Arm tattoos no longer taboo for Pa. troopers, cadets

Troopers and cadets can have tattoos on their forearms and biceps, but they must be concealed by a long-sleeved shirt when on duty


Jan Murphy
The Patriot-News

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police troopers and prospective cadets can now have tattoos on their forearms and biceps but they have to be concealed by a long-sleeved shirt when on duty.

Colonel Robert Evanchick, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, announced this revision to the department’s policy on Wednesday and said it was effective immediately.

Pennsylvania State Police has changed its uniform policy to allow troopers and cadets to have arm tattoos, though they must be covered by long-sleeved shirts while on duty (Photo/TNS)
Pennsylvania State Police has changed its uniform policy to allow troopers and cadets to have arm tattoos, though they must be covered by long-sleeved shirts while on duty (Photo/TNS)

“The policy change is a reflection of internal and external feedback and the evolving public perception regarding tattoos and other body modifications,” Evanchick said. “We want to recruit the most qualified candidates available. Department leadership recognized we were potentially missing out on a larger group of applicants because of our restrictive policy and after careful consideration, we revised it accordingly.”

Previously, prospective cadets were not permitted to have tattoos or brandings visible to the public when wearing the summer uniform short-sleeved shirt.

The policy specifies that tattoos depicting words, pictures, or symbols that can be interpreted as advocating, promoting, or supporting racial, gender, or ethnic hatred or intolerance are not permitted. It also prohibits ones that appear to be discriminatory toward any race, national origin, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Evanchick said tattoos deemed detrimental to the state police’s mission and function will remain prohibited.

A screening committee will review prospective cadets with tattoos prior to their appointment to the academy as part of the hiring process.

This change in the tattoo policy comes with a catch that could make working on hot summer days a bit more uncomfortable.

Troopers, whether tattooed or not, now have the option of wearing the department-issued long-sleeved uniform shirt year-round. But those with tattoos that would be visible when wearing the short-sleeved summer uniform shirt are required to wear the long-sleeved uniform shirt. No tattoo is allowed to be visible below the wrist line or above the neckline.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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