FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --
The Broward Sheriff's Office is known for cracking down on crime, and now the department is getting tough when it comes to its deputies' body art.
Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said his deputies are no longer allowed to show any body art while in uniform.
"The public feels that way, and they have a higher expectation of a person in uniform," Lamberti said.
That means the deputies cannot have any visible tattoos, jewelry, gold or platinum teeth or body piercings. Mutilation art, such as deforming the ear or tongue, also is prohibited.
"To me, that's a safety issue," Lamberti said. "If you get in a fight with a suspect and they punch you in the eyebrow or the lip where there's a piercing, you could be incapacitated."
Some deputies told Local 10 they do not agree with BSO's ban on body art but that they have no other choice than to obey it. Their concerns are being voiced to union leaders, however.
"Those employees who have already been hired and BSO wants to adversely change their appearance -- if you already have a tattoo and already have gold teeth, and now they want you to come back and change, we do have an issue with that. It's going to cost the employee money," said Fred McCrone, of the BSO Federation of Public Employees.
The policy went back into effect last week. There were not many deputies violating the policy Wednesday at the Broward County Jail. Some appeared to be covering up their extremities, except for one deputy who clearly was in violation.
"That's what this is about, me painting a positive professional standard while in uniform," Lamberti said.
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