Chandler police policy forces staff to cover up tattoos

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By Jayson Chesler By Jayson Chesler

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- A new Chandler Police Department policy says that every member of the department, including civilian members, may not have any tattoos visible while on the job.

Detective Seth Tyler said that the policy change is about making the correct first impression. Tyler said that the way people see the police officers they are interacting with is vital in serving the community.

"Image is everything," Tyler said. "Those first impressions that we have with citizens, the people we contact, it is so important to get that professional, positive image right from the get-go."

No matter the size of the tattoo, it must be covered while working. Some staff members can just wear long sleeves to cover their ink, but others must use creative means like bandages and arm bands based on their tattoo placement.

AZ Ink's Tattoo Jay has been tattooing people for more than 15 years, but he said that the police department is right to change their policy if they think it will help the department. Jay said that tattooing is becoming more and more common in mainstream culture.

"From judges to lawyers to police officers and military, you name it and people are getting tattooed," Jay said.

However, that increase in popularity has not always meant an increase in acceptance in job fields. Many tattoo-shop customers are very concerned about getting their tattoos placed in inconspicuous areas, according to Jay.

"There is a big concern, still, in where to put your tattoos," Jay said. "I didn't have all of these tattoos until I knew that I was going to be a tattoo artist for the rest of my life."

The new policy comes after the U.S. Army announced that they would turn away recruits with too many tattoos.