Normally, male officers with the Brownwood and Early police departments, as well as the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, are prohibited by department policy from having beards.

This month is an exception — it’s the Beard Patrol, and the officers are actually encouraged to grow beards for a cause.

The Brownwood and Early departments are raising funds to benefit Testicular Cancer Foundation, while the sheriff’s office is raising money to benefit child cancer research.

“I think we talked last year about doing something like this, because our general order does not allow facial hair. It’s one of those traditional-type things with the Brownwood Police Department,” Police Chief Terry Nichols said.

The policy does allow officers to have mustaches, Nichols said.

“Law enforcement officers across the nation typically do what’s called No Shave November,” Nichols said. “We’re calling it the Beard Patrol. It’s the same concept. So we’re waiving our rules for the month. If you see us looking scruffy, it’s for a good cause.”

The officers will have some fun with the Beard Patrol and more importantly, raise awareness and funds for a worthy cause, Nichols said.

Sgt. Art Shannon said he hasn’t grown a beard since 1987. “Some of us have forgotten how to grown one,” Shannon said. “Fortunately it’s kind of like falling off a bicycle.”

You can donate by going to www.beardpatrol.org, where you can find teams from the Brownwood and Early police departments.

Early Police Chief David Mercer said the November beards mean “a little change in uniform for a worthy cause. Normally we do not allow that.”

In the sheriff’s office, it’s the employees themselves who donate to child cancer research — $50 for the privilege of growing a beard for the month, or $30 from female employees to color their hair, Sheriff Vance Hill said.