By: Chris Davis
Posted: Jan 04, 2019 06:06 AM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Dozens of officers in the Austin Community College district will shave Friday for the first time in two months.
ACC police officers have been growing out their facial hair since November to raise money for a group that funds research into pediatric brain cancer. Officers brought the idea to their bosses, who then had to change department regulations to allow it.
"We decided that if an officer puts in $50, they can grow a beard," said Officer Frank Miranda, one of the organizers of ACC's Beard It Up campaign, supporting The Cure Starts Now.
More than 70 officers grew beards, and women in the department dyed their hair to do their part as well. Altogether, the department raised more than $4,000 for the fundraiser.
Officer David Clawson, a former Taylor police officer now working on ACC's Elgin campus, has been with the department since 2011 and started growing his beard along with his colleagues in November.
"Originally, I made the donation because it’s a good cause," he said. "And about two weeks into it, I received the news that my niece’s daughter, she’s 5 years old, Aisley, that she’d been diagnosed with leukemia."
"It kind of got personal to me," he added.
After a first round of treatment, blood tests didn't show any cancer, but she still has two years of treatment to go before doctors can call her cancer-free.
The money he helped raise is just a piece of the nearly $150,000 the cancer research group raised in the nationwide Beard It Up campaign.
Other local law enforcement groups participated through the month of November, too, including the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, the Round Rock Police Department, and the Austin Police Department.
The Houston Police Department raised the most out of any participating group, bringing in more than $56,000 between the men and women.
The ACC officers kept their beards longer than most, and Friday two barbers from Luis' Corner Barber Shop will bring their tools to the Highland Campus to shave some of the officers.
"They finally said, hey, the challenge is over, now we need to knock these things off," said Mauricio Rivera, one of the two barbers taking part in the shave off.
Clawson shaved off his beard on New Year's Day, but he said participating in the fundraiser reminded him that his fellow officers and ACC students are full of positivity.
"When you work the street, you always see the bad side of people," Clawson said. "At ACC, you deal with good people."