Law enforcement officials in New Jersey need to be clean-shaven, minus a well-groomed mustache. But this month, a number of departments are doing away with that rule in honor of No-Shave November, aimed at growing cancer awareness and raising funds related to the cause.

That includes individual troopers and squads within the State Police, which added a mustache to its Facebook profile picture.

Twenty-seven officers within the Sussex County Sheriff's Office are putting the razors down through Nov. 30.

"This is a great cause, but there's also a fun side to it," said Sheriff Michael Strada. "One guy looks like Santa Claus already."

This is the first year of participation for the department, which Strada has led for six years.

As of late Thursday, more than $2,800 was raised on the office's No-Shave donation page. Programs funded this year include American Cancer Society, Prevent Cancer Foundation, Fight Colorectal Cancer and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

But come Dec. 1, the normal grooming policy is back in place, and the extra facial hair "needs to come off," Strada said.

In Lacey Township, the fundraising goal of $5,000 has already been shattered. A "challenge" is underway between the police department and emergency services.

"I'm very overwhelmed with the response that we've had, not just from my department but the community," said Lacey Police Chief Michael DiBella.

An estimated 23 officers and seven supervisors are participating on the police department team. Capt. Patrick Ganley, who oversees the patrol division, said the no-shave effort provides some comic relief on the job.

"Some of the men have a difficult time growing their beards out, so it is quite funny and fortunately for us it's raising more money because it is pretty comical," Ganley said.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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