Officers grow mustaches for memorial fundraiser

The Front Royal Police Department is aiming to raise the remaining half of its Mustache March campaign this week.

One shift of officers set out on March 8 to raise $3,000 in a month for the D.C.-based National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund. So far, shift supervisor Sgt. Jason Winner said, they’re already appreciative of donations that have taken them past their halfway point.

“We’ve never done anything like this, so we really weren’t sure what to expect,” he said. “We’re actually kind of surprised with the amount of support that we got.”

He said officers originally thought up Mustache March last year as a fun alternative to the popular No-Shave November, since they’re not allowed to wear beards on duty. Now, they’ve made the campaign into a fundraising effort for a monument to those who’ve died while in the line of duty.

“This year, with the current state of events surrounding law enforcement and officers dying … it seems to be almost a daily occurrence now,” he said.

Sgt. Crystal Cline said the campaign came on the heels of Prince William County police officer Ashley Guindon’s death during her first day on the job.

“It’s near and dear to all of our hearts when tragedy strikes, and we want to help any way that we can,” she said.

Clearing it through his superiors and directly contacting the fund, Winner and the other officers set up a webpage for donations that will go directly to the fund. Contributors would write in an officer’s name that would prompt them to grow out their mustache. Others have given donations without an officer’s name attached.

Besides family and community members, Cline said the other Front Royal officers have contributed to the cause themselves.

Even if they don’t reach the $3,000 marker, contributed funds will still go toward maintenance and upkeep for the memorial. According to the fund’s website, new names are chiseled into the wall in conjunction with National Police Week in May.

Winner said the officers have posted updates on social media into the campaign’s final days. He said the department would be making a more organized effort next year, starting directly on the first of the month instead of a week in.

“We’ve been posting pictures, kind of selfies to show progress of the mustache throughout the week,” he said. “Our hopes are that the other departments would join in with us and it would spread.”

Read about the Mustache March campaign and donate at http://tinyurl.com/jdrd74q.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com