A recent decision by the Broward Sheriff’s Office to ban visible tattoos and non-traditional jewelry on deputies has renewed an age-old debate over how “professional looking” should be defined for law enforcement officers.
Members of the 5,000-strong agency learned last week that the department will soon begin enforcing the new policy, which includes ornamental dental work, like gold caps and platinum “grills” that aren’t proven medically necessary. While the fancy mouth work will have to go, visible tattoos will be judged on a case-by-case basis to determine if they’re offensive or unreasonably intimidating. Those that don’t pass muster will have to be covered up while their owners are on-duty.
Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said any uproar over the new policy is much ado about nothing and that it will only apply to excessive visible tattoos and jewelry that could potentially be yanked out by uncooperative suspects — logic used by the Miami-Dade Police Department in its “dangling jewelry” ban, a spokesman for that department said.