Now-former NYPD recruit Fishel Litzman, a 38-year-old father of three, was given the boot Friday after multiple disputes with NYPD brass over the length of his beard. He was just weeks away from finishing the Academy and receiving his badge.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” Litzman tells the New York Daily News, which first reported the firing. “This was unfortunate.”
The NYPD’s beard policy allows religious beards to be no longer than one millimeter (about one-sixteenth of an inch) in length, a rule that the NYPD says was explained to Litzman prior to signing up for the Academy. As you can see in the photo linked here, Litzman’s beard is considerably longer than what is permitted under the NYPD’s beard regulations.
Litzman was first cited for his beard in January. In March, he was cited again, at which point NYPD brass recommended he be fired after because he “failed to maintain personal appearance.”
As Litzman was getting cited for something as dumb as a beard violation, he was killin’ it on tests given at the Academy (tests about how to actually be a cop, not just dress like one) — according to the News, Litzman’s earned scores of 99, 100 and 96 on three exams he’s taken as a police recruit. He also speaks three languages and has experience as a paramedic.
But Litzman isn’t allowed to be a cop…because his beard’s too long.