It is not a simple task to become a police officer, but it may become slightly easier. The police are considering easing up on grooming standards, possibly making it acceptable for officers to sport beards, tattoos, and turbans in the line of duty as they are seeking more diversity in the police force, Fox News reports.
Police departments are seeking a more diverse applicant pool, thus making them consider eliminating some of the strict grooming rules. Currently, most departments require their officers to not have any visible tattoos, and to have hair and beards clean-shaven.
While this has been acceptable for many years, more people of today’s society have visible tattoos, beards, and some wear turbans. In order for the departments to ease the hiring crisis, they may change these rules to allow for a more diverse range of applicants.
Mandeep Singh, who is with the New York Police Department, is among the many Sikhs who were allowed to wear his turban for the first time since he entered the police force.
“My turban is a part of me. This opens a gate for other potential candidates who felt they could not be a police officer because they would have to choose either the job or their faith.”
WCTV reports that Muslim New York Police Officer Masood Syed had previously held a lawsuit against the New York Police Department for suspending him for not trimming his beard, which he grew as part of his religious beliefs. Prior to this act changing the beard policy, the department did not accept a beard more than one millimeter from the skin. The policy now allows beards to be a half-inch long.
Syed’s case is still pending, and he believes that each department should look at these sort of rules on a case to case basis, based on each officer’s needs.
“It’s 2017. The police department is supposed to reflect the community that it’s policing.”
That policy change brought additional changes for a department in Minnesota. The department’s first Somali Muslim officer was allowed to wear a hijab created especially for her.
The police force is a tough career field to fill in today’s society due to how physically demanding it is, how low the pay is, and the scrutiny that comes along with being a police officer.
Some cities have stuck to their old-fashioned rules on tattoos, meaning they look the opposite direction if they see a recruit with visible tattoos. Among those cities are Portland, Oregon; New Orleans, Pinellas Park, Florida; and Austin, Texas.
The Kansas State Police conducted a survey among 20,000 people, trying to determine whether or not they should change the tattoo policy. What they found out was very surprising to them, especially Lt. Adam Winters. Nearly 70 percent of respondents stated that the police force should NOT have rules against tattoos.
“We were surprised by the response. It just doesn’t seem to bother people.”
At this point, the department has not changed its policy against tattoos, mainly due to the fact that some tattoos are offensive to some.
The Philadelphia Police Department is among the cities looking to tighten their tattoo policy after photos surfaced of an officer sporting a Nazi symbol tattoo on his forearm.
Some prior military officers in Chicago filed a lawsuit because they refused to cover their tattoos with long sleeves during a midsummer heat wave. The judge, however, threw the lawsuit out, stating that it would be too difficult to determine what may or may not be offensive, and ordered them to continue covering their visible tattoos with long sleeves while serving in the line of duty.
How do you feel about these new potential changes in the police force?
[Featured Image by Frank Franklin II/AP Images]