Citizens may notice the addition of beards and goatees among officers of the Benton Police Department throughout November. The No-Shave November movement, popular for raising funds and awareness for cancer, is being borrowed for the cause of the annual Shop with Our Cops program overseen by Chaplain Tamara Gore each holiday season.

Officers who choose to participate in No-Shave November pay the Benton Fraternal Order of Police a donation of $25 plus a matching donation and “earn” the option of wearing facial hair for the month. BNPD typically has a policy that does not permit facial hair (beyond mustaches), and even with the month-long initiative, guidelines remain in place to ensure all officers maintain a professional appearance.

“We are willing to bend the rules for a season to support Chaplain Gore and the children of this community,” said Chief Scotty Hodges. “Shop with Our Cops has become a staple outreach for our department and provides a much-needed service to the community.”

Shop with Our Cops occurs every December. Under typical circumstances, children are paired with officers and get to do their Christmas shopping for their families with the generous donations received from the community and organizations such as the Benton Fraternal Order of Police. Last year, amid Covid-19 restrictions, Chaplain Gore worked with officers and local schools to ensure the shopping lists were fulfilled and delivered directly to the families. The hope is for the traditional program style to return this year.

“We’re happy to support this effort either way,” said Hodges, “but the relationships that form when we get to shop with the kids are unbeatable, so we are all hopeful that the pandemic continues to cooperate.”

For general inquiries, contact BNPD at 501-776-5948 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.