New tattoo policies looming for military, police - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New tattoo policies looming for military, police

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

It will be harder to 'be all you can be' if the Army adopts a new tattoo policy.  The policy -- which is still being discussed -- would be the strictest of all the military branches. 

"Right now the only policy is, no tattoos above the neckline, anywhere else is eligible for review," says Captain Victor Somnuk of the Honolulu Army Recruiting Company.

HR 670-1 would disqualify recruits with body art on the lower arms and lower legs.

Anyone already in the Army would be 'grand fathered in'.

Police departments nationwide are also adopting more restrictive policies.

Honolulu Police officers will have to cover up their ink with clothes or makeup starting on July First. 

The department said the change is to project a more professional image.  But many officers have complained that wearing long sleeves in addition to body armor and a gun belt will be difficult in the summer.

The most recent class of HPD recruits were issued a long sleeve uniform in addition to the short sleeves.  And the department is considering light-weight, long sleeve, under shirts as another option.

Steven Lam of Working Class Tattoo in Honolulu says he understands the trend.

 "It's not an archaic thing," says Lam, "It's a reaction to tattoos being more acceptable in society."

Lam says uniformity is important for the military and police departments, but he doesn't think tattoos make a person seem less professional. 

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