Police officers often make great sacrifices to serve their communities, and some minor ones. Typically until they retire, many never know if they can grow a full beard.

Pekin’s men in black, their uniform’s color, will get their chance this fall, all the way through Christmas.

At their request, Chief John Dossey has paused the department’s rule against facial hair beyond mustaches for a full three months.

He’s extended “No-Shave November,” an annual event to raise money for a special children’s cause, to one that will enable the more hirsute among them to play Santa Claus without makeup, and the more follicly challenged to face the facts of their face.

It’s already begun. From October through the yuletide holiday, the city’s officers need not shave.

“Some of the guys requested” a full-three month shaving holiday, “and the chief said we could do this,” said Public Information Officer Mike Eeten.

“We figured for those who can’t grow a very good beard (quickly), we’d give them a couple more months” to show their stuff, Eeten said. “We always have good jokes between us about it. We’ll keep an eye on them and see what they can do.”

They’ll pay for the privilege, and to a good cause.

Officers who participate will donate $10 a week to a fund supporting the department’s Shop With a Hero program, in which less fortunate children signed up by their parents will shop for Christmas presents with officers.

Eeten sported a healthy beard when he participated in the one-month event last year. He has nothing to prove on that front, “though I wish I could grow hair on my head as well as I can on my face,” he said.

He’ll contribute to the program again this year, “But I’m not sure yet” if he’ll let the razor lay this fall, he said.

“Last year all I did all (November) was scratch my face,” he said.

Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin