If you’ve been fortunate enough to run into a Marquette City Police Officer over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that they look a little fuzzier than usual.
But, as ABC 10’s Rick Tarsitano tells us, the extra layer of fur isn’t just a fashion statement; it’s one more way the department is helping kids in Marquette County receive the Christmas they deserve.
Everyone celebrates Christmas in their own special way.
Instead of hanging ornaments, the Marquette City Police Department has decided to grow some holiday decorations of their own – a practice somewhat foreign to most of the ranks.
“No. Never. Guys could grow mustaches, a well-trimmed mustache, but never a beard,” said Officer Craig Marker, a member of the Marquette City Police Department for the past 16 years.
But, the order to grow these beards comes straight from the top, catching some seasoned veterans off guard.
“When Chief Mike Angeli came up with the idea to pay $5 a month to grow a beard, I had to look at the email twice to make sure it wasn’t someone else who actually wrote it,” Officer Marker added. “We’re a pretty conservative department, so it was a surprise.”
And the force’s new look has raised just as many eyebrows around town
“Oh, lots of questions. Which has been a good thing because I’ve been able to explain what ‘Shop with a Cop’ is and that it’s a fundraiser for next year. There not used to seeing us with beards either,” remarked Officer Marker. “The people at the school, people in the public have had a lot of questions like – ‘Did you not get your deer this year?’ ‘Did you wake up late this morning?’ – that type of thing. It’s been a good conversation starter.
Because now, thanks to a few inches of facial hair, the annual “Shop with a Cop” program that gives kids in Marquette County the opportunity to buy $100 worth of presents for their family is garnering the attention it deserves.
“I’ve had people approach me at the schools asking me about it. Then, when I tell them what it’s for, they want to make a donation to ‘Shop with a Cop.’ So, in that respect, it’s helped also; not only with the officers’ donations, but people in the community. Mine takes a little bit, too. It’s been about four to five weeks since we started this. It’s been interesting because it’s a first for me – very itchy. My wife doesn’t like it. She wants me to get rid of it as soon as I can,” laughed Officer Marker.
But, Officer Marker will have to bear the beard for a few more months yet, to keep the awareness front and center
“We’re going through March. The Chief said we can grow through March. He said one rule is no ‘Duck Dynasty,'” Officer Marker smiled. “We’re having to keep them trimmed. That’s okay though. It’s a good way to get people talking about ‘Shop with a Cop.'”
If you’d like to lend your support, you can approach any Marquette City Police Officer or the station itself with a check made out to “Shop with a Cop.”