The first female turbaned Sikh , Gursoach Kaur has been inducted by the New York Police Department (NYPD ) as an Auxiliary Police Officer (APO) after graduating ,the previous week from the New York City Police Academy & for sure, it will motivate others to join law enforcement to help create a better understanding of Sikhism.
In 2016, James O’Neill (New York Police commissioner) had mentioned that there are about 160 Sikh officers serving in various ranks and he was looking to expand those numbers. Further, NYPD said that it will allow its Sikh officers to wear turbans and maintain beards, relaxing its uniform policy to promote inclusiveness and also, encourage the minority community members to join the force. So, under the revised policy, officers from the Sikh faith were allowed to have beards that extend up to one-half inch from the face. In place of the traditional police cap,the officers were allowed to wear blue turbans with a hat shield affixed to it’
Further , while making the announcement after a police academy graduation ceremony,O’Neill added ,”We’re making this change to make sure that we allow everybody in New York City that wants to apply and have the opportunity to work in the greatest police department in the nation, to make sure we give them that opportunity,”
On this occasion ,the Sikh Officers Association, which is the nation’s first organization to represent Sikh Officers in Law Enforcement tweeted , “We are proud to welcome first Sikh turbaned female Auxiliary Police Officer in the New York Police Department. APO Gursoach Kaur and other Auxiliary Police Officers graduated from the academy. We are proud of you. Stay safe. #sikhsinlawenforcement,” .
On facebook also, the association mentioned it a proud moment to welcome Kaur to the Police Department & further added that her services will be a motivation for others to join the Law enforcement Family.
Also, the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri while referring to the 2010 incident , tweeted ,”Delighted to see a turbaned lady officer in NYPD. Hope this fosters a better understanding of Sikhism and Sikhs and corrects perceptions in the US so that incident which happened with me in 2010 and recently with Canada minister Navdeep Bains do not recur. Sikhs are ambassadors of harmony,” .He further expressed hope that a turbaned lady officer will help create a better understanding of Sikhism in the US.Actually, when he was Ambassador to the UN in 2010,he was asked by airport officials to remove his turban during a security check at Houston Airport. He refused to remove his turban & the officials made him wait for over half-an-hour in a ‘holding room’. Only after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) official, accompanying Puri, intervened ,that the matter was resolved. Because of this incident , India also lodged an official protest with US authorities
The same thing happened with Mr. Navdeep Bains( Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development ), when he was asked to remove his turban at Detroit Metro Airport on his way back to Canada ,after meetings with Michigan state leaders in April 2017.Although,he already passed through regular security checks at the Airport, but just because of his turban ,he was asked to undergo additional checks by a security agent .In his interview with the French paper,” LA Presse”,the minister mentioned ,”He told me to take off my turban.” I asked him ,”why I would have to take off my turban when the metal detector had worked properly,” .