Q&A with School Resource Officer (SRO) Shane VanNatter on his, Carmel Police Department’s participation in No-Shave November

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Submitted Photo: Shane VanNatter

School Resource Officer (SRO) Shane VanNatter sits in a chair at the Main Street Barber Shop in downtown Carmel at the end of the 2020 No-Shave November events. VanNatter said officers from the Carmel Police Department participate in the “Shave Off” to help raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “We all go in that morning and they will shave (our beards) into patterns and stuff for us. Everybody has their photos taken and we try to raise some more money during the ‘Shave Off,'” he said.

Royce Brown

What is No-Shave November?

“It’s a national effort to raise awareness and raise money for a number of health issues that generally affect men. We (at the Carmel Police Department) have an officer whose wife suffers from leukemia, so we donate all the money we raised to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”

SRO Shane VanNatter stands outside the school in the morning. VanNatter said he will participate in this year’s No-Shave November events as a member of the Carmel Police Department. (Arya Pinnamaneni)

How long have you participated in No-Shave November?

“This is our sixth year. The first year we donated to the American Cancer Society, and the five years since then we have donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.”

How do you participate in No-Shave November?

“In order to participate, an officer has to make a minimum donation to the No-Shave November initiative of $50. That’s the minimum. It allows us for that month to relax our grooming standards and we can either grow out a mustache, a goatee or a beard. It still has to be trimmed neatly and look professional. Our civilians that work for the police department can donate that $50 and they can wear jeans to work for the month of November. So that’s another option they have if you’re a civilian that works for the police department.”

What do the funds raised go toward?

“So far since we’ve started doing this campaign five years ago, we’ve raised $24,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and our goal this year is to raise $3,000. I don’t know how many male police officers we have, but I think we have about 136 officers. So hopefully if each one donates a minimum of 50 bucks (we can achieve our goal). A lot of times, we can go out and also find sponsors that will also make donations for us if we tell them what we’re raising money for. Because people see us with our beards and say, ‘That’s unusual, you guys got a beard. I’ve never seen you with a beard before,’ and then we explain the program and they become interested in donating. I’ve had businesses and individuals make donations to me, sizable donations, to help out.”

Are there any fun events you participate in for No-Shave November?

“At the end of the month, there will be a contest. And it’s usually the best beard, the most creative beard and the best attempt, which is the guy who could only grow a bit of chin whiskers but not a real beard. There will be categories for best and worst beards and things like that. There’s usually gift cards for prizes. We will have the barber shop on downtown Main Street have a ‘Shave Off’ event and they will have coffee and donuts for us. We all go in that morning and they will shave (our beards) into patterns and stuff for us. Everybody has their photos taken and we try to raise some more money during the ‘Shave Off.’”

Archit Kalra and Kruti Subbannavar

How can we participate in No-Shave November?

“You could reach out to one of the school resource officers to make a donation. Or you can send a check to the Carmel Police Department and make it out to the Carmel Police Department Gift Fund. If somebody has a passion to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and they want to support their school resource officer or their favorite police officer, this would be a great opportunity to contribute towards the cause.”

How can we find out more about the Police Department’s events?

“You can follow us on Instagram @carmelpd. And our Twitter is @CarmelPD.”

 

Click here for a video from the Carmel Police Department on No-Shave November.

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