Police Chief Reported For Arranging Haircuts For Officers During Pandemic
Neenah, WI – A salon owner complained mightily to state officials after he found out the local police chief had arranged for somebody to visit the police station to give officers haircuts twice a week while barbershops are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Neenah Police Chief Aaron Olson sent a memo to his staff on March 24 that said he had made arrangements for a hair stylist to come to the police station from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. twice a week because officers "still need to look presentable to the public,” the Appleton Post-Crescent reported.
The memo said the stylist’s temperature would be checked when they arrived and haircuts would be performed in the station’s garage.
Chief Olson recommended officers pay the stylist $15 to $20 in cash, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.
The chief’s efforts appeared to have been made to try to maintain some normalcy in the appearance of Neenah police for the community, but they didn’t go over well.
Dan Hoeck, who owns two Sola Salon Studios in nearby Appleton and three more in Green Bay that are shut down in accordance with the governor’s executive order, threw a fit, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.
"This isn't right," Hoeck said. "This can't be done. You're putting this individual in jeopardy on a whole bunch of different fronts."
The salon owner wasted no time in reporting the police chief’s activities to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm.
He said Chief Olson’s maneuver not only violated the governor’s closure of non-essential businesses, but also broke health department regulations about operating a salon in an unauthorized place, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.
In response, the police chief cancelled the haircuts for his officers.
"It's not worth the headache," Chief Olson told the Appleton Post-Crescent. "I felt it was OK to do because we're essential, and we need people to look professional."
He said the haircut issue was a “gray area” in the governor’s order.
"We did this with the best of intentions, but obviously people are not looking at it the same way we did," Olson told the Appleton Post-Crescent. "I take full responsibility for that. It's unfortunate that this is even newsworthy."