Salt River police chief sacrifices 30-year-old mustache to benefit kids

The Salt River Police Department along with 18 other Valley agencies will be participating in the 13th Annual Shop with a Cop program this Saturday, Dec. 19.

This year the Shop with a Cop program was separated into two dates, with one location in Mesa and the second location at the Walmart, 4915 N. Pima Road, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale.

The Shop with a Cop program is part of AZ LEOS, a private non-profit organization, which relies on private donations, dedicated to serving children throughout the Valley by collaborating with local law enforcement.

According to Police Chief Patrick R. Melvin, the command staff for the Salt River Police Department were meeting to discuss fundraising ideas to sponsor 30 children from the SRPMIC.

Someone made a suggestion to start a “Go Fund Me” account with a challenge that if we were able to raise $3,000, Assistant Chief Karl Auerbach would shave off his 32 year old mustache. When Chief Auerbach said he would do it, “everyone was shocked.”

The account was opened up and immediately contributions started to come in. With two days left the department looked to be slightly short of hitting its goal. However, on Friday Dec. 11, residents of the Shadow Mountain Mobile Home Park walked into the main station and presented a check for $1,000.

The generous contribution, along with many others, helped the SRPD surpass its goal with 100 percent of the funds going directly toward the children.

“His sacrifice goes above and beyond what we would have ever expected from anyone. We think this is a true representation of what community policing means,” said Cindy Hill, president of AZ LEOS.

“I have been very blessed in my career and when it came up in the meeting, I said why not? It’s for the kids,” Assistant Chief Auerbach stated when asked what motivated him to participate in this program.

A special event is being planned at the Two Waters Government Complex, 10005 E. Osborn Road, on Monday Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. to help say goodbye to Chief Auerbach’s famed mustache.

The event will feature Hoop Dancers from the Lehi Branch of the Boys and Girls Club.  Staff from Toni and Guy Hairdressing of Scottsdale have donated their services and will shave off Chief Auerbach’s mustache in front of all guests.

Members of the Salt River Fire Department will be on hand in the event their services are needed.

Chief Auerbach is a native Arizonan from Nogales. In 1980 he graduated from the Phoenix Police Department’s Regional Training Academy.

He has served the Salt River Police Department for over 23 years with the last 16 years as the assistant chief of police, including two stints as the acting chief of police.

He is currently serving as the department’s chief of staff, responsible for the administration and management of the Salt River Police Department’s Budget, Contracts and Grants, Strategic Planning and Policies and Procedures. He serves on numerous law enforcement boards and is a well-known figure throughout the region.

The Scottsdale Independent is published monthly and mailed to 75,000 homes and businesses in Scottsdale.

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