In my years of police service, I have learned that an organization’s policies must be both modern and practical. This single observation has driven a number of recent changes in this Department, all of which have been aimed at breaking from the “status quo,” unlocking the immense potential of this Department, and continuing to rejuvenate morale. This observation instructs my thought process to this day.

Recently, the desire of the membership to wear their uniform in a manner consistent with modern trends―specifically, to wear earrings and maintain facial hair―has become apparent. After taking into account the direction of other reputable departments, as well as my own impression of this community’s expectations, I now agree that change is both warranted and much deserved. For this reason, effective July 1, 2016―

Confirmed female officers shall be permitted to wear earrings while on-duty AND in uniform, subject to the following conditions:


  • No more than one pair of earrings may be worn at one time.
  • The earrings must be non-dangling, modest-sized, post earrings.
  • The earring must be black, gold, or silver.
  • The display and appearance of the earrings must be uniform. For example, mixing designs or colors, or wearing an earring on only one earlobe is prohibited.
  • The earrings may only be worn on the earlobe.
  • The earrings must not extend below the earlobe.


Furthermore, confirmed male officers shall be permitted to maintain any of the following styles of beard provided the facial hair is neatly trimmed and no more than a ¼ inch in length:


  • A goatee of the type where the facial hair of the mustache continues down and around the side of the mouth where it joins the shaven beard that extends only as wide as the outer edge of the mouth (also referred to as a circle beard).


Under no circumstances will facial hair be sculpted or otherwise trimmed to show design. Any of the above styles may be lined only to the extent necessary to present a neat, symmetrical appearance.


But these revisions to our policies on uniform and appearance will be accompanied by an increased expectation that members will wear their respective prescribed uniforms in the appropriate manner. Several recent situations have given rise to concern. For example, uniformed officers have been observed―


  • Wearing do-rags
  • Canting their uniform hats
  • Wearing their approved ball caps backwards
  • Mixing approved 30-series apparel with their Class A or Class B apparel.


Members are reminded of the importance of the properly worn uniform. Police agencies prescribe uniforms to help ensure that members are readily recognizable to citizens under very extreme conditions, to ensure a command presence in volatile situations, and to exude an appearance of discipline and uniformity among the rank and file. I will expect and require that supervisors identify members violating this Department’s uniform-and-appearance standards and to take the appropriate corrective action. Supervisors will be held strictly accountable for violations that go unnoticed or remain unaddressed.

Changes to the Detroit Police Department Manual are forthcoming.

                                                                                           JAMES E. CRAIG

Chief of Police