Meridian, Miss. Meridian's chief administrative officer says the city's police chief has worked for various levels of the government in the past and at no point has any concern ever been raised about the chief's tattoo.
The tattoo in question is on Chief James Lee's right arm. The tattoo reads "Hell's Lovers U.S.A.," which is a motorcycle club with gang affiliation. Some question whether a police chief should be able to display such a tattoo, but Chief Administrative Officer Mike McGrevey says city policy does not prohibit it.
"I know some folks may or may not approve of tattoos, but in this case, I honestly don't see it as an issue," McGrevey says.
McGrevey tells Newscenter 11 the biker tattoo is one Chief Lee received more than four decades ago when he was still a teenager. McGrevey says the chief typically wears a long-sleeve shirt, which covers the tattoo.
"Now what I would say with regards to the chief's tattoo is that I've taken a look at it here," McGrevey explains. "That the chief worked for the federal government, the federal government did not have a problem with his tattoo. The chief worked for the state of Mississippi government, the state of Mississippi government did not have a problem with the chief's tattoo. The chief has gone through two security clearance reviews to have a security clearance to represent the United States of America."
While the community's focus may be on this controversial tattoo right now, McGrevey says the chief and city administration are focused on far more serious matters.
"I do know that chief's priority number one in working the mayor's agenda is to ensure the safety and security of our citizens and visitors to the great city of Meridian," McGrevey points out.
Newscenter 11 reached out to Lee by phone and text message for comment, but didn't hear back.