A new department directive forbids Chicago police officers from displaying tattoos or body brandings while they are “on duty or representing the department.”
The directive requires that all tattoos not covered with clothing to be hidden with “matching skin tone adhesive bandages or tattoo cover-up tape.” The new dress code also prohibits Chicago police officers from wearing baseball or knit caps.
According to the Chicago Tribune, a statement issued by the police department claims that the new policy was created in order “to promote uniformity and professionalism. Too many uniform variations became available, making Chicago police officers less immediately identifiable to the public.”
However, the new rules may not apply to undercover police officers. The directive states, “Members assigned to covert dress will adhere to standards approved by their bureau chief.”
The department’s change of pace is surprising, according to the Chicagoist.com, as the public has gradually accepted tattoos both in and out of the workplace.
As reported by DNA info, Police blog Second City Cop disapproved of the new directive, publishing a post that said, “56 shot – 12 fatally – over Memorial Day weekend…Change the uniform order.”
The blog was not the only source of opposition. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, The Fraternal Order of Police promised to oppose the directive. Dean C. Angelo, the union president, said that the new dress code was a “mandatory subject of bargaining.”
There are a few exceptions that are allowed by the new policy to accommodate for the weather. The policy does allow for a “nylon mesh cap” to be worn in the summer. When the temperature is below 40 degrees, it allows a “trooper cap” to be worn. Trimmed mustaches are still permitted.
The complete text of directive U04-01 can be found on the official website of the Chicago Police Department.