MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Usually police officers are clean-shaven, but the Marquette Police Department (MPD) allows facial hair for only one exception…a donation to a law enforcement scholarship.
A few years ago the MPD started a scholarship through the Marquette Area Public Schools Education Foundation. The scholarship is awarded to a high school senior looking to pursue a career in law enforcement or criminal justice field.
To start the fund, the department reached out to past, present, and retired officers from the MPD who came up with the basic monetary foundation for the scholarship.
To help maintain that donation fund, officers are allowed to grow facial hair for a period of time if they donate to the fund.
With the help of growing a beard or a mustache, Police Chief Blake Rieboldt said investing in the youth of the Marquette community is important.
“We are struggling as law enforcement to find qualified candidates that want to pursue this career field. We feel that by reaching out to these high school seniors that are interested in the field and helping them through the process it’s really rewarding to everybody.”
Even if some people aren’t able to grow facial hair, the department staff contribute to the scholarship in any way they can.
“I can’t say enough about the staff here at the Marquette Police Department. They are super supportive of the scholarship and willing to participate at the level that they do. It’s been a really good success story for us and we are very proud of that scholarship,” said Rieboldt.