The next time you see a Dallas police officer wearing a long-sleeved shirt when it’s hotter than a furnace outside, it may be because he or she is hiding a tattoo, says the Dallas Morning News. Officers will be required to cover up their tattoos, even if it means wearing makeup or a skin-colored patch over a hard-to-obscure place such as the neck or wrist. A spokesman said the department wants officers “to display a more professional image.” The previous policy largely left it up to individual commander to decide whether an officer needed to cover tattoos.
Some other cities require officers to cover tattoos, including Los Angeles and Houston, though they typically exempt officers working undercover. Officer Nick Novello has four tattoos on his arms, including an American Indian on his right forearm that was there when he was hired in 1982. He believes the department should consider grandfathering in current officers and thinks it’s a mistake to have an across-the-board policy. “If I got hired in 1982 and had that tattoo on my forearm, how can you expect me to cover my tattoo up in 2009?” Novello asked. “If you have to cover up your arms, they’re going to have a lot of problems staying hydrated. You put a guy in long sleeves and he’s not going out of the car unless it’s an absolute emergency” during the hot summer months.