To address a manpower shortage, the Kansas Highway Patrol is examining its policy against many tattoos and asking the public whether it should be changed.
“We are down approximately 80 to 100 troopers from where we were 10 years ago,” said Trooper Candice Breshears, a public resource officer for Troop A of the Kansas Highway Patrol.
“To increase our recruiting efforts, we’re trying to look at different aspects within our agency to see what we can do to get our numbers back up.”
Currently, the Highway Patrol disqualifies candidates from applying for having any offensive tattoo, scarification or brand anywhere on the body. (Scarification involves scratching or otherwise cutting designs into skin.)
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The patrol also disqualifies candidates for having markings that are visible while wearing a uniform or required work attire. Basically, that means any visible markings when wearing a short-sleeve, V-neck shirt.
“So anywhere below the bicep on the arms, hands and face, those areas are all restricted,” Breshears said. “We are just trying to see what the public’s perception is of tattoos on law enforcement officers.”
The Highway Patrol has an online survey asking the public’s thoughts on tattoos, including whether it should continue to prohibit any visible tattoos.
The survey also asks that if visible tattoos are allowed, should any be prohibited because they contain nudity, profane language, faith or religious base, wedding band and medical information, as well as whether civilian employees should follow the same policy.
To take the survey, click here.
“We want as many people to take the survey and give input as we can possible get,” Breshears said.