FROM THE ARCHIVES: BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT BANS TWISTS, LOCKS

 

C WBAL-TV
6:08 p.m. EST December 5, 2006

BALTIMORE – The WBAL TV 11 News I-Team has obtained a new professional appearance policy for the Baltimore Police Department intended to promote a professional image, but it’s also raising questions of racial insensitivity. The new policy is more specific than the old one. For example, tattoos must now be kept covered.

However, the questions surround an issue that’s been batted around the courts and company workplace policies for several years — hairstyle.

“We just felt that over the years, some officers have taken advantage of the old general order and are not presenting themselves, while in uniform to the public, in the most professional manner possible,” said Matt Jablow, spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.

Like the old policy, the new one governs hair length, jewelry, mustaches and beards, but it also added a new standard — extreme, or “fad,” hairstyles are prohibited, including cornrows, mohawks, dreadlocks, and twists.

Three of the four hairstyles banned are almost exclusively used by blacks. “I think it’s incredibly insensitive,” said Taunya Banks, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. “I’m really kind of concerned about labeling as faddish a practice that’s not faddish at all, and what appears to be a targeting of black officers.”

Banks said the policy seems to ignore the differences in hair texture between blacks and whites and may affect black female officers more than men.

“What they’re saying to a woman is either she has to wear her hair short in an Afro, which is no longer stylish, or she’s going to have to chemically straighten her hair,” she said.

…..

Only natural hair colors are permitted. Hair colors that would be regarded as extreme,
faddish or artificial, such as purple, pink or green, are PROHIBITED.-The bulk of the hair will not be excessive or present a ragged or unkempt appearance,
and shall not:

Prevent the eight-point hat from being placed squarely on the head, with the center of the hat’s visor directly over the nose.

-Interfere with the proper wearing of the arctic hat.

-Interfere with the safe and proper wearing of issued departmental helmets and other safety gear, to include personal protection equipment.

-Extreme or fad hairstyles are PROHIBITED, including but not limited to: cornrows,
mohawks, dreadlocks, and twists, as well as designs or sculptures using the hair and/or
cut into the hair
.
-A wig, track or hairpiece shall present a natural appearance and conform to the same
standards as natural hair.”

………….

Police Appearance Policy Raises Racial Sensitivity IssuesBALTIMORE – The WBAL TV 11 News I-Team has obtained a new professional appearance policy for the Baltimore Police Department intended to promote a professional image, but it’s also raising questions of racial insensitivity. The new policy is more specific than the old one. For example, tattoos must now be kept covered.

However, the questions surround an issue that’s been batted around the courts and company workplace policies for several years — hairstyle.

“We just felt that over the years, some officers have taken advantage of the old general order and are not presenting themselves, while in uniform to the public, in the most professional manner possible,” said Matt Jablow, spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department.

Like the old policy, the new one governs hair length, jewelry, mustaches and beards, but it also added a new standard — extreme, or “fad,” hairstyles are prohibited, including cornrows, mohawks, dreadlocks, and twists. Three of the four hairstyles banned are almost exclusively used by blacks. “I think it’s incredibly insensitive,” said Taunya Banks, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Law. “I’m really kind of concerned about labeling as faddish a practice that’s not faddish at all, and what appears to be a targeting of black officers.”Banks said the policy seems to ignore the differences in hair texture between blacks and whites and may affect black female officers more than men.

What they’re saying to a woman is either she has to wear her hair short in an Afro, which is no longer stylish, or she’s going to have to chemically straighten her hair,” she said.

“We do not think it’s racially insensitive. It’s not intended to be racially insensitive,” Jablow said.

Department officials said they consulted with the Black Officers’ Organization in forming the policy.

It will go into effect on Jan. 1, the same time as Baltimore swears in its first female black mayor. Sheila Dixon said Tuesday she’s aware of the new policy and supports it.

“I think there is an appropriateness one needs to have, and if that’s the policy of the police department, then one has to come in compliance,” Dixon said.

