The Orange County Sheriff’s office announced a change to their tattoo policy, to allow qualified candidates to apply who were previously ineligible due to visible tattoos.
It’s no secret. Visible tattoos, while becoming increasingly more socially acceptable, can create obstacles for applicants in a still shaky job market.
In some cases, strict professional body-art policies can even close doors for otherwise qualified candidates seeking new careers. That used to be the case for applicants at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Until last week, OCSO had a ban on "excessive" visible tattoos, which its old policy described as "any tattoo or combination of tattoos on the arm or leg that cannot be completely covered by one three-by-five [inch] rectangle."
The new policy which was announced Wednesday does away with the size limitations and simply requires that large tattoos be covered by a deputy’s uniform.
"We recognize that in today’s norms, there are a number of individuals who do have tattoos and that it’s something that is acceptable in the community," said Capt. Angelo Nieves, OCSO spokesman. "But we also want to maintain our professionalism as well. We believe the new tattoo policy accomplishes that."
Although the new policy still bans tattoos below the wrist and above the collar, Nieves says the well-qualified applicants who may have been overlooked — mainly former military officers — now stand a chance.
According to Jeff Glotz, the director of public safety at Valencia College , the move by the Sheriff’s Office will likely be followed by other agencies in the future.
"They know they have to [be less restrictive] at this point," Glotz said, who heads Valencia’s law-enforcement training program. "They don’t want to miss those good qualified applicants."Valencia College’s Criminal Justice Institute trains future deputies and officers for many of Central Florida’s law-enforcement agencies. Although most of the agencies have policies against visible tattoos, the school still admits students who may violate those policies."We’re up front about it," Glotz said. "We discuss tattoos with our applicants […]