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Allow Visible Ink for Skilled City Civil Service Employees - Ink Does Not Define Integrity

This petition had 5,316 supporters

City of Amarillo,  

I am an Amarillo native, a local business owner, and a laser tattoo removal technician. I have been removing them for over 3 years in our great city. 

Though more recently have I been saddened by current policies that are outdated about what is allowed to be visible on somebody who might be in a patrol car or a fire truck racing to the same wreck. 

My father, Ted Winton was a city employee and a firefighter my entire childhood. He woke up at 6:30am, kissed us on the cheek as he left for a 24 hour work shift at the fire station (he worked at 7,9, the airport and the old downtown station too), and I hoped and awaited each following morning that my dad would walk into the door alive or unharmed. He worked incredibly hard to feed our family, he truly loved not just fighting fires, but every call he went on. Stories that would bring your jaw down to the floor and tears to your eyes. He was on the clock when he was there - dialed into his community present for their concerns. There was a shift or two over his 20 year period where he may have been a few moments away from coming home to us alive, would a tattoo have mattered then? But my dad wasn't the only good man waking up and clocking into another shift of serving his city and the people who lived in it. 

As I have lasered intelligent, fit and capable people who have been denied positions in this city over tattoos that would be visible and smaller than the size of a business card - I have been saddened and honestly confused. If it's not rascist or gang related - what's the issue? 

Would my father have been any less of a fire fighter, father or man if he had my moms name tattooed on his hand? No. 

If he hadn't become a fire fighter - would the city have lost out on a man who was aware of structures under distress, motor vehicles and trauma situations for a lesser capable person who just didn't have a tattoo? Yes, they would have. 

If that kept him from being on the department 25+ years ago he and the department would have missed out on a unique opportunity to take somebody ready, smart and willing to be the person needed and capable to dispense him out to the incoming calls from a three digit 911 call.

Tattoo removal takes time, tattoo removal cost money, and it is a process. It can take 1-7 treatments to remove something truly home made or Amateur and 8-12 treatments to remove something Professional. We like to space sessions out 6-8 weeks apart. This means the people expecting a quality employee canidate to wait over their outdated appearance policies may not be able to join them for over 6 months - 2 years. That means we are missing out on the best new city employees right even now!!! Removing things that wouldn't bug my bible loving 80 year old grandmother if a man in uniform came to help her! 

I would rather have a more qualified person in every position than somebody who 'looks' professional. 'Selfless Commitment' to a career that makes this city better shouldn't default to an outdated protocol for how one must look. If your home is on fire, you need to get to a hospital and have been shot or a man is stealing your stuff in the living room - are you going to ask for another man in uniform to help when the first responder who gets to you has a star behind his ear or on his wrist? I don't think so. That is probably the last worry on your mind in the moment. You see the uniform and you know help is here. We are no longer blinded by the stigma that a tattoo equates you instantly to a criminal or a Methhead. This is the Texas Panhandle and yes, we tend to be behind the curve on certain social things, but is this really something that needs to continue to be an issue? 

I'd like to see better policies for our city employees who do put their lives on the line each and every shift in this city. It's almost 2018 and it blows my mind that this is still an problem and that we are denying quality employees the opportunity to serve this very moment. Civil Service men and women in larger cities and all over the nation have been lucky to have these policies changed or updated to current feelings about tattoos or ink. I know I am one of many citizens who feels the way I do. When most any man or woman in a full uniform on a call shows up, they are often 75% or more covered when they arrive to help. 

Most importantly the character of a person who has the ability to take care of this city with the demands of the physical, mental and emotional - should not be defined by ink that isn't outright offensive.

Please join me, sign and share this petition so we can too update our policies and have better more qualified people serve our city. 

Lydia Marsh 

Owner | Professional Laser Tech

Progress MD 

5461 McKenna Square, Suite 104

Amarillo, Texas 79119

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