Making a Professional Impression

How should women in law enforcement wear their hair? How much makeup? What about jewelry? Sergeant Dina Zapalski answers.

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A professional appearance for female police officers is extremely important, because it's the first thing that is judged by others, whether by other officers or the public. As a female police officer in the field, appearance and presence are critical in the handling of many incidents and situations.

All female police officers in uniform should have their hair pulled back up off the shoulders and pinned down. While in uniform, hair that is down or in a ponytail looks unprofessional and presents officer-safety concerns.

It's important for female officers to remain females, even though they are in a male-dominated profession. When it comes to wearing makeup, having their nails done, or wearing earrings or rings, it's up to the individual female police officer, and long as it's not excessive.

As a female sergeant, it's my responsibility to show other female officers what the standard should be. For the past 15 years, I have always pulled my hair back and pinned it down, used makeup and had manicured nails.  Police Departments are para-militaristic organizations, therefore the females representing them must take on the appearance of a professional.

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