Tattoo Policy

7.30 Tattoos/Body Art

7.30.1 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to maintain a professional appearance of all sworn and civilian employees while on duty and to foster the public’s trust and confidence in the Department and its employees.

7.30.2 Definitions

A. Tattoo/Body Art: Includes any tattoo, body art, mark, intentional alteration or modification either temporary or permanent deliberately placed on the body for the purpose of decoration, ornamentation, or adornment.

B. Branding-The act of intentional burning of the skin for the purpose of creating a design, form, figure or art.

C. Offensive Tattoos or Body Art- Any tattoo or body art depicting words, pictures, or symbols, which can be interpreted to advocate, promote, or support racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance. This shall also include any tattoos or body art that can be interpreted to advocate, promote, or support discrimination towards any race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

D. Extremist Tattoos or Body Art - Any tattoo or body art affiliated with, depicting or symbolizing extremist’s philosophies, organizations, or activities. Extremist philosophies, organizations and activities are those which can be interpreted to advocate, promote, and support hatred and/or violence towards any person or group of persons based on race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. Includes any tattoo or body art that advocates or symbolizes gang affiliation, racial supremacy, extremist groups, drug use and initials, acronyms, or numbers that represent criminal or historically oppressive organizations. Any street gang names, numbers, and/or symbols are prohibited, as well.

E. Indecent Tattoos or Body Art- Any tattoo or body art that can be interpreted as grossly indecent, lewd, or sexual that shocks the moral sense because of their crude, vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature or would be inappropriate to be viewed by any minor child. Includes any tattoo or body art depicting any vulgar art, words, phrases, or profane language.

F. Racist Tattoos or Body Art-Any tattoos or body art that can be interpreted to advocate, promote or support degrading, demeaning or insulting any person or group of persons based on race, ethnicity or national origin.

G. Sexist Tattoo or Body Art-Any tattoos or body art that can be interpreted to advocate, promote or support degrading, demeaning or insulting any person or persons based upon gender, but that may not meet the same definition of "Indecent Tattoos or Body Art." Includes any tattoo or body art depicting anatomically correct nude, sexually explicit, sexist images.

0.3 Policy

We must always remain cognizant at all times of how the public view our appearance. Remember - You can only make a first impression once and first impressions are lasting. If not governed by policy, our appearance can easily be misinterpreted by the general public. Both sworn and civilian employees are permitted to have exposed tattoos/body art on their arms and legs while on duty as outlined in this policy. The following conditions govern the Department

Tattoo/Body Art policy:

A. Exposed tattoos or body art are not authorized in a visible location above the collarbone on the neck, face, mouth, lips, tongue, head, ears, scalp, hands [wrist bone to the end of fingertips] of any employee.

B. Exception to no tattoo or body art on an employee’s left hand: A tattoo or body art to represent a "wedding band" on any single finger on the left hand will be allowed; but, cannot exceed past the first knuckle of the finger.

C. Tattoos not immediately recognizable or discernible as tattoos and used for cosmetic purposes only and do not conflict with this policy are permitted. (i.e, tattooed eyebrows, eyeliner).

D. Employees with visible tattoos or body art on one or both legs are authorized to wear Department-issued shorts while working assignments that permit officers to wear Department-issued shorts. No requirement to cover visible tattoos or body art.

E. A tattoo or body art not authorized or permitted by policy may be covered through the use of a skin tone patch no larger than 2 by 2 inches in size, make-up, or may be removed at the employee’s expense. If the employee elects to cover up a tattoo or body art with the use of a skin tone patch no larger than 2 by  2 inches in size or make-up, the employee shall ensure the tattoo or body art remains covered at all times while on-duty, NO EXCEPTIONS.

F. All employees are required and must wear at all times the appropriate long sleeve shirt/blouse or pants/slacks that prevents the viewing of any tattoos, brandings or body art while engaged in a courtroom proceeding or testimony.

G. Police officers working as a Court Bailiff are encouraged to cover any exposed tattoos or body art but are not required to do so to be in compliance with the tattoo or body art policy.

H. All sworn and civilian employees are required and must wear at all times the appropriate long sleeve shirt/blouse or pants/slacks that prevents the viewing of any tattoos or body art while representing our Department inside or outside our Department in any official capacity at formal events such as promotional or awards ceremonies, funerals, etc.

I. All sworn and civilian employees are required and must wear at all times the appropriate long sleeve shirt/blouse or pants/slacks that prevents the viewing of any tattoos or body art while representing our Department inside or outside our Department in any form or fashion as an instructor, range master, panelist, presenter, lecturer, hiring or promotional panelist/assessor, etc.

J. Tattoos, brandings and body art deemed offensive are prohibited at all times - covered or uncovered both on-duty and off-duty. NO EXCEPTIONS. Examples of offensive tattoos, brandings and body art include, but not limited to:

  • Offensive Tattoos or Body Art
  • Extremist Tattoos or Body Art
  • Indecent Tattoos or Body Art
  • Racist Tattoos or Body Art
  • Sexist Tattoo or Body Art 
  • Any tattoo, branding or body art prejudicial to the good order, discipline and professionalism or are of a nature to bring discredit to the Department.

K. Use of a neoprene sleeve or similar material or device is strictly prohibited and no longer authorized or approved for any sworn and civilian employee.

L. The Director of Public Safety or designee is the final authority for any issue or dispute on any matter in reference to this policy.