4-2 Grooming and Personal Appearance - Civilian Personnel

Policy Type: Local

Responsible Office: Chief John Venuti, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department

Initial Policy Approved: 5/30/2013

Current Revision Approved: 5/01/2019



As representatives of the VCUPD, it is essential that all employees present a professional image to the public. It is the department’s policy that all members shall consistently maintain a neat and clean appearance at all times during the performance of their official duties, and at any time that the employee is representing the department in any manner. The purpose of this policy is to establish department guidelines for grooming and personal appearance for civilian personnel in the workplace and when representing the department in an official capacity.


Accountability Statement

All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any policy violations are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.


Grooming and Personal Appearance for Civilian Personnel

  1. Conservative sunglasses (black, brown, gold or silver frames) are permissible for all department employees. Sunglasses shall not be mirrored. In addition, sunglasses shall be removed while indoors, including prescription sunglasses that do not change to clear eyeglasses. Employees shall not wear sunglasses hanging from their neck.
  2. Makeup, perfume and cologne should be worn conservatively. Some individuals are allergic to the chemicals contained in perfumes, cologne and makeup, so these substances should be worn with restraint.
  3. While on duty, civilian employees in Dispatch may wear moderate length, color, designs or accessories on their fingernails, as long as it does not interfere with their assigned duties.
  4. Tattoos: Tattoos on the face and/or neck are prohibited for all department personnel. Tattoos that could be considered offensive to the public or members of the VCU community shall be concealed while on duty. Concerns regarding the nature of exposed tattoos shall be addressed by the employee’s supervisor.
  5. Body Piercing: Civilian employees in Dispatch may wear no more than two (2) earrings per ear, of any type, as long as it does not interfere with their assigned duties. While on duty, department members are prohibited from wearing jewelry in their tongue, nose, eyebrows, cheeks, or body parts other than the earlobe.
  6. Hair:
    1. Non-Uniformed Civilian Employees
      1. Hair shall be clean, combed and neatly styled.
      2. Hair, if dyed, shall be black, brown, blond, red, grey or some other closely related, natural shade.
      3. Wigs or hairpieces are permitted if they conform to the standards for natural hair.
      4. All employees shall maintain their hair so as to present a neat appearance consistent with their job assignment.
    2. Uniformed Civilian Employees (i.e., Property and Evidence personnel)
      1. Hair shall be clean, combed and styled neatly. Regardless of style, it shall not extend below the bottom of the collar at the back of the neck. Hair may be combed over the ears but shall not extend below the ear more than two inches in front of the ear.
      2. Ponytails or braids hanging below the bottom of the collar are not permitted.
      3. Long hair shall be attached to the head by items that do not interfere with the wearing of hats. Braided styles worn close to the head, if neat, are permissible.
      4. Wigs and hairpieces are permitted if they conform to the standards for natural hair. Hair, if dyed, shall be black, brown, blond, red, grey, or some other closely related natural shade.
      5. Facial hair, if worn, shall be kept neat and well-trimmed along the neck, throat and cheekbones at all times.


Non-Uniformed Civilian Personnel Dress Code

  1. Civilian employees shall be properly dressed in business or business casual attire. Business casual is categorized as relating to or denoting a style of clothing that is less formal than traditional business wear, but is still intended to give a professional and business-like impression.
  2. Guide to Business Casual Dress for Work:
    1. Slacks, Pants and Suit Pants
      1. Slacks that are similar to Dockers and other makers of cotton or synthetic material pants, wool pants, flannel pants, dressy capris, and nice looking synthetic dress pants are acceptable.
      2. Jeans, sweatpants, exercise pants, leggings, shorts, overalls, and any spandex or other formfitting pants are not permitted. 
        1. NOTE: Jeans are permitted on casual Fridays by paying members to the jeans fundraising program. Sworn officers are not permitted to participate in the casual Fridays fundraising program.
    2. Skirts, Dresses and Skirted Suits
      1. Casual dresses and skirts, and skirts that are split at or below the knee are acceptable.
      2. Dress and skirt length should be at a length at which you can sit comfortably in public.
      3. Short, tight skirts that reach halfway up the thigh are not permitted.
      4. Mini-skirts, skorts, sun dresses, beach dresses, and spaghetti-strap dresses are not permitted.
    3. Shirts, Tops, Blouses and Jackets
      1. Casual shirts, dress shirts, sweaters, tops, golf-type shirts, and turtlenecks are acceptable attire for work.
      2. Most suit jackets or sport jackets are also acceptable attire for the office, as long as they are in accordance with the listed guidelines.
      3. Tank tops, tube tops, midriff tops, shirts with potentially offensive words, terms, logos, pictures, cartoons or slogans, halter-tops, tops with bare shoulders, sheer blouses, spandex, sweatshirts and t-shirts, unless worn under another blouse, shirt, jacket or dress, are not permitted.
    4. Shoes
      1. Conservative athletic or walking shoes, loafers, clogs, boots, flats, dress heels, and leather deck-type shoes are acceptable for work.
      2. It’s acceptable to not wear stockings in warm weather.
      3. Thongs, flip-flops and slippers are not permitted.
      4. Open-toe dress shoes are permitted for civilian personnel, as long as the shoe fits securely on the foot and does not flop against the sole of the foot.
    5. Hats and Head Covering
      1. Hats are not appropriate in the office.
      2. Head covers that are required for religious purposes or to honor cultural tradition are permitted.
  3. It is incumbent on department supervisors to enforce the business/business casual dress code.
    1. If clothing fails to meet these standards, as determined by the employee's supervisor, the employee will be asked not to wear the inappropriate item to work again.
    2. If the problem persists, the employee will be sent home to change clothes and will receive a verbal warning for the first offense.
    3. Progressive disciplinary action will be applied should dress code violations continue.
  4. Appropriate undergarments shall be worn at all times and in the matter intended by the manufacturer and shall not be intentionally visible through or outside of the employee’s clothing.


Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

5/30/2013 - 4-2 Grooming and Personal Appearance

5/05/2017 - 4-2 Grooming and Personal Appearance