COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This week the South Carolina Department of Public Safety announced changes to its application requirements, opening the door to people who may not have qualified before.
In the past, if you wanted to be a part of the South Carolina Highway Patrol you could not have any visible tattoos.
That's now changed. You would still need to cover up your tattoos while in uniform, but it won't stop you from getting the job. Some might say tattoos are an acquired taste, but the artists at the Cropper Finch Tattoo Shop say times are changing.
"Now, everybody's getting tattoos: lawyers, doctors, dentists, police officers, troopers, army sergeants," says Eddie Kane, owner of the Copper Finch Tattoo Shop. "Nothing surprising to us – who gets tattooed, who walks through this door."
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety may agree. Their application policy recently changed. Now even if you have visible tattoos you can join Highway Patrol.
"I don't think a tattoo would prevent anyone from doing their job correctly. If a doctor were going to save my life, I could care less if he had a tattoo or not," says Kane.
Jason Jones has been a tattoo artist for the last two decades, and he's used to getting a few stares from time to time.
"You get some old people that have a heart attack every time I walk in a room. Once I have a conversation with them, they usually lighten up a good bit. I'll go to my daughter's school and everybody's like 'ah!' But eventually, they get used to it," says Jones.
He says it's just unfair to judge him because of the way he looks.
"I mean that would be like them coming in here and wanting a tattoo and me going 'oh no man, you're like a corporate person. We don't tattoo your kind around here. Please leave," says Jones.
Both artists say it's time tattoos lose the stigma for good.
"Everything's disposable. 100 percent safe. And what we do, we're doing works of art," says Kane.