Recognizing the Need to Allow Tattoos within Law Enforcement Agencies




Seale, Michael

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


As the public perception of law enforcement is questioned, it becomes more difficult to hire and retain quality applicants. Current trends in tattoos or body art are something that law enforcement agencies are going to have to deal with if they have not already. When agencies have policies that prohibit tattoos, agencies lose out on quality applicants and veteran officers. Every agency knows the struggle to hire and maintain current levels of staffing. It makes it even harder when agencies cannot find quality applicants who must meet minimum standards set by the governing agencies. If agencies add restrictive and outdated ideas within policy, agencies are limiting themselves when it comes to hiring and retaining good officers. The research shows that the ideas about tattoos are changing. The negative association with tattoos, while still there, are not as prevalent as it used to be (Shannon-Missal, 2016). The current generations who are hired and will be hired make up the vast majority of the population who are tattooed (Shannon-Missal, 2016). Keeping those things in mind, agencies should develop policies that will allow applicants and current officers to have tattoos.



Police-- selection and appointment, Tattooing -- social aspects