The mustaches grown by Jerseyville Police officers during the month of March are going to allow the department to get a new police dog.
Jerseyville Police Department participated in the Mustache March program organized by a committee from Alton. JPD officers wore mustaches throughout the month to promote the effort, which was designed to bring positive awareness to area police departments and raise money at the same time.
Tuesday night, Police Chief Brad Blackorby was presented a check for $8,100 by the Mustache March committee.
“We’ll put it to good use,” the chief said.
The department’s current K9 officer, Edo, is nearing 13 years in age. While Edo recently was re-certified to continue his policing duties, Blackorby said the dog’s career is nearing an end.
Edo’s handler, Sergeant Danny Green, will also handle the new K9 when the animal arrives. Green will have to re-attend academy training with the new dog. Blackorby anticipates that class will happen in August.
“When Sergeant Green goes to that class with the new K9, that’s when [Edo] will retire,” the chief said.
So, receiving $8,100 – which is nearly the exact cost of a new K9 – for growing mustaches seems almost like fate, Blackorby said.
“It just so happened that this kind of all fell into place at the same time,” he said. “It just worked out right.”
Having a police dog in the department has been very beneficial, Blackorby said. He noted the dog is utilized during traffic stops in Jerseyville, and is often requested by other departments to help locate illicit substances.
“[Green] also does demonstrations for the public at schools and other events, so we use [Edo] for public relations,” Blackorby said.
The money donated was raised by sponsors who paid at least $125 each, as well as funds from T-shirt sales. The money was distributed among the participating departments, with JPD receiving the biggest chunk for its high level of participation.
Blackorby said he is extremely appreciative for the people who coordinated the Mustache March program, as well as those who supported it.
“They had a great turnout for the first year,” Blackorby said, noting the coordinators plan to continue and grow the program. “They’re just good people who started this organization.”
Blackorby also acknowledged his officers for their willingness to participate in the program.
“I’m very proud of my department,” Blackorby said. “Nobody wears a mustache here, so the officers who participated by growing a mustache were a great help, and we had several. Also, the employees and community members who attended the event also showed great support for our department and our city.”
Blackorby saw the mustache growing effort – without having any idea the payout would be so significant – as a fun way to promote the department within the city.
“Anytime we can do some PR with the public, I’m all for it,” he said back in March. “Public relations is a big aspect of the Jerseyville Police Department. I’m glad the other officers jumped on board, and I’m glad we were given the opportunity to be involved with it.”