Philadelphia Police Department Amends Beard Policy for Religious and Medical Reasons

August 11, 2003

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

On August 11, 2003 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Philadelphia "Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson yesterday changed the department's decades-old clean-shaven rule, allowing the force's more than 7,000 officers to sport facial hair under limited conditions... From now on, officers may sport full beards - for religious or medical reasons - as long as the beards are short and neatly trimmed... In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, let stand lower-court rulings that allowed two Newark, N.J., police officers, both Muslims, to keep their beards and positions because barring them violated their freedom of religion."