New policy allows Santa Fe officers to have beards

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SANTA FE, N.M. – The Santa Fe Police Department officers are in the second 90-day trial period for a new policy that lets the men on the force grow out their beards.

“Up to this point there were no beards, you could have a mustache, but there were some regulations to what the mustache could look like,” said SFPD Chief of Police Paul Joye. 

But that was all about to change.

“I tried to reach out to officers to try and get their feedback on where we are at, what are we doing well and what are some things we can do to improve and just get their general opinion,” said Joye. “In those conversations more than a few offices asked if we would consider making some changes to the facial hair policy.”

And it’s not just the hair that appears to be different it’s also the mood.

“A lot of guys are walking around with a little pep in their step, and you know we joke with each other. Some can grow it and some can’t, so it’s been a lot of fun to experience this,” said SFPD K-9 officer Gerald Lovato. 

For some officers, it’s helping them to become more recognizable. 

“When I joined the department I shaved the night before. I had to go to the academy basically and it was a big change for me,” said SFPD officer Charles Ovalle. “Even my 10-year-old was like ‘dad I don’t recognize you,’ – he’s happy dad’s back.”

But there are some limitations.

“No ZZ Top, no Duck Dynasty, nothing wild like that,” said Joye.