Duluth Police Officers Shave Beards For Safe Fit With N95 Masks
DULUTH, Minn. – Duluth Police Chief Mike Tusken has temporarily amended the department’s grooming policy to not allow facial hair so officers can safely wear N95 masks if needed during the coronavirus outbreak.
Tusken says having a smooth skin helps properly seal the mask to the face and keep the virus’ particles from getting past the seal and into the respiratory system of the officer.
“We knew that should we get to a position where we would have to wear masks, this would preclude a tight seal. Therefore, if this day ever came, and it did, that we would be requesting people to shave off their beards and facial hair so they have a clean seal with a mask,” Tusken said.
It was in 2018 when a group of officers proposed a beard policy change to Tusken, who ultimately accepted. It was a historic change because for the past 120 years, officers could only sport a mustache or a clean-shaven look.