MOBILE — You may have noticed Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine is looking a little different these days. For the first time in his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement, Prine has grown a mustache and beard. But he isn't alone.

The Mobile Police Department is testing a new policy that loosens restrictions on facial hair.

While Prine said he isn't a big fan of the change, it is growing on him. In fact, he actually grew his own facial hair. Prine said he understands that some officers prefer to have facial hair, and he doesn't want a policy to get in the way of having good officers.

"I like for us to have that professional look, but I have been in this job for 29 years and never had this," Prine told 1819 News. "It is important for us to keep up our appearances and I don't have a problem as long as it isn't too much."

Many police departments across the state and nation have stepped back on facial hair and tattoo policies amid recruitment challenges over the past four years. Montgomery PD relaxed its policy permanently.

The Mobile policy is only being relaxed for 12 months, and Prine said if things go well, the change could become permanent.

Some departments only relax their beard policy for what is known as "No Shave November." Officers are allowed to grow beards in November if they raise money for charity.

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