by Pam Zubeck
From the "Where are they now?" file, former Colorado Springs interim Police Chief David Felice finds himself in a bit of a hairy situation in his role as Durango police chief.
And the story is going viral. The Associated Press, bloggers and others are having a field day with the news that things are changing in this southwestern Colorado town.
Seems out of nowhere, several of his men are sporting nicely trimmed goatees, which used to be a violation of department policy. But now it's not.
The Durango Herald reports that the policy was quietly changed and the fuzz is back, including on the chief himself.
Problem is, Felice isn't talking, and it's driving people crazy, wondering why the beards all of a sudden.
Felice was a deputy chief with the Springs Police Department, and was named interim chief in 2006 after Chief Lou Velez retired following a controversy over destruction of evidence. (Velez, by the way, is now interim police chief in Pueblo.) Before that, Felice was deputy chief and also a commander in several divisions, including metro vice.
Although Felice was named a finalist for the top job here, he wasn't chosen and retired in early 2008. Later that year, he was hired to lead the Durango force.
We're assuming facial hair has long been OK at the CSPD, considering Chief Richard Myers has a moustache and Velez, too, sported one.
And, judging from Sheriff Terry Maketa's 2009 annual report, he, too, allows facial hair, to a point. Several of his guys, including two commanders, are pictured with moustaches.
In case you care, here's the policy from the CSPD for male employees of the department in uniform:
Head hair may be permitted to grow naturally, but will be groomed and neatly trimmed so as not to present a ragged, bushy, unkempt or eccentric appearance. The hair shall not extend below the top of the shirt collar.
Sideburns shall not extend beyond a point even with the bottom line of the ear lobe and shall extend in a clean-shaven, horizontal line. The flare of the sideburns shall not exceed the width of the main portion of the sideburns by more than one-fourth of the unflared width. The sideburns shall be trimmed and neat in appearance.
Mustaches are permitted if natural in color, and short and neatly trimmed. Mustaches shall not extend below the vermilion border of the upper lip, or the corners of the mouth, and may not extend to the side more than one-half inch beyond the corners of the mouth. Handlebar mustaches are prohibited.
Beards are prohibited, except by special permission of the Chief of Police. In going on-duty, officers must be clean-shaven, in accordance with these provisions.
If wigs are worn, they shall comply with the provisions of this section.
Hair color must be of natural-born colors (such as black, brown, blond or red) and not detract from professional decorum.
Male members may not wear fingernail polish of any color.
Male members are prohibited from wearing earrings and other visible body jewelry, to include the facial area and tongue.
A total of three rings may be worn.
One necklace may be worn as long as it is not visible.
One bracelet and one wristwatch may be worn as long as they are professional .
Exceptions to this policy will be made for certain undercover non-uniform assignments, such as Metro VNI, or and only with the approval of the Chief of Police or his/her designee. All officers, including undercover officers shall comply as closely to this policy as possible when representing the Department at court, depositions, etc., without jeopardizing their undercover roles.
Supervisory personnel may require Department personnel to be photographed for documentation, in enforcing provisions of this section.