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DES MOINES, Iowa — Some of Des Moines' finest have to go more undercover after the department adopted a policy restricting body art.

The policy now says any tattoos, branding and intentional scarring on the face, head, neck, hands, exposed arms and legs are prohibited. Employees who already have tattoos are exempt — but they must provide photographs of their existing tattoos.

Des Moines' police union says the policy is unreasonable and has filed a grievance.

Stewart Barnes, president of the union, said the policy could narrow the potential pool of eligible officers.

"If you know that for the rest of your career you are going to have to wear a long-sleeved shirt or have your tattoos removed, you might think twice about applying for the job," he said.

Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw said tattoos distract from a professional image. She added that the department doesn't allow beards, either.

Chris Morgan, a West Des Moines police officer and former U.S. Marine, knows first-hand what it feels like to have to wear a long-sleeved shirt when it's 90 degrees outside to cover the tattoos on his forearms.

"I get so hot out there when I'm directing traffic," Morgan said. "I've sweated through my shirt and my vest."

In November, the Sioux City police department adopted a policy that says officers cannot get new tattoos on exposed body areas. New job candidates are allowed to have tattoos on exposed skin, but they can't get new ones after they're hired.

"We don't allow beards, either," Sioux City Lt. Marti Reilly said. "But we can ask them to shave those off. It's different with a tattoo."

In Ames, the policy says that officers and other employees hired after May 1, 2004, cannot have tattoos visible while in uniform, but those hired before the date are exempt, said Cmdr. Jim Robinson.

Barnes, the Des Moines police union president, said his tattoos sometimes help with his job by providing a common ground with young people.

"They come up to me and talk to me about tattoos," the 48 year old said.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,379203,00.html
 

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A huge portion of military personnel have tattoos on their arms and the rest of their bodies and it doesn't seem to affect people's opinion of their professionalism or in the faith in their ability to do their job.

Would seem that the same standard would apply to LE.
 

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I was a Sailor, and yes I have tattoo's, but none are visable while in uniform as the policy of the Navy. I see no reason why these cops can't get tatoos as long as they are not visable in uniform. I can see content as an issue; Nazi symbols, foul language, gang symbols, Naked women, pot plants... you get the idea, are not allowed.

Also, as tatoos are a personal choice, any medical complications resulting from being tattooed falls on the officer. Cellulitus, Hepititus, MRSA, AIDS, Necrotizing Fasciitis should not be covered by medical benifits as part of employment.
 

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This is ridiculous

they are basically putting a persons self worth on a 2 dollar bottle of black ink in their skin

tattoos are just drawings, as long as they arent offensive, or on someones face there shouldnt be a problem

i have some tattoos myself that run down my arm that doesnt mean im a worthless POS not worthy of being a police officer

they will take a felon but God forbid you have tattoos
 

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Im not of a tattoo person myself but i dont mind them on people.
 

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I personally never understood tatts, but that's just me. Too many people get them with no reason or meaning other than some diluted display of originality (which given the number of people with them seems somewhat ironic).

I think it's different for those who have served... a showing of comradery or however you care to see it, but as devildoc said, those are not visible while in uniform and are not prohibited by these rules.


That being said, I still don't think any less of an officer or soldier based on what he may or may not have drawn on him/her (barring the obvious idiotic crap).
 

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raggededge said:
I personally never understood tatts, but that's just me. Too many people get them with no reason or meaning other than some diluted display of originality (which given the number of people with them seems somewhat ironic).

I think it's different for those who have served... a showing of comradery or however you care to see it, but as devildoc said, those are not visible while in uniform and are not prohibited by these rules.


That being said, I still don't think any less of an officer or soldier based on what he may or may not have drawn on him (barring the obvious idiotic crap).
i agree, i would still have the same respect to a LEO with or without tatts
 

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As long as we're not talking Rob Zombie/homeless-crack-fiend rat nest, then no.


Although I don't think sporting a Dusty Hill would make patrol any easier.
 

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Having sported a beard for the better part of the last year, I'd say beards so long as they're well kept as professional.
 

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Well on the issue of beards, I say no. It becomes a fad, and detracks from the uniform. If you allow beards the next thing you know everyone wants to be COOL and have lamb chops, or getto go-tees, or mohawk lower lip hair.....Etc....ect....

Facial hair also interfears with getting a good seal on a gas mask. Besides the last time I got into a fight with a guy that had a beard, it made a great handle to lead him to to my right fist. My 2 cents.
 

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dtheman said:
Call what you will, but I do not like the idea of my local finest having tattoos running down their arms.
It's a tattoo. I'd rather them have a tattoo and have proper discipline, and more importantly KNOW THE LAW.

How does a tattoo effect their job? It doesn't. And no, I don't have any tattoos.
 

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It's just one of those things for me, it could be super-cop and that tattoo running down his arm makes him look like a gang banger in disguise. I have nothing against tattoos if they don't show while in uniform, if they do then I really don't like them. The person's appearance should terminate his eligibility for employment, but you can't have your locals resembling bikers.
 

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dtheman said:
It's just one of those things for me, it could be super-cop and that tattoo running down his arm makes him look like a gang banger in disguise. I have nothing against tattoos if they don't show while in uniform, if they do then I really don't like them. The person's appearance should terminate his eligibility for employment, but you can't have your locals resembling bikers.
I agree with U
 

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dtheman said:
It's just one of those things for me, it could be super-cop and that tattoo running down his arm makes him look like a gang banger in disguise. I have nothing against tattoos if they don't show while in uniform, if they do then I really don't like them. The person's appearance should terminate his eligibility for employment, but you can't have your locals resembling bikers.
Then going by that train of reasoning, anyone with a shaved head has to be terminated on grounds of resembling skinheads.

Judge people by their actions, not their appearance.
 

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dtheman said:
It's just one of those things for me, it could be super-cop and that tattoo running down his arm makes him look like a gang banger in disguise. I have nothing against tattoos if they don't show while in uniform, if they do then I really don't like them. The person's appearance should terminate his eligibility for employment, but you can't have your locals resembling bikers.

Edit: Should to shouldn't in last sentence.
 
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