Fla. PD loosens tattoo policy in hopes of boosting officer recruitment

The department noticed they were losing potential recruits to nearby departments with more relaxed tattoo policies

Police1 ran a poll asking readers if their agencies allowed officers to have tattoos on visible display while in uniform after an Idaho PD changed its tattoo policy to attract new recruits. Check out the results here.

By Sarah Calams

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida police department is loosening its tattoo policy in hopes of recruiting more officers after losing some potential recruits to nearby departments with more relaxed tattoo policies.

The Lakeland Police Department currently allows officers to have tattoos, but they can’t cover more than half the officer’s arm, Fox13.com reported. The new policy allows officers to have a full sleeve tattoo. However, the department will still not allow tattoos on officers’ hands, neck or fingers. Additionally, tattoos cannot feature any obscenity or political statements.

The department began to reconsider its policy after a recruiter noticed a common question among recruits: “One of the top four questions he is asked is: ‘What is your tattoo policy?’ When other agencies allow tattoos to be visible on their arms, the applicants will gravitate to those agencies,” Assistant Chief Hans Lehman said. 

The department, which currently has 15 officer vacancies, will put the new policy into effect in the coming weeks.

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