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New Haven police officer facing possible termination because of his tattoos

NEW HAVEN -- A New Haven police officer is facing possible termination because of his facial tattoos.

During deliberations Wednesday night, Officer Jason Bandy wore cover-up on his facial tattoos, which include Latin words, the letter 'D' and Roman numerals near his hairline.

“I don’t know of any department that allows tattoos on your face," said Otonel Reyes, the interim chief for the New Haven Police
Department.

Reyes said this is all about common sense for professionalism, and that allowing an officer to have facial tattoos is a slippery slope that takes control over the department's image.

“We’re not individuals here," said Reyes. We’re part of a team. And, when you put tattoos on your face, you impact the image with that.”

Officer Bandy was hired as a New Haven police officer in 2008, with multiple tattoos on his body. According to police, in 2009, he called out sick from work and then caused a drunken scene at a bar. He was terminated from the department after that incident, but a couple of years later, was re-hired. Since then, he has gotten new tattoos -- on his face.

"Telling him to have facial tattoos surgically removed was too severe," said Bandy's Elm City Local union attorney Wednesday.

He said the rules forbidding officers from wearing excessive makeup, jewelry or having sideburns do not include facial tattoos. He added that, as of Wednesday, Bandy was complying with wearing makeup to cover up his tattoos.

Officer Bandy also has a pending gender discrimination case, claiming the department has been allowing female officers to violate police by wearing jewelry and excessive makeup.

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