The new rule goes into effect Aug. 1 and will affect more than 100 officers, the Police Association of New Orleans, PANO, said.
"The absence of visible tattoos gives a more professional appearance to law enforcement officers," NOPD spokeswoman Remi Braden said.
The change has some critics saying the department has more important concerns than its officers' tattoos, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Wednesday.
"With the department that has all the problems we're facing at this time -- especially morale problems -- tattoos in this day and age are pretty prevalent in law enforcement and society," said PANO attorney Eric Hessler. "It just seems that this is not the issue at this particular point."
"As we reach temperatures close to 100 degrees on some days, it just seems like cruel and unusual punishment, just because you are proud that you served in the U.S. Navy or you put the name of your child on your arm," said Raymond Burkart III, attorney and spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police.