Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KHP Asks for Input on Trooper Tattoos ; Trooper: KHP Policy in Place since 2008; No Figures on Effect

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

KHP Asks for Input on Trooper Tattoos ; Trooper: KHP Policy in Place since 2008; No Figures on Effect

Article excerpt

The Kansas Highway Patrol hopes to find out whether the public is ready for troopers with visible tattoos.

That agency, which is coping with a statewide manpower shortage, asked in a news release Friday for input on what the public has to say about "tattoos in law enforcement."

It encouraged residents to fill out a short survey it posted online Friday at http://goo.gl/forms/vyf3JAkwDL. The survey will be available through Jan. 29.

The survey is the agency's first effort to seek public opinion on a specific matter in recent history, said Trooper Stephen La Row.

Lt. Adam Winter said in Friday's news release that the survey comes at a time when the agency is working to address its manpower shortage by exploring ways of attracting more job applicants.

The highway patrol has about 80 fewer uniformed personnel than its authorized staffing of 500, according to La Row.

"As we move into 21st century policing," Winter said, the agency wants input about its tattoo policy, which automatically disqualifies candidates for trooper's jobs if they have:

- Any offensive tattoo, scarification or brand, regardless of its location on the body.

- Any tattoo, scarification or brand that would be visible when wearing an agency-provided uniform.

As a general rule, Winter said, those would include any markings visible when wearing a short-sleeved, V-neck shirt.

Such markings would be present on areas that include the head, face, neck, hands or arms below the bottom of the bicep.

The survey poses questions about such things as the respondent's age, gender, educational level, occupational field, whether he or she has tattoos and whether he or she is interested in becoming a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper. …

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