Chandler police chief draws a hard line against visible tattoos

Chandler police chief draws a hard line against visible tattoos

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Chandler police chief draws a hard line against visible tattoos

chandler police department One place you won’t see tattoos is on the neck, face, arms or hands of a Chandler police officer.(Photo: Courtesy of Chandler Police Department)

It’s not hard to find tattoos on people these days, but one place you won’t see them is on the neck, face, arms or hands of a Chandler police officer.

Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said he wasn’t attempting to push back against cultural trends, or follow the lead of the U.S. Army, when he toughened the department’s policy on tattoos. Chandler’s tougher policy, which went into effect May 1, no longer allows officers to display visible tattoos while on duty. It eliminated a grandfather clause that allowed officers hired before November 2008 to display non-offensive tattoos.

Duggan is adamant that he wants his officers to look neat and professional, and that he is setting a standard that reflects his department’s culture. Officers who have tattoos on their arms must wear long-sleeve shirts. A couple of officers with tattoos on their fingers must cover them with Band-Aids.

"Policing is an honorable profession. It requires a standard of behavior based on trust and respect,” Duggan said. "It starts with the way we look, what we say and how we say it.”

A more restrictive policy adopted by the U.S. Army on March 31 bars tattoos on a soldier’s head, face, neck, wrists, hands and fingers. By late June, Army recruiting stations in Phoenix reported they were turning away nearly 30 prospective enlistees a week because of the new restrictions.

The Army’s policy is still less restrictive than Chandler police’s policy, however, because it still allows a limited number of tattoos on the arms and legs.

Applicants for jobs as officers in Chandler are told about the policy up front and must decide whether the Chandler police culture appeals to them, Duggan said.

"I believe having someone in a tailored, pressed uniform with no tattoos is the appearance I prefer,” he said.Valley police departments have a wide […]