Officers with the Slidell (LA) Police Department will now be allowed to sport a beard in uniform.
The agency posted the policy change on its Facebook page, stating, "Chief Fandal was presented with the idea of relaxing the facial hair policy by allowing Slidell Police officers to have facial hair. Initially, like most veteran officers, the idea was taboo. The stigma of an having facial hair can sometimes be perceived as unprofessional by the “old school” generation...but Chief Fandal recognized that beliefs, traditions, and generation changes are affecting his department, like most police forces across our country."
Chief Fandal gave several reasons for the policy change:
1. A recent quote I heard about outdated narratives. I realized my argument, considering myself and this agency to be a very progressive agency, may not be as accurate as it should be. So, how can I say that and still adhere to an old outdated policy on facial hair?
2. Recruiting new officers in law enforcement is becoming more and more difficult. If relaxing our policy helps recruiting new officers, we need to consider the change.
3. Many of you have asked. That is enough to consider it on its own merit.
4. Another reason to consider the change is morale. This is a difficult profession. It’s hard on us and our families. If this small token gives officers more satisfaction in their job, it’s time to consider the change.
The chief stipulated, however, that facial hair be "neatly trimmed" and that officers must be clean shaven for formal events.