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  1. #1
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    Appearance directive - no grillz

    Written by Mark Nichols
    A recent decision by the Broward Sheriff's Office to ban visible tattoos and non-traditional jewelry on deputies has renewed an age-old debate. Just what does "professional," look like? Employees at the 5,000-strong agency learned recently that the department will soon begin enforcing the new policy. Among other restrictions and guidelines, the appearance directive includes a ban on ornamental dental work, like gold caps and platinum "grills."

    But according to a story in the Miami Herald, Broward Sheriff's officials say tattoos, unlike grills, would be judged on a case-by-case basis to determine if they're offensive or "unreasonably intimidating." `"People are watching,'' Sgt. Tony Marciano, a jail sergeant and an officer with Department's chapter of the Federation of Public Employees union, told the Miami Herald.
    "They want to know if they're called out and told to remove certain dental work, is the Sheriff's Office going to compensate them for that.'' But Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said any uproar over the new policy is much ado about nothing. He says the new rules are necessary to prevent excessive visible tattoos of a questionable nature.
    He also says it's an officer-safety issue. The ban on jewelry is related to the fact that the necklace or bracelet could potentially be yanked out by uncooperative suspects. "In fact, we are following the U.S. military model - a change implemented within the last year or so,'' Lamberti said.
    ``We are following a nationwide trend. We aren't starting this. Every major sheriff's office in Florida has already put this policy in place, including Miami-Dade Corrections, Jacksonville, Orange County in Orlando, Palm Beach County.''
    "I have gotten comments from the public that some of these tattoos are offensive and intimidating,'' Lamberti said. In the end it's really just about looking the part. Denis Shaw, another retired Miami-Dade Police officer, said he believes bans on visible body art for cops are good policy and that anyone who disagrees should view the issue from a civilian's perspective.
    ``People want a neutral authority figure when they call an officer to the scene,'' Shaw told the herald's James H. Burnett III. Shaw pointed to the 1992 case of Boynton Beach Police Officer David Demarest, who was fired after his supervisors learned he had a swastika tattooed on his leg. Demarest was later reinstated.
    The PBA defended him, claiming that there was no indication Demarest "was racist while on duty."


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  2. #2
    McCrackhd's Avatar
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    One or two gold teeth should not be seen as a problem. The whole grill..that's different. But, why should it be an issue if LEOs have tattoos? The way I see it, if a LEO has several tattoos on their arms, and a perp thinks that the LEO is the type of person that would kick his ass if he steps out of line, so what? I'm not condoning naked women, swatsikas, or pentagrams. But so what if the officer has a skull or tribal tattoo. I have a tribal that shows below my sleeve. One of our traffic guys has the Special Forces arrowhead on his forearm. I would think that any dipshit that sees that, and knows what it means, would think that they probably do not want to mess with him. BTW...he's all of 5-4, but a bad ass nonetheless. Maybe some of the civilians can infer some wisdom on this subject.
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  3. #3
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    We do not have a tattoo policy and we have a handful of officers with tattoos on their forearms. I don't see a problem with it as long as it's not racist, sexist, or any of the other "ists."

    I do however have a problem with officers wearing grills. Obviously.
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  4. #4
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    Agree on the tats. As long as it's not unprofessional. Didn't see if it said they would let the officers were long sleeves to cover.

    The only "grills" I've seen were worn as a jewelry accessory, not as a dental need. I agree those need to go.

    I'm surprised to see this now though, most departments have gone the other way and taken away policies that prohibit tattoos. With tats being so prevalent in the military and that also being a main target for recruitment they are going to really limit themselves.

  5. #5
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    Tats to a limit and xnay on the grillz.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

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    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  6. #6
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    The grills obviously, shouldn't be allowed. Tattoo's, it depends I think. For that matter, I also find goatees unprofessional. Alot of departments have no regulations on facial hair here, and I'e seen quite a few with goatees. A short well kept beard I'd see as different as they may have a condition preventing shaving. And of course for u/c work.
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  7. #7
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    There's obviously no wrong or right here, just opinions, but why do you think goatees are unprofessional looking? I've had one for quite awhile and never thought it to be inappropriate, even when I grow it out real long.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    There's obviously no wrong or right here, just opinions, but why do you think goatees are unprofessional looking? I've had one for quite awhile and never thought it to be inappropriate, even when I grow it out real long.

    I think it's what you get used to. Very few agencies around here allow facial hair other than mustaches. I think because of that, any facial hair other than a mustache just does not look right in uniform. If you were from an area where that was common or accepted, maybe it would look ok.

    Back to the thread, I have mixed feelings about the tats (I have no problem with disallowing grills). We have a few officers with visible tats that are fairly tasteful, and I have seen some that weren't. I guess it depends on the content, size, and placement of the tat.
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  9. #9
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cidp24 View Post
    I think it's what you get used to. Very few agencies around here allow facial hair other than mustaches. I think because of that, any facial hair other than a mustache just does not look right in uniform. If you were from an area where that was common or accepted, maybe it would look ok.

    Back to the thread, I have mixed feelings about the tats (I have no problem with disallowing grills). We have a few officers with visible tats that are fairly tasteful, and I have seen some that weren't. I guess it depends on the content, size, and placement of the tat.
    I'm in kind of the same place. Tats that don't show are your business -- with some understandable exceptions for things like gang tats or hate symbols. Visible tats, including on the arms? I can go either way. I'm old fashioned enough, I guess, that a part of me still sees tattoos as kind of low class, I guess is the best way to say it. But I can appreciate good ink, too... and I understand that it's not really a sign of being some sort of low class. Again -- low class isn't the right word, it's just the best I can come up with.

