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Chicago Police Required To Cover Up Tattoos Under New Rules

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 9, 2015 3:50PM

This may be the time of year to start showing more skin, but many of Chicago's police officers are going to have to cover it up this summer. A new department directive is requiring officers to cover up any tattoos they have while at work and wear their uniform caps even in the summer.

The dress code directive now prohibits officers from wearing the lighter-weight summer detail uniform, knit caps, baseball-style caps and any clothes that allow any tattoos they may have to show. Otherwise, they'll have to cover up their tattoos with a bandage.

"Tattoos and body brandings will not be visible while on duty or representing the Department, whether in uniform, conservative business attire or casual dress," the directive reads. "Members with tattoos or body brandings on their hands, face, neck or other area not covered by a long-sleeve shirt, long pants or appropriate attire will cover them with a matching skin tone adhesive bandage or tattoo cover up tape."

The order, issued Monday, will go into effect Friday, June 12. In a statement, a police spokesperson said the dress code specifications were adopted to make it easier for people to identify police officers, and "to promote uniformity and professionalism."

With tattoos in the workplace becoming more widespread and accepted, we're surprised by the department's change of pace. While the silver lining in being arrested by a cop with an ill-advised neck tattoo would not be lost on us, this rule seems both unnecessarily antiquated and even a bit dehumanizing. Why not remind the public that cops sometimes get cliched tattoos of the Chicago flag, their favorite animals and their sisters' names, just like us? (Editor's Note: Does Superintendent Garry Mccarthy have an unfortunate dolphin and tribal design lower back tattoo from Spring Break '86 we don't know about and seeing tattoos bring up painful memories for him? One can only hope this is the case.)