Jul 6, 2015 9:41 PM

Manchester police chief changes tattoo policy after Military vet's wife writes letter

NH1.com

MANCHESTER - Inked up?

Up until now, anyone with visible tattoos on their forearms couldn't apply to be Manchester Police Officer.

Army veteran Zach Ferguson dreamed of becoming a police officer, but his tattoos honoring his military service violate policies at many local departments.

“I was just so frustrated, and I thought it was so unfair,” said Annie Kelly, Ferguson’s wife.

Kelly wrote an op-ed letter to a local newspaper. While newly-appointed Manchester Chief Nick Willard already considered changing the policy, he said her letter made his choice clear.

“She took action. She stood up, and she asked a very important question, and she asked why,” Willard said.

Willard said the old policy was all about professionalism, but he understands why people choose to get tattoos.

“I'm a veteran. I have a military unit tattoo, and I have a memorial tattoo for a fallen officer,” Willard said.

Many Manchester police officers have the same tattoo, honoring fallen Manchester Officer Michael Briggs.

Willard said the new policy allows tattoos on the forearms, as long as they are not racist.

Tattoos are not allowed on the hands, neck, or face.

Ferguson plans to remove a tattoo on his neck, then said he will take the test for the chance to become a Manchester police officer.

“I'm really excited that now Zach will have the same opportunity that I would have and any other civilian would have to at least try,” Kelly said.

“I want to protect and serve again,” Ferguson said.

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