The New Orleans Police Department became the latest tattoo battleground when superintendent Ronal Serpas announced that all officers had to cover up all visible tattoos starting August 1st.
Serpas’s announcement adds New Orleans to a growing list of police departments, including New York, Los Angeles and Baltimore, where officers are not allowed to show visible tattoos. These policies are meant to increase the professional appearance of the officers who are representatives of their community.
However noble the intention of these policies, it could mean additional hardships for officers who have a lot of ink. Officers who have tattoos on their arms will be required to wear long-sleeve shirts at all times, and neck tattoos will have to be covered up with makeup. In the summertime, where temperatures can rise to triple digits in many cities around the country, long sleeves can make for a very uncomfortable beat.
Those considering joining the police force may want to think twice before getting inked in a visible place. Officers who already have large tattoos on their arms or neck may want to consider laser tattoo removal if they work for a department that does not allow visible tattoos.