Can Police Officers Wear Earrings?

policewoman standing with crossed arms while her partner standing near car and smiling

Wearing earrings is something many of us do every day and think nothing about, but when working in the line of fire, the rules for what jewelry you should wear change. So what exactly are the rules for earrings? 

Female police officers can wear one pair of stud earrings no larger than ¼” (0.64 cm) in diameter when on duty. Gauges or plugs are completely prohibited. Male cops aren’t permitted to wear any earrings on duty. 

In the rest of this article, we’ll go on to answer the most common questions about what types of jewelry police officers are permitted to wear and explore some of the reasons for these rules.

Can Male Cops Wear Earrings?

Let’s take a quick look at what the rules for men are in regards to wearing earrings both on and off duty. 

Male cops can’t wear earrings regardless of whether the earrings are studs or if the officer is on duty. The one exception is if the police officer is granted permission due to an undercover assignment. 

policeman checking documents of a young female driver standing near the car on the roadside in the city

Depending on a male officer’s assignment, they can be granted an exemption to the 3.10 Grooming Standards by a Bureau Commander for special undercover situations. The general rules on men wearing earrings can vary depending on the state, city, or town you’re working in, and you should always refer to your 3.10 Grooming Standards Guide. 

Jewelry Police Officers Are Allowed To Wear

There are many reasons why officers cannot wear earrings while on duty. The primary concern is for safety purposes. 

For those of you who have your ears pierced and have had them snagged or yanked on, you can attest to how painful an experience it can be. This is one of the main reasons earrings have been ruled a hazard to wear as an officer.

Along with the rules on earrings, no visible body piercings of any kind are permitted when working as a police officer. 

Jewelry that police officers are prohibited from wearing while at work:

  • No visible necklaces: Necklaces can pose a considerable risk to the officer since they could get caught on something, or someone could use it to harm them. If you decide to wear a necklace it should be secured under your uniform. 
  • No facial piercings: No facial piercings of any kind are allowed as a cop, such as tongue, lip, or brow piercings. Just like earrings, these could result in serious pain and injury if torn out while on a call. Plus officers are required to maintain a certain level of professionalism in how they dress. 
  • No brooches: Any pin that isn’t a part of the officer’s uniform isn’t permitted while on duty. 
  • No large rings: Any rings worn should be simple and few. Too many rings may result in a superior asking you to remove some of them. This rule will vary based on your department and where they are located. 

So if wearing beautiful hoop earrings as an officer is a big no, what jewelry is allowed when you work as a police officer?

Approved jewelry you can wear when on duty:

  • Watches: Police officers are permitted to wear a watch and even encouraged to do so while both on and off duty. 
  • MedicAlert bracelet: Police officers are allowed to wear essential medical alert bracelets if needed. 
  • Plain rings: Officers are generally allowed to wear simple rings like their wedding bands or other plain styled rings provided they pose no threat of getting caught on things. Some precincts don’t allow rings of any kind while on duty, so always be sure to double-check. 
  • Small stud earrings: Small stud earrings are okay to be worn by female officers on duty.

As previously discussed, the main reason for these strict rules on jewelry is safety. 

Necklaces, facial piercing, and other types of jewelry can pose a massive threat to the officer in some situations, and honestly, wearing jewelry at work simply isn’t worth the risk. However, if you honestly love the way your earrings look but aren’t interested in the risk stud earrings can pose as an officer, you should definitely consider magnetic earrings 

Magnetic studs are a fantastic option for female cops who want to remain safe in the line of duty, yet feel somewhat stylish in the process. They’re super easy to use and pose no real threat if yanked on or pulled off of your earlobes. 

Can Cops Wear Earrings off Duty?

The answer to this question seems to vary by location, and you should always check your precinct’s dress code when starting a new job as an officer. However, the most common consensus on this is yes. 

Female cops can wear one pair of stud earrings when off duty. However, no more than one earring may be worn in each earlobe at a time. In addition, male officers aren’t permitted to wear any earrings both on duty and off. 

policewoman using walkie-talkie with blurred partner near car on background

Your job having a say in what jewelry you wear when off duty might seem a little strange and outdated. Whether or not your state, city, or town will enforce this rule is entirely up to your department. Just remember to use your best judgment, and if you aren’t sure, just ask.

However, if you go out of town on vacation, who’s really going to know what jewelry you wear? 

If this is the route you want to take, be sure to not have any photos taken of you with earrings that are posted to social media.


So as a police officer, can you wear earrings while on duty?

If you’re a female cop, the answer is yes, so long as the earrings are small studs and no more than one stud is worn in each ear. Male cops are not permitted to wear earrings at any time unless given permission to do so for an undercover assignment. 

Ultimately it’s safer to forgo jewelry as an active officer, especially when dealing with criminals. How strictly your precinct follows these guidelines on jewelry will vary. So it’s always good to refer to your office’s dress code manual.

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