NC police department relaxes tattoo policy for 6 months, change could be permanent

North Carolina news

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — The New Bern Police Department is changing a long-standing policy when it comes to tattoos while in uniform. The next thing to figure out is whether the change will be permanent.

“Tattoos don’t hinder your ability to do your job because New Bern officers are still out there on the street every day protecting us, doing what’s right for us out there, serving our community,” said Andrew Cline.

Cline and many community members are showing their support for the policy change that is in a 6-month trial phase.

“Before, our policy was that employees had to cover up their tattoos while they were on duty. Now the policy has been relaxed to where officers don’t have to cover up those tattoos,” said New Bern Police Lt. Donald McInnis.

The rule has been in place for nine years. The decision came after the new Police Chief Patrick Gallagher met with all officers and got feedback on the policy.

“He polled the department just to see how they felt about the tattoo policy. He received overwhelming support from the department to relax the policy,” said McInnis.

Officers said it’s a relief as we head into the summer season.

“Officers are pleased because the hot summer months wearing long sleeve shirts when you’re in the middle of an intersection in triple-digit weather and trying to direct traffic or assisting someone if you’re going in a house that doesn’t have any air conditioning. They’re very appreciative of the relaxation of the policy,” McInnis said.

A committee is reviewing tattoos to make sure they are work-appropriate. After six months, they will then gather feedback from the committee and community to decide if this will be permanent.

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