Visible Ink for Police, No Problem (Tattoos)

Only in the PNW (today, just wait for the rest of the country),

Seeking to expand the Portland [OR} Police Bureau’s applicant pool, Chief Rosie Sizer said Monday that she favors relaxing the department’s ban on visible tattoos. “I’m interested in changing our policy, realizing that young people adorn themselves in ways we generally didn’t do when I was 21,” Sizer said, addressing the Chief’s Forum.

Sizer said she hasn’t written or adopted a new policy yet but intends to, making her the second chief to relax the bureau’s grooming standards since former Chief Mark Kroeker adopted stricter standards in 2000. Kroeker drew criticism that he was “out of touch” with Portland when he drafted a general order banning beards, long sideburns, ponytails or braids, earrings and any pins, ribbons or stickers on uniforms….

Police in Gresham [OR], and Madison, Wis., for example, can’t have visible tattoos on their ears, head, face or neck. In Madison, if a tattoo is deemed unsightly or offensive, it must be covered. Phoenix police allow tattoos on officers’ arms and hands as long as they’re not offensive or unprofessional. Sizer said that though she intends to relax the department’s ban on visible tattoos, she expects to restrict any that are racist or sexist.

Despite being a Navy vet, I have no tattoos, another stereotype bashed, unless you count the tiger on my behind (not — but I’m referring to a well known WW II Navy vet who reportedly sports such a tattoo, really, who cares, but it was a big press scoop). I don’t mind tattoos on the arms for Police, or maybe the back of the neck, but I still wonder about the message sent by facial tattoos and hand tattoos (many of which have gang meanings, such as tears), or those across the throat (usually unreadable writing). If I saw someone with Maori facial tattoos pulling me over, I would doubt they were legit

Next earrings, and ear hoops, and ear incisions, and dogs and cats living together. I’ve now been based in the PNW for a year from DC, and see what matters in DC isn’t even on the register here. Coffee matters.

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Richard Gardner
About Richard Gardner
Richard Gardner is a “retired” Navy Submarine Officer with military policy, arms control, and budgeting experience. He contributed over 100 pieces to OTB between January 2004 and August 2008, covering special events. He has a BS in Engineering from the University of California, Irvine.