McKenzie Police seek community feedback for new policy change

MCKENZIE, Tenn. — Chief Craig Moates with the McKenzie Police Department says, for as long as he’s been there, the department has had a strict policy on facial hair and tattoos.

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But that may be changing soon.

“We discussed it after talking with the officers, looking at what’s happening jurisdictionally, and looking around us. Also looking at some of the changes that are happening not just regionally, but nationally,” Moates said.

Currently, the McKenzie Police Department does not allow beards, and any tattoos must be covered up.

Moates says the rules can restrict your hiring pool.

“We’re not recruiting currently, but the issue would be retention down the road, and how it would change our recruiting. Because some people may apply or may not apply, based on what our grooming standards are,” Moates said.

They’re also asking for residents to make their opinion known. The department posted on Facebook, asking for community feedback on relaxing the rules.

“We serve our community. So it’s really important to us that any policy procedures and changes regarding our dress and groom are approved and supported by our community,” said Jasmin Powell, an investigator with the McKenzie Police Department.

“Currently, as I understand it, most of the responses we’re getting are positive,” Moates said.

The times are changing, and many residents simply don’t view tattoos and beards as inappropriate.

“It’s really important to us that we reflect the people we are serving,” Powell said.

The process might not take place for a while–but early results point towards a policy change.

“At last check, about 98 percent of the community was supportive of this change, through likes and comments on our social media page,” Powell said.

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