Can State Police have Visible Tattoos?

Have you seen some of the new recruitment ads placed by the New York State Police lately?  One of the ads we came across showed a uniformed State Trooper,  who appeared to be smiling, happy, and 100% uniform-compliant.  Next to that image is a photograph of the same man, except he's wearing a tank top, and is not in uniform.  Most of his upper body appears to be completely covered in tattoos on his arms, shoulders, and a portion of his chest.

"We are defined by more than our uniform.
Apply Now to become a New York State Trooper!" NYSP

New Recruitment Ad Piqued Some Interest

The recruitment ad has generated a lot of buzz lately because it presents a newer, more relaxed approach to what once was considered somewhat taboo amongst law enforcement; visible tattoos.

Can I be a NY State Trooper with visible tattoos? State Police and Tattoos New York, Upstate NY News, 518news, 518-news
State Trooper vehicle Photo: NYSP


The ad is a clear attempt to attract potential State Police recruits who may previously have been rejected because of visible tattoos the NYSP even added a tagline they hope shows a bit more inclusivity stating, "We are defined by more than our uniform.
Apply Now to become a New York State Trooper!"


What is the State Police Policy on Tattoos?

First and foremost, it appears as though the State Police doesn't want people to NOT apply based upon "visible tattoos."  In other words, your tattoos shouldn't prohibit you from applying, but that doesn't mean there aren't certain guidelines you must adhere to.

For example, according to the official State Police website, "candidates must comply with New York State Police policy which requires all members to present a neat, clean, and businesslike appearance at all times."

Here are some, but not all, of the guidelines. For a complete list, and to take the State Trooper Entrance Exam, click here.

  • Tattoos, brands, body piercings, and other body art shall not be visible while a member is in uniform or other business attire, except a single band tattoo, no more than 3/8 inch in width, on one finger.
  • Tattoos on the chest, back, or arms must be covered by wearing a properly fitted uniform shirt or business attire, with no portion of the tattoo showing.
    If any portion of the tattoo, brand, and/or body art is visible when wearing the short-sleeve summer uniform, the Member must wear the long-sleeve uniform shirt, with a tie.
  • Tattoos on any portion of the head, neck, or facial area are prohibited and cannot be concealed using cosmetics or any other product.
  • Tattoos, brands, and/or body art that are unprofessional or offensive are prohibited. Examples shall include, but are not limited to:
  • Depictions of violence or criminal activity.
  • Sexually explicit/vulgar art, words, or profane language.
  • Symbols likely to incite a strong negative reaction in any group, i.e., swastikas, etc.
  • Initials, symbolism, or acronyms that represent criminal or historically oppressive organizations or activities, i.e., AB, KKK, SS, street gang names, numbers, and/or symbols

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