By WKYT News Staff
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The Lexington police department has announced it is now allowing officers to have visible tattoos.
The police department announced changes in policies Tuesday after the Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge 4 has announced the department may be taking steps toward relaxing its ban on tattoos.
“These policy changes have been considered for quite some time as societal views on tattoos have changed over the years,” police chief Lawrence Weathers said. “I think police employees will be pleased with this updated policy, and I hope the community will be able to see officers as regular people and not just someone in a uniform. With this change, we also anticipate an increase in our police applicant pool.”
Lexington police say the policies are now in place and went into effect last week. The FOP lodge said the police department posted an initial policy draft for consideration for negotiation.
FOP Lodge 4 president Jason Rothermund said this is a worthwhile change because the public perception of tattoos has changed over the years, and he commends police chief Lawrence Weathers for introducing the proposed changes.
“Over the past several years, the FOP has solicited the input from community stakeholders, including the NAACP, to increase diversity of our employees,” Rothermund said in a news release. “Time and again, the tattoo policy and the automatic disqualification of a minority applicant has been one serious impediment.”
Tattoos may not be visible when the officer is on duty, in uniform or while operating a department owned vehicle unless approved by the chief or his designee. Prohibited tattoos would include any intolerant, derogatory or offensive language or imagery. Tattoos may not be shown on the hands, neck or above the neck. One exception is if a ring tattoo is around the base of one finger, as long as the chief approves it.
Below is the final version of the policy effective Mar. 18, 2019 which shows the revisions in the tattoo policy. The FOP said it will continue negotiations with the police department on the policy.
Lexington police announced the tattoo policy changes went into effect last week. A previous version of this story stated the policy changes were still under review, according to the FOP.