TOPEKA, Kansas — The Kansas Highway Patrol on Wednesday released the results of a public survey from January that was aimed at determining the public’s perception of tattoo’s in law enforcement.

Over 21,500 people took the survey, exceeding the agency’s expectations. The results of the survey indicate that people who took it were not bothered by law enforcement officers’ or civilian workers’ tattoos, provided they are not offensive.

Lt. Adam Winters says the agency is still evaluating its current tattoo policy and will be comparing the results of the survey to “scientific national surveys for comparative analysis”. The Patrol formed a committee to evaluate the tattoo policy months ago and is expected to provide recommendations concerning whether the currently policy should be changed soon.

Currently the Patrol’s tattoo policy automatically disqualifies law enforcement officer candidates from the application process for having:

  • Any offensive tattoo, scarification or brand, regardless of location on the body.
  • Any tattoo, scarification or brand that would be visible when wearing an agency provided uniform or required work attire. Any such marking(s) appearing on the head, face, neck, hands, or arms (below the bottom of the bicep). (As a general rule, any marking(s) visible when wearing a short-sleeved v-neck shirt.)

LINK | View full results of survey here.

Wichita Police Tattoo Policy


Tattoos/Brands must not show while on duty in uniform or civilian clothing regardless of what the tattoo/brand is or represents. Officers wearing the authorized bicycle uniform are not to have visible tattoos showing below the hem of the uniform shorts.

After 5/1/2009 employees having tattoos/brands they cannot conceal will be required to wear authorized long sleeve shirts and pants to cover the tattoo/brand. Facial, head and neck tattoos are not permitted in uniform or civilian attire while on duty. Police applicants/prospective new employees will be advised of the policy regarding grooming standards during the pre-employment phase.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Tattoo Policy

Tattoos, Brandings & Body Art

  1. Tattoos, Brandings and Body Art that display any type of offensive design, logo or wording shall not be displayed while the deputy wears the authorized uniform of the sheriff’s office, nor shall they be displayed while dressed in plain clothes when representing the sheriff’s office.
  2. Tattoos, Brandings and Body Art that display any type of offensive design, logo or wording and are not concealed by the authorized uniform or plain clothes, shall be covered in some fashion by an appropriate shirt, slacks, or a flesh colored bandage/ covering when representing the Sheriff’s Office.
  3. Offensive designs, logos or wording include designs that reflect nudity, contain racist content, gang affiliation or any image or phrase that offends must be covered.  Additionally, any large amount of tattooing in one area of the body (sleeves) or tattoos covering a large part of the visible body is not reflective of the positive image of the Sheriff’s Office and shall be covered.
  4. Tattoos, Brandings and Body Art shall not be displayed on the face, neck or hands.  This portion of policy shall be in effect from -12/18/09-  Employees with such markings prior to the above effective date are hereby “grandfathered” however they are not permitted to add to preexisting markings.
  5. No visible body piercings (to include tongue/mouth piercings), other than small earrings as authorized by section 2. a. will be allowed while the deputy wears the authorized uniform of the Sheriff’s Office or while dressed in plain clothes when representing the Sheriff’s Office.
  6. Any other visible body modifications are prohibited.  Body modifications include any object inserted under the skin or alter skin appearance through the introduction of a foreign object.