TOWN OF DICKINSON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – There’s been a sea change in local law enforcement with regard to a longstanding prohibition related to appearance.

Most local police agencies, including the Broome County Sheriff’s Office, are now allowing their officers to grow beards.

In most instances, mustaches were allowed, but no other facial hair.

However, with the growing popularity of No Shave November, which raises money and awareness for prostate cancer, the rule against beards seemed increasingly outdated.

Sheriff Fred Akshar says that during his campaign, he heard from officers in both the law enforcement and corrections divisions about their desire to grow beards.

Plus, he enjoys sporting a beard as well.

“For the Undersheriff and I, it was just very small things that you’re taking a step in a positive direction. Doing something that the men specifically in this instance appreciated and cared about. At the end of the day, that decision did not impact the way that one served the community.”

Akshar says the beards need to be trimmed and well-kept.

He says there is no formal tattoo policy but that they cannot be offensive.

Otherwise, he feels beards and tattoos can make the officers seem more approachable and reflective of the society as a whole.

The Sheriff says the office is exploring other ways to support the charities that previously benefited from No Shave November.