Like most law enforcement offices, the SUNY Buffalo State University Police Department (UPD) follows strict grooming standards. Mustaches are permitted, but cannot extend beyond the corners of the lips. Beards of any kind are prohibited.
However, until the end of the year, the rules have been softened. A number of officers are sporting goatees—for a good cause.
The “Goatees for Charity” fundraising initiative allows UPD officers to wear neatly groomed goatees in exchange for a $50 donation to the Lt. Colonel Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York.
Twenty-one UPD officers and two civilian dispatchers participated in the charity, which added up to a $1,110 donation to the human services center, said UPD Chief Peter Carey. The organization provides a variety of services from food pantries to workforce training to apartments for seniors. Previously called the Polish Community Center of Buffalo, the organization changed its name in 2000 to honor Urban, the most decorated war veteran in American history, who was born and raised in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.
“The initiative is good for morale, and it’s good timing right before the holidays,” Carey said.
Carey is growing a pretty impressive goatee himself. He and a few of his officers already have caught the attention of people on campus.
“We definitely have a different appearance right now,” said Carey who has previously only grown facial hair during vacation. “My six-year-old daughter likes it. She calls it my whiskers.”
Of the 33 officers on the UPD force, four are female. While they obviously won’t be growing goatees, they are contributing financially.
Additionally, Michael LeVine, vice president for finance and management, whose office oversees the UPD, is personally contributing $5 per participating officer.
“I wanted to support the efforts of our officers,” LeVine said. “They are guys who do a lot of good for the community. And this is a good cause.”
However, you won’t see LeVine with a goatee. “I’m way too young to be able to grow facial hair,” he quipped.
Several UPD officers took part in another act of altruism earlier this month, the 2013 Polar Plunge. On December 7, Lt. Michael Myers; officers Steven Cahoon, Raven Harvey, Edward Helling, Mark Stetzko, Richard Rogers; and Amanda Rogers took part in this annual fundraiser for the Special Olympics. The UPD team raised $680 for the cause.
Pictured from left to right: Lt. Richard Myers, Chief Peter Carey, Officer Steven Cahoon, Joyelle Tedeschi, director of the Matt Urban Hope Center, Officer Steven Buscaglia, Assistant Chief John Lombardo, and Lt. Willard Moreland.