When I asked this PAPD officer if he had ever been arrested he had that quizzical look upon his face. I thought it was an appropriate question given the fact that many notorious “gang” members bare the marking of their trade.
When I questioned him further he said it was for “religious” reasons. Okay, I can except that besides in reality it’s an expression of one’s First Amendment right.
Artistic expression comes to my mind. Well I decided to do a little digging not far, I Googled like the most of us and found that the notorious “El Sereno gang” makes use of a similar marking.
I’m not sure of the appropriateness of displaying Tattoos only because of their gang related links or ties.
There’s something to be said about the proper attire of law enforcement officials given ones place in our community. Does it send the wrong message? Some would argue a resounding no!!
Well consider this. Would we question or say anything if President Obama had the US Constitution tattooed on his chest as he uncovered it all during a national news conference?
I think there’s a time and place for tattoos. But certain tattoos are just too close to gang related activities.
A Nazi lightning bolt on your neck or a swastika on your forehead for some, is a sure giveaway when picking someone out of a police line up.
Well I spotted this officer or gang member right off. And I think for anyone this would have been the logical choice.
I tried to interview Ray Bacchetti – HRC (City of Palo Alto Human Relations Committee) and police volunteer for comment. He stated the following:
I recall years ago I complained about the conduct of a certain officer Dan Ryan to another officer and she responded by saying, well that maybe true, but I can’t speak out against the PAPD “Brotherhood”.
That being said, what do our surrounding policing agency’s have to say on the subject of Tattoos and police officers? Just Google!
CITY OF EAST PALO ALTO RONALD L.DAVIS
POLICE DEPARTMENT CHIEF OF POLICE
141 Demeter Street (650) 853-3125
East Palo Alto, CA 94303 firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Department to Publish Operating Policies Online
“No Visible Tattoo Policy First on Website”
July 27 – Effective August 1, 2007, the East Palo Alto Police Department will publish its operating policies online for public view and access.
By providing unfettered access to policies that govern officers’ actions, the Department
will enhance its professionalism and be more open, accessible and accountable to the
“I believe this information will assist the community to better evaluate the
Department, understand the legal actions of officers, and identify actions that are
not in accordance with established policies”, according to Chief Davis.
The Department will start the program by posting a new policy that prohibits officers
from visibly displaying tattoos and body art while in uniform. Future postings include a
policy that governs the Department’s acceptance, processing and investigation of citizen
complaints, and a policy that prohibits racial profiling and requires data collection for all
stops made by officers.
The Department recently had all of its policies reviewed and updated by a legal expert.
These policies are under final review by the Chief of Police and will be posted on the
website after they have been finalized and published.
CITY OF EAST PALO ALTO
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Subject: Tattoos and Body Art Prohibition for Employees
Signature of Issuing Authority: Chief Ronald L. Davis
Body Art and Tattoo Prohibition for Employees
It is the policy of the East Palo Alto Police Department that all uniformed employees and explorers maintain the highest standards of professional appearance when interacting with the public and representing the Department.
I. CORE VALUES
Maintaining a professional appearance is critically important to fostering public trust and confidence in law enforcement, and to exceeding the standards of the profession.
This order incorporates the Department’s core values of Service, Teamwork, Respect, Integrity, Vision, and Excellence (STRIVE).
II. GENERAL POLICY
A. All uniformed employees and explorers are prohibited from displaying any body art,
tattoo(s), intentional scarring, mutilation, or dental ornamentation while on duty or
representing the department in any official capacity.
B. Any currently employed uniformed employee and explorer with existing body art,
tattoo(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation that is visible shall have the following
1. Uniformed employee shall cover existing body art, tattoo(s), intentional
scarring, or mutilation by wearing the long-sleeve shirt and/or uniform
2. Cover the existing body art, tattoo(s), intentional scarring, or mutilation with a skin tone patch or make-up.
3. Have the tattoo(s) or brand(s) removed at the employee’s expense.
C. Body art, tattoo(s), brand(s), intentional scarring, and/or mutilation that is not able to be covered or concealed is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to; foreign
No. of Pages: 2
Effective Date: 1 Aug 07
Date Revised: N/A
objects inserted under the skin, pierced, split or forked tongue, and/or stretched out
holes in the ears.
D. Uniformed employees and explorers shall not have any dental ornamentation. The
use of gold, platinum, silver, or other veneer caps for the purposes of ornamentation
are prohibited. Teeth, whether natural, capped, or veneered, shall not be ornamented
with designs, jewels, initials, etc.
By order of
Ronald L. Davis
Chief of Police
EAST PALO ALTO / Chief draws plan to destroy gang / FBI among agencies joining fight to stem longtime problem
Davis is also seeking help from state parole officials. He wants restrictions on paroled gang members’ movements in the city, a requirement that paroled members have their gang-related tattoos removed, and mandatory community service for parolees.
The question is, should police officers also have there “gang” related tats removed?