When I was in high school, back in the late '80s early '90s, tattoos didn't have the social acceptability they do these days. My grandfather, who was a Penobscot County sheriff's deputy in the '70s, always used to hound me about how tattoos were only found on bikers and criminals in general.

As luck would have it, he was never aware of my full sleeves and leg tattoos. But, even in the mid-'90s, tattoos were becoming far more acceptable. I never felt like I had to hide them or be ashamed of them. But these days, you go to Hannaford or the bank, or whatever, and everyone has them. As well as wild-colored hair and facial piercings.

I noticed on Facebook today that the Portland Police Dept. has reversed its policy regarding visible tattoos. Until now, officers had to cover their tats. But they decided that this day and age being what it is, it might be better to get with the times and embrace body art.

I was curious about our local officers too, so I reached out to the Bangor Police Dept., via their Facebook page, to see what their stance is. I felt their response was spot on. They said, first off, it's at the discretion of the chief. And that any tattoos in question must be tasteful and non-offensive. But generally, they are allowed to let their body art fly.

I didn't reach out to any other departments, but I have to imagine to a certain extent, this must be an issue most departments are facing. And hopefully, most of them are understanding and allow this self expression.

I think it's awesome that both these fine police departments allow their officers to express themselves in their own ways, through body art. Now, will we see cops with nose rings and such? Probably not. I'd think those could be a major safety issue. But tattoos? Show them off!

Who knows ... maybe the next time you get pulled over, you may find yourself comparing tattoos and discussing where you got them. Will it keep you from getting a ticket? Likely not, if you were breaking the law. But maybe you'll find yourself having some common ground with that officer you didn't know you had.

And that, cannot be a bad thing.

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