07/23/2007

Tattoos: Official blots on reputations?

By Matt Reed
USA TODAY

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Tattoos are becoming increasingly taboo for police and military personnel. A growing list of police agencies across the USA have adopted or drafted stricter policies on how much "body art" officers can show.

Last March, the U.S. Marine Corps began prohibiting sleeve tattoos that would be visible when Marines wear exercise uniforms.

"What we're seeing is a trend, with younger people coming out of the military and they're getting more tattoos," said Capt. Mark Strobridge of the Orange County Sheriff's Office, which expects to finalize a new tattoo policy after August. "We find highly qualified individuals, but their appearance is not in keeping with grooming standards for law enforcement," Strobridge says.

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