NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Hidden no longer, the men and women of the Norfolk Police Department can now sport their tattoos, and guys can grow full beards on the job.

“This started about a year ago and my training staff were looking for ways to make Norfolk more attractive, particularly for young people, because we had so many people interested in law enforcement but they weren’t willing to compromise their personality,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone.

Boone says the old policy forced them to reject applicants.

“I do know off the top of my head about 10 incidents where I have turned down people in the past for tattoos, and my staff was pushing me saying ‘chief, this is all they have,’ and me in my old school thinking so to speak, I missed out,” Boone said.

Keep in mind there are some limits, for example, beards have to be close to the chin and tattoos can’t be offensive or on the face.

Plus, if an officer who doesn’t already have one wants to get tatted, they’ll have to get it approved.

“The officers are ecstatic about it, it’s almost like Christmas,” smiled Boone.

He says over the past two years the department has really demonstrated who they are, and this is just part of continuing that authenticity.

“Personally I don’t care what you look like to some degree, I care about your actions, your personality and do you treat people with dignity and respect,”‘ stated Boone.