance to the families of fallen officers in Utah and student scholarships. The families are provided a check within 24 hours of a loved one's death.
"This is something that we can have a little fun with, but more importantly it is a fundraising mechanism," Sheriff Justin Martinez said. "We would hope to never have to tap in that fund, but it is really nice that we can contribute to this organization that helps the families of fallen officers and also provides scholarships."
Martinez said the campaign fosters comaraderie and the deputies "really enjoy it," adding that he is "extremely happy to support such a worthwhile fundraiser."
Deputy Travis Hopper, who started the campaign, said it has gradually "gotten bigger and bigger over the past two years."
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"I hope that it just continues to grow," Hopper said. "We just love that we can give back to these officers that have already given so much."
Hopper said he came up with the campaign as a way to encourage comaraderie and support a local foundation. Last year, more than 50 deputies participated in the campaign and raised more than $3,200 with the help of a private donor. Hopper said the Sheriff's Office may have help from another matching donor again this year.
Deputies are encouraged to donate to the campaign even if they don't grow beards, Hopper joked, adding that women in the office have already started contributing.
"They felt like they were being left out, but I have seen more women donate this year than I ever have in the past," Hopper said.
At the end of the campaign, participating deputies will have their beards judged by a group comprised of female deputies and employees. Last year, Deputy Shayne Norton was recognized for the best beard.
The Sheriff's Office plans to award the Utah 1033 Foundation with a check from the campaign at the annual Christmas Party in December, Hopper said, adding that Tore and Mona Steen, founders of the nonprofit organization, "have been so appreciative and they are always basically speechless."
"It's just a great thing that we have started and I just hope that it continues and gets bigger. I'd like it to be virtually all over the state," Hopper said. "It just all goes back to the fact that this is something that anyone of us could be dealing with. You never know what could happen when you walk in to work."
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