BARTOW – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office wants to make it easier for people with tattoos to work for the agency. It will now hire people with forearm tattoos.
The sheriff’s office allows workers to have body art. In fact, Sheriff Grady Judd believes that up to half of his deputies have tattoos. But the tattoos can’t be visible while in uniform.
Judd said that’s because many people are still offended by tattoos or scared of people who have them. So not allowing visible tattoos is a way of presenting a professional image to the public.
However, the standard-issue sheriff’s uniform has short sleeves. Judd said his commanders are telling him they were losing out on a lot of potential employees as a result of the tattoo policy.
So now, deputies will be able to wear a special long-sleeved shirt under their uniforms to cover up forearm tattoos.
“So it’s a very difficult situation,” Judd said. “But I can promise you this: We don’t want to lose those wonderful folks that have body art. We want to encourage them to work with us.”
Judd said he could envision a day when tattoos become even more acceptable and the sheriff’s office might allow visible tattoos. But he said the tattoos couldn’t be offensive in nature.