Since you asked, I think tattoos are the epitome of stupidity.
Why anyone would want to permanently deface their own skin is beyond my comprehension.
You get enough scars in life by accident.
No message is worth that type of display, IMHO.
I have several tattoos. But, when I got them I made sure they would be covered with a short sleeve shirt. I don't think of it as defacing my skin. Each and every one of my tattoos has meaning to ME and that is really all that matters. I work with a medic that has both arms almost completely covered. Do I agree with it, no.
A tattoo is much better then the many firefighters who very much over weight with their guts hanging over their belt line and their bunkers that resemble a circus tents! Just saying. I'd rather have fit firefighter with a Tattoo then a fat out of shape partner.
I think that as long as they are covered while at work it shouldn't matter how many tattoos you have. I personally have one and it has a meaning to me and it represents my pride #1 of the fire service and #2 my graduating from the Mississippi Fire Academy Class # 60.
Personally, I don't care. I think tattoos are a great way to express one's self through art. The art usually reflects various stages of a person's life and there are often "mistakes" made in choosing tattoos in one's younger years; that's life. As we grow, our taste in art and what reflects our thoughts and beliefs change, so too do our tattoos.
Professionally, I don't want to see your tattoos when you are uniform. I would say that small, nice tattoos are fine..but who decides what is "small and nice," and why is "his tattoo" allowed, but mine isn't? Why is her butterfly and star ok, but my skull and dagger not ok?
In the interest of fairness, I lean towards the "no visible tattoos in uniform" rule. I do see room for exceptions, and "wiggle room" in such policies, but each department has to draw its own line. And it should be a department policy, not a single individual (like "Chief") who has the policy and makes that determination. The Chief might run the department operations, but even he works for the city, county or other jurisdiction, and the Fiure Department's policy should reflect AHJ's general tattoo policy.
Bottom line, if you already have tats, work with what you got and be professional about it; if you don't already have tats which are visible in uniform, then don't get 'em.
My personal rule fore tats is if I am wearing pants and a T-shirt with short sleeves, nobody can see my tats, but if I'm wearing shorts and tank top, you can see most of my tats.
great comments too all.. all of my tattoos have biblical meaning and others of my music. like on my arm i have Romans 1:16 an on my upper arm i have matthew 10:20 so a lot of my tattoos have meanings to me...