The Atascadero Police Department is tweaking its policy regarding police officers with tattoos in an effort to be “progressive and keep pace with our culture,” police Chief Jerel Haley said in a news release Friday.
“Tattoos have become such a large part of today’s society,” Haley said.
So the department is temporarily modifying its tattoo policy, which previously banned police officers from having any tattoos visible while in uniform, to allow certain kinds of ink.
The move comes in response to a request several months ago from a local police officer who had tattoos above his wrist and on his arm.
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Following the request, Haley reviewed his department’s tattoo policy and sought input from the Atascadero City Council, city manager Rachelle Rickard and other chiefs of police from across California.
A trial period for the new, temporary tattoo policy will be held from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1.
“This trial period will be used to determine if a permanent modification to the tattoo policy is warranted and viable,” Haley said in a police department memo. “Tremendous weight will be given to the public input our department receives during this process.”
The temporary policy will limit the types of tattoos officers will be allowed to display in uniform.
Any tattoos that are considered offensive or located on the face, neck, hands or ear area will not be permitted.
Once the trial period ends, the police department will determine whether to maintain the new policy or revert to the old one.
“The public will have a big part of the deciding vote on whether we implement this new policy on a permanent basis or not,” Haley said.
The Atascadero Police Department will give people a chance to respond on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/AtascaderoPolice.