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LAFD seeks community input regarding its department tattoo policy

CBS News Live
CBS News Los Angeles Live

The Los Angeles Fire Department is asking for community input regarding its firefighter tattoo policy.

The department is considering amending its 15-year-old policy to cover up tattoos while on duty, feeling it may be a bit antiquated as body art has become more common and seemingly more accepted.

In a 2023 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly a third of U.S. adults, 32 percent, have a tattoo and 22 percent have more than one.

The current LAFD tattoo policy states, "All sworn members, while on duty, shall not display any tattoos, scarification and/or brandings."  

The policy further states, "Sworn uniformed members shall cover any visible tattoos, scarifications, and/or brandings by wearing a department approved uniform or skin patch."  

Currently, any applicants who may have tattoos that are not able to be covered by a Band-Aid, skin patch, Under Armor material, or a long-sleeve shirt are not hired based on the written policy. 

In its letter asking for community input on, the department says firefighters have relayed negative impacts from the policy such as operational and response challenges, lack of acceptance and inclusion as well as heat--related issues.

"The LAFD is seeking input from the public to possibly revise the Department's Tattoo Policy. Please answer the following questions regarding your opinion of tattoos, branding, and scarification. 

The deadline to respond to the survey is Friday, Oct. 6.

 Tattoos that are offensive, extremist, or contain any hateful words or images will never be able to be displayed and specific restrictions would apply," wrote the LAFD. 

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