You may have already noticed officers sporting visible tattoos on their arms as we authorized them as of September 1. The U.S. culture is ever changing and law enforcement needs to adapt with it. It seems nearly everyone from 18 to 40 years old is sporting a tattoo of some sort. The people we hire are generally from 21 to 25 years old.
Recently a neighboring chief of police told me that their recruitment of potential officers, especially military veterans, has been hampered by their policy of barring visible tattoos. I am not aware such a policy has affected our hiring of quality individuals, but why wait for it?
We allowed our CSO staff and other part-time, uniformed staff the ability to show their tattoos over the summer as a test to see if it produced negative feedback from the community. There was none, so with the City Manager’s approval, our policy was changed and we now allow visible, non-offensive, tattoos on arms and legs.
The chief of police in Irving, Texas does a great job of explaining this progression in some law enforcement agencies in this YouTube video.
Chief Rick Mathwig
This post was originally published as part of the September 14, 2018 edition of Chief Mathwig’s newsletter, One Chief’s Perspective.