Earlier this year, 11 News reported that there’s less diversity in the leadership ranks of the police department now than 10 years ago.

Deputy major is the highest rank held by a black woman in the department, and only two women hold that position.

_______________________________________________________________________________

(I remember a few years back when a Rastafarian man took his employer to court in London, because they would not allow him to wear his tam, which is part of his religious beliefs. Yet, this same employer would allow the black man’s fellow Asian co-worker to wear his turban, a co-worker who was a Sikh. The black man lost the case—–on the grounds that Rastafarianism was not an acceptable religion!

In some other institutions, where the wearing of protective headgear is required, the administration have been more accepting towards Sikhs in the rules and have designed special uniformed turbans for members of the staff who are Sikhs.

No such allowance or relaxing of the rules for black people.
This petition was created and posted by Nappturality two years ago:

“Baltimore Racist Grooming Policy Petition”:  http://www.petitiononline.com/baltpd/petition.html
The Baltimore Police Department, due to many protests both in and outside of Baltimore against the department’s racist policy, soon rescinded their ban on natural hair states worn by black women on the Baltimore Police Department:

 

“Jan 18th: The Baltimore Police Dept has officially RESCINDED the policy against natural hair styles. The new policy is now in effect. African American natural hairstyles are no longer considered fads and banned under the new policy.The affected officers of the BPD Thank you for all your support. in helping to reverse this policy in the name of freedom and acceptance. I also thank you all for supporting these officers and remember to ALWAYS be diligent!”

 

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “FROM THE ARCHIVES: BALTIMORE POLICE DEPARTMENT BANS TWISTS, LOCKS

  1. Don tnothing suprise me anymore, the NFL will sooon follow suit

  2. Audrey

    I think people with negative minds that want to be opinionated concerning how people of color should where his or her hair is ridicules. We as men and women boys and girls are derived from many types of cultural diversities. Everyone does not have the same texture of hair. Some have coarse hair fine hair thick hair, red hair black blonde hair, and brown hair. Therefore is the issue about hair or is the issue about racial discrimination? I think the situation need to be re-examined and re-considered. We are living in the 20the century not 18the century. Why can’t people live and let live. Now everyone wants to be hair stylist with no license to style hair. Let it be!

  3. Sgt. R.L. Haas Ret.

    What about us bald guys. Do we have to wear an authorized wig.

    For years the bosses gave me hell for shaving my head. They used the excuse that it wasn’t professional.

    Also, I’m getting sick and tired of this black/white issue. We all bleed blue no matter what the color of our skin.

    Be safe and cover your partners back, he is covering yours.

    • Ann

      “What about us bald guys. Do we have to wear an authorized wig.”

      Depends on the police department and what their rules/regulations are.

      “For years the bosses gave me hell for shaving my head. They used the excuse that it wasn’t professional.”

      How was it unprofessional? Did it interfere with your arrest record? Did it prevent you from handling a Taser? Baton? Glock pistol? AK-47, or whatever it is police use now-a-days?

      “Also, I’m getting sick and tired of this black/white issue.”

      Oh, really?

      Well, the “black/white issue” will never go away. Unless you know some way to eradicate white supremacy hatred against Black citizens. I certainly know of no such thing. Unless, non-blacks can finally realize that Black citizens are just as much human as the rest of America.

      Until then, I ain’t holding my breath expecting such a thing to happen in my lifetime.

      Oh, and I am sick of the fact that Black women make $0.66 to every $1.00 a White man makes. (As well as make less than Black men and less than White women, for the same job/career/skills).

      I am sick and tired of the hated stereotypes created by White men that still vilify Black women over 400+ years later. I am sick and tired of the lies created that assail Black people daily. I am sick and tired of being followed around stores, followed by cops while driving. I am sick and tired of constantly looked at as if I am not a citizen of this country.

      I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

      “Be safe and cover your partners back, he is covering yours.”

      Really?

      So, I guess stuff like this is not supposed to happen, eh:

      https://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2008/02/05/officer-who-was-killed-tried-to-break-up-a-fight/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s