the reluctance of the judiciary to interfere in matters of military authority involving discipline. The reason for this policy has its origin in this country's tradition of providing the military establishment with broad power to deal with its own personnel. Hunt v. Board of Fire Commissioners of Massapequa Fire District, 68 Misc. 2d 261, 327 N.Y.S. 2d 36, 42 (Sup. Ct. 1971). In actuality, therefore, the Fire Department seeks judicial recognition of an interest in the maintenance of a military form of discipline over its members. Since such an interest, should its existence be recognized, borders upon an unqualified right to control individual appearance as well as behavior, there is little doubt that the right to regulate grooming would fall within its scope. This same interest as applied to a fire department was advanced in Hunt v. Board of Fire Commissioners of Massapequa Fire District, supra. But in that case as in this, never was it suggested why a military form of discipline is necessary to the effective operation of a fire department. And while this Court is willing to accept the fact that a fire department has a valid disciplinary interest in regulating the activities of its members during the performance of their training and firefighting activities, nowhere has it been suggested how the regulation of grooming would be reasonably related to the furtherance of such a qualified interest. Accordingly this Court holds that the Fire Department does not have a valid interest in the maintenance of a military form of discipline over its members and further that the qualified disciplinary interest it does possess does not encompass the regulation of grooming.
An analysis of the second interest advanced by the defendants brings much the same result. Because police are in constant contact with the public, Courts considering the question of whether police departments may properly regulate the grooming of their members have often relied upon more than such a department's interest in maintaining discipline. Because police are in constant contact with the public it has been held that a police department's regulation of grooming is reasonably related to the instillation of public confidence in the ability of police to perform their duties. The rationale would appear to be that the more neutral police appear to the public, the more readily they receive acceptance, cooperation, and respect, thus maximizing their effectiveness. See, e.g., Dwen v. Barry, 336 F. Supp. 487 (E.D.N.Y. 1971); Greenwald v. Frank, 70 Misc. 2d 632, 334 N.Y.S. 2d 680 (Sup. Ct. 1972). While the defendants argue that "firemen are always on display and project an image to members of the public as protectors of their lives and property," it is clear that the performance of their duties does not require the same kind or extent of public contact as is required of police. Thus, although this Court is willing to recognize the validity of the interest sought to be advanced, it cannot accept the argument that it is entitled to much weight.
Having reached the foregoing conclusion, and because the defendants have advanced no interest deserving of much weight, the question of balancing the respective interests of the parties is greatly simplified. Because the only valid interest advanced by the defendants is insubstantial, there is no need to gauge the weight to be afforded the constitutionally protected interest advanced by the plaintiff. The Court need only note that the plaintiff's interest, though constitutionally protected, is not overwhelming. Richards v. Thurston, 424 F.2d 1281, 1284 (1st Cir. 1970). For example, had the present appearance regulation been promulgated and justified in the interest of safety, there is little doubt that such an interest would be superior to the plaintiff's. See, e.g., Olszewski v. Council of Hempstead Fire Dept., 70 Misc. 2d 603, 334 N.Y.S. 2d 504 (Sup. Ct. 1972). No such interest having been advanced, however, the plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement. Since the parties, at the hearing, agreed that if the plaintiff was entitled to reinstatement he was entitled to back pay as well, the parties will have ten days to submit a final order to this Court covering the plaintiff's reinstatement and the amount of wages due him. In light of the Court's resolution of the plaintiff's substantive due process argument, it is unnecessary to consider the other federal constitutional questions that he has raised.