San Antonio Police Department Bans Visible Tattoos

Dawn Papple

The San Antonio Police Department has banned visible tattoos beginning this month. Officers with existing tattoos must either cover them up or pay to have them removed. Officials from the San Antonio Police Department say the new ban on visible tattoos is part of a greater effort to appear more professional to the residents that they serve.

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Police officers on the San Antonio force are allowed to have tattoos on their arms, but they must cover them up with sleeves, even during the heat of the San Antonio summer. Any police officers who have tattoos on their necks or hands will be required to spend the money themselves to get the tattoos professionally removed. Tattoo removal can be an extensive process depending on the size, shape and color of the tattoo to be removed.

"The laser removes tattoos by treating the pigment colors selectively using a strong laser beam. The beauty of this treatment is that there is no downtime and few unpleasant side effects. The amount of time and cost to completely remove the tattoo varies for many reasons," White Pearl Medical Spa, in San Antonio, explained of the tattoo removal service the company offers. "Our Q-Switch laser technology works by delivering light at incredibly high energy for a tiny fraction of a second onto the skin. This selectively breaks up large molecules, such as tattoo pigments, and causes very little damage to surrounding tissues."

Officials from San Antonio Police Department believe that the new ban on visible tattoos will affect about 200 of the officers on the force, according to KXAN News. San Antonio isn't the first Texas department to ban visible tattoos. Police departments in Dallas and Houston already had policies of their own.

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"Unfortunately, it is difficult to predict exactly how many treatments it will take to work. To see complete results, it could take as little as 3 treatments for an amateur tattoo or as many as 5 to 8 treatments for a professionally applied tattoo," Medermis, another San Antonio laser tattoo removal facility, explained. "Certain pigments are easier to remove, with florescent colors being the least responsive to treatment. The type of ink used may also affect the results, since some inks create a paradoxical reaction, causing the skin to become darker instead of lighter. Our staff can advise you on what to expect based on your particular tattoo."

Treatments for laser tattoo removal should be spaced approximately four to eight weeks apart. After each treatment, the affected San Antonio police officers can expect reddened skin that feels like a sunburn that will last less than a day. Some colors within tattoos, like red, may cause blisters as they are removed from the skin that could take up to a week to heal. If blisters develop, the tattooed officers at the San Antonio Police Department should take extra precautions to avoid infections in the treated skin.

What do you think of the new tattoo policy at the San Antonio Police Department?

[Photo via the SAPD]