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Vermont state police updates policy to allow arm tattoos

June 30, 2019

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Future Vermont state troopers will be allowed to have arm tattoos, if they cover them up.

In the past, applicants with tattoos that were visible when wearing short sleeves were not considered for employment. Under a policy update that starts Monday, such applicants would be welcomed, but if hired, they would have to cover their arms with department-issued fabric sleeves. The policy continues to prohibit tattoos on the face, neck or hands, except for commitment band tattoos on ring fingers. Tattoos that reflect “extremist, sexist or racist ideology” also remain prohibited.

Officials said they realize tattoos have become more popular and widespread.

“This updated policy recognizes this and allows the Vermont State Police to recruit and attract a wider pool of qualified applicants, from people interested in joining law enforcement for the first time to members of other agencies who wish to become a Vermont state trooper,” state police director Col. Matthew Birmingham said in a statement.

The Maine state police policy states that if tattoos are visible while wearing short sleeves, officers must wear a long-sleeved uniform and tie throughout the year. In New Hampshire, applicants are prohibited from having any tattoo that is visible outside the areas covered by “the uniform of the day or by appropriate civilian attire.” That rules out anyone with tattoos that would be exposed while wearing a short-sleeved shirt.

New Hampshire lawmakers last year rejected a bill that would have loosened the restrictions. The bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Brian Stone, of Northwood, would have applied to any state law enforcement officer, including state police, fish and game conservation officers and department of corrections officers. It would have allowed such officers to have sleeve tattoos that cover their arms, and one ring tattoo on each hand, while face and neck tattoos would have been permitted at the discretion of hiring authorities.

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