Chickashanews.com

August 22, 2012

Editor backs tattooed cops

James Bright
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — Are we really still discriminating against people with tattoos? I was flat out shocked to find out police agencies across the country won't hire officer candidates if they have tattoos below the short sleeve line.

I'm sorry, but that's just ridiculous. We trust these people with our protection. Do we really care whether they add a little design, or a lot of modification to their bodies? I would certainly hope not, but it appears I am wrong.

Now, let me be clear. I'm not advocating people walking around in police uniforms with anarchist, or vulgar phrases on their neck. Such things are not protected by our constitution - we have regulations on free speech set by the supreme court after all. But saying we won't hire a former service member like Grady County Sheriff's Deputy Brian Guthrie because he has USAF tattooed on his arm is not only stupid, it's embarrassing. What kind of message are we sending to those who protect our country? These people should be embraced and rewarded for their pride in service. Guthrie, like many officers, served as military police for nine years. He is the ideal candidate for a local policing job.

Obviously I am a bit biased when it comes to this topic. I have more than my fair share of ink, but that does not make me a bad person. It doesn't make me unqualified for my job and it doesn't make me a criminal.

It is simply a personal choice.

I like to think of myself as a community leader. Obviously I am new in the community. I don't carry too much clout, but I believe my head is in the right place. I want to help this county and more importantly this community. I have been embraced by many community leaders who either choose to ignore my tattoos, or simply don't care about them. Honestly, that's how I like it. My body modifications have nothing to do with my professionalism. I understand that tattoos are not for everyone. All I ask is that people don't judge people like me, or people like Deputy Guthrie for our choice of expression. I can promise the citizens that regardless, the both of us will continue to work hard to protect everyone in Grady County and serve them as best we can.