Nation: Hope for the Hirsute

The Beatles started it, the hippies spread it, and now long hair and beards are beginning to make it way downtown in Straight City. John Bal, a 24-year-old Manhattan patrolman, wears three commendations for heroism on his blue uniform—and brown hair that falls over the collar of his shirt. Bal's beat is now Central Park's Bethesda Fountain, where the kids in beads and tie-dyed jeans find him groovy. His superiors do not agree; last week he spent over two hours before a departmental hearing. "I like being a cop," Bal says. "But I've got to bust out and be me."

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