Police officers and facial hair. Not a good combination in most departments. Well, except for the mustache. Most police agencies forbid officers from sporting, goatees, full beards, and Elvis-type sideburns. In fact, policy normally mandates the shape and size of the upper lip fuzz. The most common restriction on mustaches is that they cannot extend below the corner of the mouth.
There are a couple of reasons for these constraints. Most departments insist that gas masks will not fit properly over a beard. Which, if true, could be extremely hazardous in a life-threatening situation. Sure it could be dangerous for the officer, but what about the people he’s trying to protect? If he’s incapacitated by a leaky gas mask, then he could also be hindered to the point where he couldn’t protect an innocent person from harm.
Another reason cited for prohibiting officer facial hair is the individual department’s desire for uniformity – they want a regiment of look-a-likes.
A hairy upper lip is part of cop culture. It’s been around for decades. Some officers claim to have had their staches longer than they’ve been married to their wives. Others say it’s a guy thing, an area of their body (no tattoos, beards, earrings, or long fingernails) their department can’t control. They grow them because they can.
University of Dallas police officer
And there’s always the cop in The Village People…
For most officers it’s about tradition. Lawmen of the Wild West had them and so should they.
And for the rookie officers who can’t quite grow a mustache: