When LaVista police officer John Danderand goes on duty his arm goes undercover. He has to cover up a tattoo on his forearm.
That’s policy at LaVista Police. It’s to prevent the public from seeing a tattoo on an officer and getting the wrong idea.
Danderand says the public might say, “Maybe this officer is the good guy that’s here to help and protect us.”
Officer Danderand says in the past tattoos were kind of bad boy thing to do.
Bellevue Police Department is the latest area agency to require officers to cover tattoos that might be offensive or intimidating.
Chief John Stacey says, “If citizens we’re going to talk to are uncomfortable they may not be forthcoming with information.”
Stacey put the policy into affect in June. Officers already on the force are exempt but future hires will need to have tattoo covers apart of their equipment.
LaVista Chief Bob Lausten says it’s also a safety issue. A tattoo can identify an officer out of uniform.
Lausten says, “We come in contact with a lot of people who don’t always like us.” A tattoo becomes an issue on and off duty.”
Several area law enforcement agencies have a policy requiring officers cover up tattoos. In some cases military insignias are allowed but some departments say all tattoos must go undercover.