Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Keeping ‘em covered; will we have more hot, sweaty cops during summer?

Why do I suspect we’re going to see a lot more police officers in long-sleeved shirts while on duty, regardless of how hot the temperatures become.

This is my reaction to learning of the fact that the Chicago Police Department is implementing a new policy this week concerning tattoos.

SPECIALLY, OFFICERS ON duty aren’t allowed to show off any tattoos they might have.

They’re not going to be forced to have them removed. But they’re going to have to cover them up. Either with their uniforms, or with matching skin tone adhesive bandages or tattoo cover-up tape.

The order, according to the Chicago Tribune, was issued Monday, and takes effect Friday. No official explanation was given, but considering that it also makes mention of “conservative business attire” I suspect that someone in the higher ranks thinks of tattoos as being unprofessional in appearance.

Perhaps they’re considered a bit thuggish. Almost as though tattoos ought to be on the people who get arrested by police, rather than by the law enforcement officers themselves.

I’LL HAVE TO admit that I find it a bit off-putting to see police officers with tattoos poking below their short-sleeve uniform shirts. It seems to go against the image that police try to create for themselves of a unified force of people.

Which may be why the top brass with the Chicago P.D. would want such a policy. Either that, or require all officers to have identical tattoos. That would probably create a bigger rebellion than the notion of having to cover up one’s tattoos.

Although I’ll also admit that the most heavily-tattooed police officers I have ever seen have been with certain suburban police departments.

And those officers won’t be impacted by this new policy. Perhaps it means that the Chicago officers who have a problem covering up their tattoos can go get jobs in those surrounding municipalities, where the need for qualified cops overrides a concern about appearance.
Let's hope Mayor Rahm never feels compelled
SO WHAT SHOULD we think about this new policy? Which also has a provision for headgear – no stocking caps or ball caps, even if they bear the Chicago Police Department logo. Be honest, a ball cap on anything other than a ballplayer during a game does look ridiculous. Think New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in that recent photo from a charity ballgame in New York photo.

I’m sure some people are going to rant and rage about how this policy hits at what little individuality an officer might try to express. They also will complain about how monitoring an officer’s cap or tattoos does nothing to make them behave more professionally while on the job.

In fact, there already is (anonymous, of course) Internet commentary saying that officials ought to be more concerned about police brutality than about officer tattoos.

Although I’m not convinced about the latter. There are some people who manage to make it through the police hiring process even though they have character flaws that make it likely they will use their law enforcement authority poorly. Some of society’s bullies wind up becoming cops – just like some wind up becoming crooks.

WHILE OTHERS WHO get into law enforcement are those who have some noble aspects of their character and use police powers to benefit our society. I’m sure that some of those people, particularly amongst the younger types who now are of age to apply for police positions, are tattooed.

So perhaps this is an issue that needs to be addressed, even though some people who want to complain about everything will now choose to rant and rage about this.

Such a policy may be needed because of the prevalence of younger people who felt compelled to get something drawn on their bodies in their youth (or the youth-like years that they’re refusing to give up on).

And as for those people who managed to get something put on their face? Perhaps those cops will have to go around with cover-up bandages, forevermore telling people that they “cut myself shaving” that morning.


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