Lexington Police Department submits draft changes for FOP review and further negotiation.
DATE: March 26, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
President, FOP Lodge 4
Telephone Number: 859-255-7629
Lexington, KY.Following the recognition of collective bargaining several years ago, Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge 4 has negotiated with the Lexington Police Department about working conditions, including modernizing internal policies and practices which affect morale, retention and recruitment. Obtaining agreement on one policy change has proven elusive until now.
For years, the Lexington Police Department has categorically denied all new applicants for employment based upon the visibility of tattoos on their bodies. The FOP has pushed for relaxation of these restrictions to boost the applicant pool of otherwise qualified applicants and to encourage greater diversity within the ranks.
“Tattoos in 2019 are viewed differently than when I joined the Lexington Police Department over a decade ago. As the designs and tools have evolved over the years, so has public perception,” stated FOP Lodge 4 President, Sgt. Jason Rothermund. According to President Rothermund, the Lexington Police Department automatically disqualifies highly-skilled, well-trained potential officers, many from military backgrounds, if they have visible body art.
Last week, the Lexington Police Department posted an initial policy draft for FOP Lodge 4’s consideration and subject to further negotiation under their Collective Bargaining Agreement. Rothermund views this as an important first step in the process.
“We commend Chief Weathers for introducing proposed policy changes. Over the past several years, the FOP has solicited the input from community stakeholders, including the NAACP, to increase diversity of our employees. Time and again, the tattoo policy and the automatic disqualification of a minority applicant has been one serious impediment,” stated Rothermund.
The NAACP leadership agrees. Former NAACP President, Adrian Wallace, stated, “We have worked closely with the FOP over the past few years to identify ways to increase diversity within the Lexington Police Department.” According to Wallace, the FOP intends to meet and discuss the proposed draft soon to obtain their suggestions.
Wallace hopes the policy will minimize subjectivity and have reasonable standards for appropriate body art. “Tattoos are now mainstream. They reflect individual expression. It is achievable to have policy that protects against arbitrary approval, but still safeguards against offensive images and messages,” stated Wallace.
Today, the FOP notified the Lexington Police Department about its request for further negotiations about modifications to the initial draft. The FOP anticipates a mutual agreement on the policy to be achieved within months for implementation by this summer.