A new policy prohibiting Chicago PD officers from having any tattoos showing or wearing knit hats or baseball bats while on duty has drawn strong criticism from the Chicago F.O.P., the department’s largest union.
The F.O.P. has stated the Department should have negotiated the policy before unilaterally making the decision. Several officers expressed extreme displeasure over the new rules saying that their tattoos are part of their identities.
Chicago Police Department officials said the new policy was instituted “to promote uniformity and professionalism.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, a department spokesperson said, “Too many uniform variations became available, making Chicago police officers less immediately identifiable to the public.”
The move puts Chicago in line with other big-city police departments like New York and Los Angeles that have implemented similar changes to their uniform policies as body art has become even more common.
“Normally, because all police agencies are quasi-military, there is some standard for the way people look when they are working, and it’s up to the department leaders,” said Tim Baysinger, a retired captain with the Missouri State Highway Patrol who now works for the Virginia-based Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. “It’s been a little bit more common with police departments since tattoos have become more and more popular.”
What is your view on law enforcement officers and tattoos? Does your agency have a policy like Chicago’s? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.