    Facial hair? I'm OK with neat mustaches in uniform. Not so good with goatees or beards. Just doesn't look right to me, and too often they fail to be neatly trimmed. (Yes, I'm also in favor of short hair for men, and neatly pulled back/up hair for women. I guess I could sort of deal with neatly pulled back/up hair on guys in uniform... though it'd look strange to me.)
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  10. #10
    213th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    There's obviously no wrong or right here, just opinions, but why do you think goatees are unprofessional looking? I've had one for quite awhile and never thought it to be inappropriate, even when I grow it out real long.
    I think Cidp hit it on the head. The departments where I grew up didn't allow anything beyond a moustache. Also, in the military it is the same, hair off the ears, mid ear length for sideburns, and moustaches are allowed. Beards, if you have a shaving waiver are okay as long as less then 1/4in in length. I had never seen an officer with a goatee until I moved here and it just looked really off. Mostly because it doesn't jive with the military type standards, which I've been used to seeing applied to police departments as well.

    I don't have anything against the goatee personally, from time to time I grow one (until the wife gets tired of my "face pubes"). Just never did it when I was in a uniformed service.
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  11. #11
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    We just had a corporate overhaul of the employee handbook.

    Apparently there are some tattoos that are of religious nature that are displayed in specific areas that were originally not accepted.

    I personally do not see any need to adorn our bodies with anything else than what God gave us.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCrackhd View Post
    I'm not condoning naked women, swatsikas, or pentagrams. But so what if the officer has a skull or tribal tattoo.
    I have multiple tattoos, none of which can be seen unless my left sleeve is pushed up inadvertently and you can see the bottom of an organic skull.

    I'm not anti-tattoo.

    I do have one question, though....

    Why would a pentagram be any more offensive than a skull?

    I can certainly understand the swastika or naked person issue.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 213th View Post
    I think Cidp hit it on the head. The departments where I grew up didn't allow anything beyond a moustache. Also, in the military it is the same, hair off the ears, mid ear length for sideburns, and moustaches are allowed. Beards, if you have a shaving waiver are okay as long as less then 1/4in in length. I had never seen an officer with a goatee until I moved here and it just looked really off. Mostly because it doesn't jive with the military type standards, which I've been used to seeing applied to police departments as well.

    I don't have anything against the goatee personally, from time to time I grow one (until the wife gets tired of my "face pubes"). Just never did it when I was in a uniformed service.

    Makes sense.

    The majority of departments around here allow some sort of facial here. Everyone locally allows mustaches, and only one that I'm aware of (our county SO) doesn't allow anything beyond that. Otherwise, all of the departments around me allow goatees or beards.

    Whether it's professional or not (I'm assuming most of you will say it's not) but I had my goatee out to about 4 or 5 inches long until about 2 weeks ago. I kept the wild stray hairs trimmed, and would comb it before work so it was straight. It was pretty bad ass and a lot of people told me it was sa-WEET. I finally cut it and trimmed it real tight a couple weeks ago when I had court. I figured working nights and dealing with drunks all night long is one thing, but being in a court room is totally different. *sigh*
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  14. #14
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    I don't remember the exact wording, but our policy does not forbid visable tattoos. It does say that if they are deemed unacceptable you gotta wear long sleeves. (That would be good in Texas summer).

    We allow mustaches, but no other facial hair and that is a fairly common policy for this area. Some of the smaller departments are allowing well trimmed beards/goatees, but I don't see it being widely accepted yet.

    When I worked for the S.O. beards were allowed & I had 1. I'd be afraid of how old I'd look now with all the grey whiskers. But I haven't been without my stache since high school with the exception of Army Basic Training & the Academy.
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    NWdeputy is offline Rookie
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    Excessive tats are not professional. Grilz are for our clients, not for us. Visible tats are OK if they are tasteful.

    Their drills are bloodless battles, and their battles bloody drills. Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian, AD 37--101

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLean View Post
    I have multiple tattoos, none of which can be seen unless my left sleeve is pushed up inadvertently and you can see the bottom of an organic skull.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    What?
    I'm your huckleberry...

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacLean View Post
    What?




  19. #19
    dot4x4 is offline Officer First Class
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    Getting here a little late to the topic but I have a large tattoo on my right calf. Where I am working at now since we have little to no contact with the public we are allowed to wear shorts. Uniform polo shirts with embroidered badge are our "uniform".

    My tattoo is approved for "ware" by the Chief but I choose not to wear shorts, (This choice is tested when its 120 and we are in the yard). I just feel if its visible then its not as professional. I chose tattoo placements on the ability to be covered by pants and t-shirt. If its not visable then who cares what is on me? I surprised our chief by bringing up the issue of my tattoo and our "shorts" policy. He started asking around and found out that probably 40% our department is tattoo'd.

    Here is a question for you guys, I have been debating getting a tattoo on the inside of my left wrist. Obviously this would be visable but it will be a "Medic alert" tattoo for me being diabetic. I wont wear a necklace or bracelet for safety reason on duty. What do you guys think about this?

  20. #20
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    All I can say is that if a cop ever shows up at my door wearing anything like this sh!t in his or her mouth they will be told very quickly to hit the road. I'll handle whatever the issue is myself.

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