Methuen Police Consider Lifting Ban on Visible Tattoos for Officers

A Massachusetts police department is considering a change to its tattoo policy.

Many people like showing off their tattoos. But a policy at the Methuen Police Department bans visible tattoos on the job, forcing officers like Jeffrey Brouck to cover up their ink.

"I've had them for a number of years," Brouck said. "It's stuff that's kind of meaningful to me."

He keeps his tattoos covered even in the summer.

But after years of resisting pleas to lift tattoo restrictions, Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon is now considering it.

"You have to be open-minded, and sometimes, we have that thought of, 'This is the police, this is the way you're supposed to look," Solomon said.

In a survey released last week on the department's social media pages to gauge public opinion, more than 80% so far are in favor of letting officers show off their tats.

"Personally, I don't feel there's any problem with tattoos," said Manuel DaCosta.

Tattooed Metheun police officers are among three in 10 Americans who have one, which is up from two in 10 four years ago, according to a Harris poll.

"Growing up, I've always been huge into comic books, and I just kind of decided to transfer that to my arm," said officer Joseph Alaimo.

Additionally, 47% of millennials have at least one tattoo. That number represents potentially a lot of police recruits.

Even Solomon has a tattoo of an arm band.

"I like the colors," he said. "I like the design."

Over two decades ago, Solomon got his tattoo done by Jamey Proctor, who owns Shogun Tattoo in Salem, New Hampshire.

Proctor knows a lot about tattooing police officers.

"A few of the police officers had half sleeves," he said. "I actually had to stop because they don't want to go any further and lose their job over it."

If the Methuen Police Department's ban is lifted, Proctor will probably be doing a lot more officers' tattoos.

"I don't think it's going to affect the way that your job gets done," Brouck said.

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