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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department officers spoke, and our leadership listened.

Chief Johnny Jennings meets regularly with CMPD officers to seek their input on policies and procedures that impact job satisfaction and quality of life.

As a result of those conversations, the department made two major grooming policy changes effective Sept. 1, 2022:

Beards are now permitted

CMPD’s grooming standards have been updated to allow neatly groomed and maintained mustaches, goatees and beards for all employees. This means:

  • Sworn and civilian employees’ beards should be uniform in length, with no portion of the beard noticeably longer than the rest. In addition, sworn employees’ facial hair must be kept at a maximum quarter-inch in length.
  • Beards or goatees must be a natural color and neatly trimmed – no patterns or designs.
  • No braids, bows or other accessories are allowed in facial hair.
  • Regardless of beard style or length, sworn employees wearing beards must be able to pass a gas mask fit test and may be required to shave in preparation for an operational need to wear a gas mask.
  • Mustaches should be neatly trimmed and not extend over the top lip, or vertically or horizontally beyond the corner of the mouth where the lips join.
  • In compliance with OSHA guidelines and requirements, officers must have a clean-shaven face for annual occupational health screenings and respirator fit tests will not be performed if officers have facial hair.
  • Sworn employees also must have the necessary equipment to trim their beards available at all times.

Visible tattoos are now allowed

Department employees can now have visible tattoos, brands or scarification provided they do not violate the conditions outlined in CMPD’s grooming standards, such as:

  • Visible tattoos, brands or scarification on the head, face, neck, scalp, hands or fingers are prohibited. Tattoos that resemble wedding rings are permitted on the traditional finger.
  • Tattoos are permitted behind the ear or nape of the neck, provided they do not exceed one inch in length by one inch in width.
  • Tattoos must not detract from the professional appearance of the employee or violate the standards of decency and morality.
  • Markings that depict “scorekeeping” related to police activity or signify membership in unofficial law enforcement or militia groups are not permitted, regardless of location on the body.
  • Tattoos, brands or scarification that do not conform to department policy must be covered by clothing such as a long-sleeve uniform shirt or tattoo-covering makeup. Tattoo sleeves or “tat jackets” are not permitted.

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