Phoenix Is Latest City to Restrict Tattoos for Its Police Officers


Many police departments across the country have adopted tattoo restrictions for officers in recent years, and the courts have upheld those rules as reasonable. But in Phoenix, the remedy offered to officers with sprawling tattoos — cover them up — is being called impractical because of the intense Arizona heat, reports the New York Times. “It's hot out there,” said Mark Spencer, the president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, which is challenging the new policy. “Imagine having to wear long sleeves along with body armor, a gun belt and having to get in and out of a police car 50 times every day.”

No survey was undertaken to determine how many of the Phoenix Police Department's 1,187 patrol officers are tattooed. But officials said despite the ubiquity of tattoos on ankles, lower backs, shoulders and other parts of the body, they are still regarded by many as more in line with people who break the law than those who enforce it. “We're not saying a person with a tattoo is bad,” said Sgt. Tommy Thompson, the tattoo-less spokesman for the department. “We just want to project a professional image. We don't want to give anyone any reason to distrust us.”

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