Published: Jan 08, 2014 11:14 AM EST

BARTOW, Fla. (AP) - The Polk County Sheriff's Office is loosening its policy on tattoos.
    
Effective immediately, applicants who have visible tattoos will no longer be turned away - as long as they can cover them while on duty.
    
Sheriff Grady Judd says the change was made after they learned highly qualified candidates were concerned about applying for jobs there because of their body art. He says the formal policy should be completed in the next few weeks.
    
The Ledger of Lakeland (http://bit.ly/1hvvRDc ) reports the department has always allowed tattoos if they could be covered by the agency's short sleeved uniform. But now, deputies with arm tattoos will be allowed to cover tattoos with long sleeve shirts.
    
Judd says the new policy is similar to those at some other law enforcement agencies.
    
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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com

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