Tattooed Motorcycle Police

Blair sends in this picture taken at the war protest in Washington DC two days ago, saying “I just thought it was interesting to see someone with full sleeves who isn’t a protester”. It’s certainly not unusual to see tattooed cops (juristictions attempting to bar the practice for their officers notwithstanding), but this guy definitely has some nice heavy work — and with it on his hands and neck, surprisingly public as well. I have to wonder if it’s made it easier or harder to do his job, both because of how the public responds to tattoos, and because of how the administration would.

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Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

6 thoughts on “Tattooed Motorcycle Police

  1. I think that its sweet to see a police officer with sleeves. As a future police officer i think its awesome to see tattoo exposure in the public.

  2. Hi, I am an artist doing a research project involving the participation with tatooed police officers and military and soldiers from all around the world. For this project, I already worked this year with one airborne from Canadian Forces and one cop from a city in Quebec, Canada. Next year, I will go to the Philippines and Thailand (where a lot of police officers are tatooed) to work with more participants. I got support from Quebec and Canada art council for this project so I can travel to meet the participants. I am looking to contact this police officer or to get in touch with any tatooed police officer who could be interested to participate in a video project. Anybody knows who he is? Thanks, Éric Létourneau

  3. As a former police officer and a tattooed man, I agree with police departments to restrict most body art. Let’s face it, when men have lots of tattoos, especially full sleeves, there is an assumption that they are tough or rowdy, whether they are or are not. That’s just the perception like it or not, and not the perception which the police want to portray these days. Not to mention the type of tattoo which may be offensive to many people like naked women, skulls, etc. Those are common tattoos and are offensive to many people. If a private employer can bar you from employment because he doesn’t want his local sales rep to have a naked woman spreading her legs on his arm or a skull on his neck then why can’t police departments exercise the same judgment. Of course, we’re not talking about minor or hidden tattoos under ones clothing but it’s Pandora’s box; if you allow cops to have full sleeve tattoos, can you regulate the content? No. Of course not. That’s the problem. In the unfortunate event that your daughter is molested by the neighbor do you want her interviewed by the cop with the large breasted mud flap girl on his forearm or profane sayings on his forehead or wrists? I know that’s an extreme example but you do really think that all cops across the country will use good judgment if the administration can no longer regulate their appearance? Come on people sometimes things just need to pass the common sense test. Not everyone need to have the right to do whatever they want, whenever they want. We still need to be professional, don’t we? If you want tattoos from head to foot, don’t plan on being a cop or an employer’s local sales rep. You made your bed, sleep in it.

  4. This goes out to you Tom. I am an 18 year veteran of a fairly large police department in so cal. I am assigned to the most prestigious investigative unit in our department and have been so for over 8 years. I am fully sleeved and have tats throughout most of my body. My department has a fairly new policy barring visible tattoos, which I am OK with. I do not have to comply with the policy since I have been grandfathered in but I choose to comply. I have found that my tats tend to interfere with my job but not in a negative way. Most people I speak with merely want to talk tattoos out of curiosity. I gotta tell you Tom, I don’t agree with your outdated and old fashioned opinion on tattooed cops and their ability to perform their duties in a professional manner. I know you did not use these exact words but that is the message you are sending out to the rest of the world. Now my fellow bro in blue I gotta slam you. I’m glad you’re no longer on the job with that kind of attitude. You are the type of cop to profile people for how they look instead of playing fair and catching them dirty. A good and sharp inner city street cop recognizes a real crook and doesn’t have to rely on National Geographic’s Taboo show for tattoo expertise. I don’t want to make this into a personal jab toward you, but I’m pretty certain you only have two tribal bands for tats. Hey if I’m wrong about this please accept my apologies. Alright man I’ll step down from my soap box.

  5. I am the officer in the picture. A friend of mine let me know this was here! I had no idea! So you know, Tom, before judgement is passed on tattoos and your police experience (however many years that may be), as we officers all know, you cannot base your opinion on what you think you see. For instance, my left arm, which is sleeved out, contains a religious scene which is the hourglass of time with the gates of hell at the bottom and the gates of heaven at the top. The banner reads “Make a change before time runs out.” People on the street often question me on the meaning of that and I gladly tell them that you must make a change in life before it’s too late and you end up in hell, where noone wants to be. On my right arm is also a quote to inspire a good life. It reads “Not every story has a happy ending.” As we police officers know, not everything turns out the way you want it to. You sometimes have to just let it be. And yes, police departments can regulate what you have. You can still be fully covered as long is it is not offensive to others’ religion or race. Thank you for your concern but I think your knowledge and belief is very limited. I have been an officer with the MPDC for 25 years and none of my colleagues takes issue with my body art. Some even appreciate it!

  6. Oh… Well there goes my chances at “most tattooed cop”
    But now I know that DC is a transfer option.

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