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SFPD will allow short beards, ponytails as part of move to modernize appearance of cops

The Seneca Falls Police Department is making some cosmetic changes to the way officers appear, modifying rules around personal care to ‘humanize’ the badge.

Male officers will now be allowed to grow and maintain a beard, and female officers will now be allowed to wear their hair in a pony-tail while on duty.

The changes come as an attempt to humanize the badge and have a softer non-militarized image, police said in an announcement.


“Beards are authorized but shall be kept clean and neatly trimmed…and the length shall not exceed 1⁄2 inches,” the policy will read. “Pony-tails for female officers are authorized; however, may not be longer than eight inches in length.”

This pilot program, which will be evaluated at the end of June 2021 also comes in response to the department’s progressive recruiting and retention plan.

Seneca Falls Police Chief Stuart Peenstra says the updated uniform policy is indicative of the actions of a 21st Century law enforcement agency. “Both in Seneca Falls and around the country, there is a hiring crisis,” Peenstra said. “As the departments pursue the next generations of officers, we believe the policy changes do not lower professionalism standards but increase the number of younger applicants and help retain them.”


The police department says updating its dress and personal appearance standards will encourage more people to see law enforcement as a career. They hope it will also positively impact how the officer is represented as a member of the community. “Although our appearance may have changed, our professionalism, performance, and expectations from the community have not,” Peenstra added. “Our department will continue to provide the highest level of service possible, and our commitment to excellence will remain the same.”



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