LOS ANGELES WEEKLY, June 12, 2008
LOS ANGELES FIREFIGHTERS FUME OVER "NO SHOW" TATTOO POLICY
by Christine Pelisek
Some city firefighters are fuming over the Los Angeles Fire Department's new “no show” tattoo policy. The policy as of May 1 forbids tattooed firefighters from exposing their ink in public. That means firefighters who have tattoos on their arms need to cover up with long-sleeve shirts, and those who have tattoos on their necks have to wear bandages.
The policy has raised the ire of tatted out firefighters – some former soldiers - who believe they are being unfairly targeted by brass.
“After 20 years I am no longer considered professional by my fire department, just like that,” said LAFD firefighter/diver John O'Connor. “Every piece of 'work' that I have is either blood family or fire service family. I have always displayed them proudly, and to be made to cover them up is weird. This was disheartening to me. My pride has been bl*wn away.”
The policy affects around 200 firefighters with visible tattoos that cannot be covered by the standard uniform, says O'Connor. So now, firefighters are covering up with long-sleeve shirts and track pants to work out, and wearing bandages or skin patches where the shirt doesn't cover.
According to sources, management has told fire captains their necks are on the line if they don't enforce the policy.
Los Angeles Fire Department spokesperson Chief Ronnie Villanueva said that the policy isn't personal -- it's about professionalism and how the public perceives the department.
Others have argued that some firefighters have gone beyond “a couple” of tattoos to full-bl*wn tattoos on their heads and necks, or tattooed numbers that could be misconstrued as being gang-affiliated.
However, some firefighters say that it has precious little to do with public perception and more to do with the “old guard” who have complained to management about the increase in body art over the years.
Solutions have been batted around between the firefighters' union -- UFLAC -- and management for years. Union representatives argued that a no-show policy wasn't realistic and suggested having members cover up only those tattoos that were offensive to the public. Last summer, the two parties agreed to hire an independent arbiter to make recommendations. The fact finder ruled in favor of the union, but, according to union VP Jon McDuffie, the department implemented its own ideas.
“A lot of the guys offended by the tattoos are members of our department,” says McDuffie. “Is that enough to call people 'unprofessional' and throw up these unilateral policies?” He says dozens of complaints have been filed since the crackdown began on May 1.
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Thread: L.A.City's new Tattoo policy
06-13-2008, 12:24 AM #1
L.A.City's new Tattoo policySlop sink, Flags and pump 150
Getting there is half the fun
06-13-2008, 01:22 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Sunny South Florida
We have a similar rule that went into effect last year. Everyone who had tattoos prior to the new rule that were not covered by the uniform were "grandfathered in". No new tattoos are allowed above the collar or below the sleeve. The rule is loosely enforced and no list or body diagrams were made before or after of peoples tattoos so there is no reference for admin to look at to determine when work was done.If your going to cry about doing the job you signed up for do us all a favor and quit, there are plenty of dedicated people standing in line for the best job in the world.
06-13-2008, 01:37 PM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2008
- Long Beach
You know, I've gotta say this doesn't really surprise me. As firefighters, perception is HUGE when dealing with the public. As much as I hate to admit it, public perception on multiple tattoos (especially visible ones) is still pretty negative.
06-13-2008, 02:50 PM #4
- Join Date
- May 1999
- Here, There, Everywhere
What a f*cking joke.
This is a priority? When a building is on fire, can any civilian see through the turnout coat sleves?
I hope the brothers wearing long sleves tap out with heat exhaustion after any job during the hot summer months.
I work with plenty of guys with ink on both sleves and I've yet to meet one fire chief who gives a sh*t much less a civilian.
06-13-2008, 03:18 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
thats garbage, I can see having that policy in effect for new hires or people who say "screw it" and get a new visible tattoo anyways. But to make people who used to have acceptable tattoos be forced to cover up now is a load of crap.
06-14-2008, 08:55 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- N. Ridgeville, Ohio
06-14-2008, 10:00 PM #7
06-15-2008, 08:30 AM #8
I can see enforcing a policy after a certain date and grandfathering in those with tats.
On that note, there is a member of my FD who has a few visible tats. One of them is of the firefighter sitting down with angels surrounding him with a background of the flag. He got that one shortly after 9-11.
On a medical call at an assisted living facility, the resident commented on his newest artwork.. and stated it was better than his.... a series of numbers on his forearm, courtesy of the Waffen SS at a Nazi concetration camp.
Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn't it?
Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 06-15-2008 at 05:24 PM."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
06-15-2008, 05:16 PM #9
check here....do we still crawl down hallways and put water on the fire??? isn't this still important.. what does a tattoo policy have to do with our business?ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
LT. John Ginley Engine 40
FF. Bruce Gary Engine 40
FF. Jimmy Giberson Ladder 35
FF. Michael Otten Ladder 35 *
FF. Steve Mercado Engine 40 *
FF. Kevin Bracken Engine 40 *
FF. Vincent Morello Ladder 35
FF. Michael Roberts Ladder 35 *
FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
FF. Michael Dauria Engine 40
"If my job was easy a cop would be doing it."
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