Temporary policy modification will allow fire department personnel visible tattoos
–Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services will be temporarily modifying the tattoo policy for Fire Department personnel. This temporary modification will be implemented on a trial basis, taking effect on July 8, 2019 and continuing through Sept. 9, 2019.
Current department policy states that all existing tattoos for current employees shall be covered while the employee is in uniform and that appropriate measures, such as long sleeve shirts or short sleeve shirts that have been modified to cover the tattoo(s), trousers, or natural colored bandages, are used to cover all visible tattoos.
A request was made recently by our firefighters to allow tattoos to be visible. Fire Chief Casey Bryson is moving forward with this trial period after receiving input from the Atascadero City Council, City Manager and other Fire Chiefs around the state.
Chief Bryson has authorized the trial period and would like the public to have a part in deciding whether to implement the new policy on a permanent basis. Chief Bryson believes it will be a positive change for the Department; he states “Without covering tattoos that are located on the arms, firefighters will stay safer and cooler during the warm summer months. Additionally, the department will show it is open to change and is keeping pace with today’s culture.”
During the trial period, there will be specific limitations on tattoos that can be displayed while in uniform. For example, tattoos applied to the hands, head, face, ear or neck area may not be displayed. Also not allowed are any tattoos that contain objectionable content including racism, sexism or sexually suggestive or explicit words or symbols; obscenity or profanity; gang or drug-related content; language or images that undermine City or Department values or reflect poorly on the professional image of Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services; display contempt for the United States rule of law or advocate the commission of a crime; support those who commit crimes; vulgar or inappropriate language or images; language or images considered demeaning to any protected class (such as race or sex); nudity or sexual language or images; and images depicting Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services patch, badge or insignia directly associated with Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services.
At the end of this trial period, it will be determined if this will become a permanent policy modification, a summertime exemption, or if the Fire Department will return to current standards. If a decision is made at the end of this trial period to maintain the current standards, then all department members will be required to cover all of their tattoos, pursuant to policy.
The City of Atascadero will be releasing information on their Facebook page to give people a chance to respond. If there are any questions regarding this topic, please contact Administrative Assistant Kelly Arebalo at (805) 461-5070.
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