The increasingly diverse New York Police Department wants to get a little more uniform, reports Newsday. Cops have been told to say goodbye to goatees, chinstrap beards, and designer hair affectations. Officers are allowed mustaches, and undercovers can pretty much do whatever they want when it comes to facial hair. Officers may to grow beards if they suffer from a dermatological condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae, in which men who shave get a rash and scarring on their chins, cheeks and necks. The condition is common among black men.
Officers who violate the rule may be written up as committing an infraction or may lose a vacation day. The NYPD may be trying to foster better community relations, but it’s not about to get too warm and fuzzy. In other words, NYPD doesn’t do Casual Friday. One professor says is exactly how it should be. “Appearance is so important in any kind of authoritative role,” said Jim Curran, who was a cop in the 1960s and teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Police officers should be clean. They should look nice. The Patrol Guide emphasizes that for a reason.”