Scruffy, unshaven deputies are patrolling Benton County and raising funds for people in need during Christmas.
This is the second year they can temporarily stop shaving, provided that the deputies, clerks and corrections officers each donate $25 a month for November and December. Female personnel can donate to wear a sheriff’s office baseball hat while in uniform.
“We get to proudly display our donations on our face,” said Lt. Steve Caughey.
Sheriff’s office policy requires men to shave; they are only allowed to have mustaches.
“Our sheriff (Steven Keane) is very good at having us look professional,” Caughey said. “We have to shave every day of the year.”
The money is given to Bethel Church to support the 2016 Christmas of Everyone program, which provides gifts, food, detergent, and hygiene items to people in need, Caughey said.
“The gift donations are used in support of families who are referred through a variety of sources in the Tri-Cities, such as (state Department of Social and Health Services), the health (district), counselors and teachers,” Caughey said.
The no-shave program generated $2,800 to help nine families last year. In its second year, and only three weeks into November, it already has raised $3,125.
Caughey said the program is popular with the staff. As evidence, a room full of deputies and corrections officers, waiting to have their picture taken, bragged about their manly beards. Some teased others for their modest crop of whiskers.
The staff is happy to help donate to a worthy cause and to help families in the community. Caughey said how they raise the funds makes it even better.
“We don’t have to shave,” he said smiling through a beard.